Saturday, November 3, 2007

Saturday Night Special; Atlantic Edition

Well it is another Saturday Night but this one may be just a little more special as later tonight the clocks have to be set back. Oh no...we gain
an hour's sleep...wait that's a good thing.....more hockey!! Now I do admit being away this week really helped recharge things. I could relax..go where I wanted what I wanted to do and all those things that sometimes every person takes for granted. It was nice to see things and explore but more importantly I learned a lot about the area that I am eventually moving to (sometime in July more than likely). San Diego is a very cool place and not too far from Anaheim and I can't complain there. That being said, onward to the hockey!

Tonight is a bit of a rivalry night in the Atlantic Division with Border War 2 between the Devils and Rangers..then the Isles do battle with the Penguins. The Flyers have the night off after their win at the Phone Booth against the Caps last night. The Isles and Pens are both above .500 but have what you could consider many interesting subplots in development. The Isles have all sorts of issues with consistency which is unlike a Ted Nolan coached team. The Pens are in near chaos with Fleury the unofficial #2 and Sabourin a very unsure #1. The Isles eventually head into a stretch where they start actually playing some games...after this weird 4 games in 20 days bit. The Pens need a clear choice for a #1 goalie and the lines are so blurred that the coaching staff may starting wondering aloud to the GM...are you looking for somebody? I expect the Islanders Army to have quite a bit on this game afterward and as always Faceoff Factor has a bang up preview.

In other Atlantic Division rival action...the second installment of the Border War takes place at MSG tonight between the Rangers and Devils....both teams are coming off wins...both teams are 5-6-1. Will the Devils learn to cover Nigel Dawes? Will the Rangers score some goals? Will the Devils PK ever show up this season? So many questions and as always Devil and Ranger fans alike will try to answer them. The folks at Battle of New York have this all covered and perhaps there will be a liveblog of the events tonight. For all the NHL Arena fans....go right on to the Ranger forum for the GDT. Honestly, I expect another low scoring battle...hopefully this time the Devils figure it out a little better than last time and get some shots on net. That being said, I expect a gritty matchup with the return of Sean Avery tonight. Cue in Vishnevski to the front of the net please. I can't wait!

Another saucy matchup takes place in the Southeast the Canes do battle with the Panthers in Raleigh. Anyone who saw the last game on Halloween knows what happened...knows the history. Basically this has gotten ugly between Canes GM Jim Rutherford and Panthers coach Jacques Martin. The diving accusations aside....what was a dive, not a dive...etc. have made this not just another division game. The fine folks at Southeast Shootout have their insights on all means go take a look. Tampa also finally comes home...only to face Atlanta in another SE division game. Think Tampa is glad to come home? They haven't won a road game yet this season...and the tri-state part of the trip was a total disaster getting outscored 13-2 in those 3 games. Atlanta started off 0-6 but has gone 4-3 in their last 7 with improved goaltending and scoring so this could get very interesting in Tampa tonight. Kovalchuk vs. The Tampa Big is a game I will definitely be watching.

Finally, I just wanted to announce that we have our next four panelists for Hockey Around The Horn...they are LS, Rick, Dan, and Pogo. The questions will be hermetically sealed and sent out sometime tomorrow...and the episode should air on The NHL Arena sometime next weekend. So judges...get ready...this one will be more difficult than the last. Hopefully everyone enjoys all eleven games tonight and don't spill the beer or burn the house down after your team scores. Good hockey...good fight....good night!

~ stevens8204