E.J. Hradek Game Picks Thursday October 24th:
Anahein Ducks vs Montreal Canadiens - Ducks
E.J.'s Season Record: 57-27-5
The Jets were frustrated much of the game despite outshooting the Predators 39-26. Nashville scored three times in the second period to take a 3-0 lead before Evander Kane scored the Jets' lone goal in the third.
The Predators will be without goaltender Pekka Rinne, who is out with a hip injury. But that hardly should matter to Winnipeg, which faced backup goaltender Carter Hutton in their previous Central Division matchup.
"Their other goalie played against us [Sunday] and played fine. We just didn't get enough traffic in front of him," Noel said Thursday. "But they'll be ready for us because they didn't play well in Minnesota [on Tuesday]. They had the same problems we had. They're not happy either."
A big night in the NHL on Thursday as 10 games are on the schedule and NHL Live, at 5 p.m. ET on NHL Network, will also be celebrating Hockey Fights Cancer. We'll get live reports from Kenny Albert in Philadelphia, Billy Jaffe in Boston and Eddie Olcyzk in Tampa Bay.
Also, we'll get a full preview of the Minnesota Wild vs. Carolina Hurricanes game as Wild forward Jason Pominville will join us. Minnesota has won four straight against Carolina. On the Canes' side, defenseman Justin Faulk will join us as he returns to his home state, where he also starred for the University of Minnesota-Duluth. He's also expected to go head-to-head against his former Bulldog teammate Justin Fontaine, who is skating on Minnesota's top line.
Each team enters having won its previous pair, with the Oilers salvaging the last two games of a six-game road trip. One of the stops early in the trip was Washington, where the Capitals posted a 4-2 victory.
"At least you have a little bit of a feel of what they're looking to do and it's fresh in our minds," Oilers coach Dallas Eakins said. "The good thing is that we don't have to spend a lot of time on 5-on-5 pre-scout video and we can get right to the details very quickly.
"For me it's always good to play teams right away after. The competitiveness of the game is still there and obviously we'd like to rebound off the game we played in Washington as well."
Alex Ovechkin scored in the victory against the Oilers 10 days ago and has added three more goals since to lead the League with nine.
Los Angeles is coming off a rare home loss in which it allowed three power-play goals and enters its game Thursday against the Phoenix Coyotes having been shorthanded 43 times, third-most in the NHL. Home-ice dominance and penalty killing are staples of the Kings' game, so it wasn't surprising that Sutter shook things up.
"We've seen it before so it's not really a big deal," Kings center Anze Kopitar said. "But I guess it brings a little bit of attention to everybody."
Sutter separated Kopitar and captain Dustin Brown, who was moved to the third line with Jarret Stoll and Trevor Lewis. Mike Richards appears to be getting a look at left wing with Jeff Carter at center and Matt Frattin on the right side. Carter takes a lot of faceoffs anyway, while the Richards-Frattin swap is yet another admission that L.A. desperately needs left-wing scoring.
Lecavalier, who has missed the past three games with a lower-body injury, skated at right wing on the team's top line at the morning skate, with Claude Giroux at center and Michael Raffl at left wing.
"I want to be out there and be part of it," Lecavalier said. "We're doing some good things. It's hard to [see it that way] when you are 1-7, but we want to keep pushing and I want to help as much as I can.
"The chances are there and that's a positive. I love [playing with Giroux]. He's a smart player who makes quick little plays. He's easy to play with. It's been going really good in practices. When you are with him and you look at the way he thinks out there, he's special. … I want to try to be physical on the puck and be strong in the corners on the puck, and if he's making great plays either me or Raffl has to bury it."
I look forward to the process, the battle, the pain, the fun, the journey. It's going to be a long one but it's going to be a lot of fun. If you think there is no pain coming, there is pain coming.