Game Previews - March 26th - Hockey Night in Canada

Written by Matt Cauz

Washington vs Montreal

The normal writers for the Star Selector Games are away so you're stuck with me! Don't worry, what I lack in accurate data and facts I make up for with horrible spelling mistakes and poor grammar. Let's do this!

Our first match-up between the Habs and the Caps is a battle of two playoff teams who certainly know each other rather well. Washington is playing their second game of a back-to-back while Montreal is coming off their most humiliating loss of the season, just a horrible 7-0 beat down by Boston. Way too avenge Pacioretty; Max probably got a concussion just watching that game on television. I hope he went to the movies instead.
Moving on.

With Alexander Ovechkin out on "sabbatical," there are plenty of other players worthy of a high ranking for this game. Mike Knuble tallied three points against the Devils and coming into the Ottawa game he has five goals in his last five games. Nicklas Backstrom looks like he's healthy and is a worthy option. Backstrom is solid on face offs and again should see more ice time with Ovechkin gone. Finally I like Marcus Johansson who scored two goals the last time Washington faced Montreal.

Than there is Montreal. It's kinda tough to point a couple guys out as legit starters, isn't it? The team only has 200 goals, fewest among Eastern Conference playoff teams. I don't need to tell you about the lack of legitimate offensive stars on this team. Tomas Plekanec is their leader with a paltry 53 points. Not a good sign when your best guy statistically is tied for 55th in scoring.
My hunch pick for Montreal is Brian Gionta. He's the type of veteran that can bounce back from a bad loss, and he has been fairly consistent recently

Back to Washington for a second. Keep an eye on Ice Time for the veterans. I could see Bruce Boudreau resting his key guys. Having the best regular season record didn't exactly help Washington last season, now did it?

Captain - Mike Knuble
Nicklas Backstrom
Marcus Johansson
Mike Cammilleri
Brian Gionta

Toronto vs Detroit

Before we get to this game, let me give a massive tip of the cap to whoever came up with Optimus Reim. Finally a great hockey nickname! No sport has worse nicknames than hockey. Every player just adds an "er", "ner" or an "esy" to their last name! I am now officially rooting for James Reimer to be a star.

The Red Wings haven't played since their 2-1 loss to Vancouver on Wednesday night so they should be well rested for the Leafs. Detroit has lost three in a row so expect them to come out firing. Yes you have to play Henrik Zetterberg, but with just four points in his last 11 games I wouldn't Captain him. Keep an eye on the health/status of Johan Franzen who was held out against the Canucks. Much like Washington, I could see Detroit reducing the minutes for their core veterans. Of course all their best players are North of 30. I say don't be a hero and pick some random younger guy on the end of the bench. See who is starting and take the "name" guys.

Speaking of "name" guys, Toronto doesn't have any. I kid, I kid.
Is Mikhail Grabovski getting better? After five games without a point he had a goal and an assist on Tuesday and picked up another assist against Colorado. Phil "Mr. Draft Picks" Kessel broke out of his mini five game goalless streak on Thursday and does have six points in his last seven games. I don't think two games is enough to say someone is "on fire" but Nikolai Kulemin, the pride of Magnitogorsk Russia, followed up his two assist night against Minnesota with a pair of goals in the Leafs 4-3 win over the Avalanche.

And don't forget about Tomas Kaberle. Oh sure he doesn't shoot that much, and really isn't that physical, but the guy is the best puck handler the Leafs got and despite all the trade remours he's really ... oh yeah he's in Boston. Sorry, force of habit. (I was really rooting for Kaberle to set the Leafs record for games played while constantly being the focus at the trade deadline.)

Captain- Johan Franzen (If they play him!)
Nikolai Kulemin
Henrik Zetterberg
Phil Kessel
Mikhail Grabovski

Calgary vs Edmonton

Remember when this was a rivalry? Boy those were good days. I'm sure the locals still get riled up when these teams meet but for the rest of us it has become a rather ho-hum affair. Kind of like the "Battle of Ontario" used to be a big deal but now it's almost impossible to generate any hate between the Senators and the Leafs. Thankfully InGamer is here to keep even the most mundane contest interesting!

I know he's out for the year but I would recommend you at least think about picking Ales Hemskey. Oh sure Hemsky hasn't played since March 1st but he's still tied for the team lead for points. Only the Devils and Senators have scored fewer goals than Edmonton. Looks like whoever is in net for the Flames is a good play. I might have recommended #1 draft pick Taylor Hall but Hall has yet to register a point in four games against Calgary. Jordan Eberle does have three points against Calgary this year. Yes I know I'm reaching but I can't go all Flames! Little known fact, the Oilers currently have four players on their roster who cannot legally drink in the States.

Really Calgary is the play here. Jarome Iginla is having yet another solid year and his four goals in his last four games warrants serious Captain consideration.

Captain- Miikka Kiprusoff
Jarome Iginla
Alex Tanguay
Jordan Eberle
Sam Gagner

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