Game Previews - April 2nd - Hockey Night in Canada

Game Previews Saturday April 2nd, 2011

3 Crown Royal Star Selector games to choose from Saturday night.   Toronto travels to Ottawa for the final installment  of the 2010 battle of Ontario.  Montreal tries to kick-start their offense in New Jersey, while the President’s trophy winning Vancouver Canucks travel to Edmonton for a date with the injury depleted Oilers.

Toronto vs Ottawa 7:00pm EST 

While they are still a long shot to make the playoffs, the Toronto Maple Leafs have given Leaf Nation plenty to feel good about this week.  The Leafs are riding high posting a 7-3 record over their last 10 games; with key victories this week over Buffalo and Boston.  ‘Optimus Reim’ or ‘Reim-minister of Defense’ (depending on which nickname you prefer) is the toast of the town. And, with Thursday Nights shoot out dangle, coupled with his strong performance of late, Nazim Kadri has all but erased memories of his disappointing early season play.  Ottawa would love nothing more than to put the final nail in the Leaf’s playoff coffin.  This opportunity to audition for Team Canada’s General Manager Dave Nonis combined with it being in front of a nationally broadcasted Hockey Night in Canada audience, there should be no shortage of motivation for Jason Spezza and the rest of the Sens.

Star Selector Starting Five:

Clarke MacArthur - Captain Pick
James Reimer
Craig Anderson
Jason Spezza
Dion Phaneuf

Montreal vs New Jersey 7:00pm EST

Dear Montreal’s Offense:
“Where did you go and could you kindly return before April 13th?”
With concern,
Habs fans everywhere.

With only 5 goals in their last 5 games the Canadiens are slumping at the worse possible time (4-6 in their last 10). They are in danger of earning themselves a first round match-up with the Philadelphia Flyers.  The Habs defense has been battling through injuries all season and the wear and tear could finally be catching up with them. They have looked fatigued in their last few games.  New Jersey went on a ridiculous run post the all-star break, but has since cooled and are virtually eliminated from post season action for the first time since 1996.  Look for Zach Parise to return to the Devil’s lineup Saturday night to begin his preparation for the 2011 World Hockey Championships.

Star Selector Starting Five:

Michael Cammalleri - Captain Pick
Martin Brodeur
Ilya Kovalchuk
Carey Price
James Wisniewski

Vancouver vs Edmonton 10:00pm EST

There is not much left for the Canucks to accomplish in the remainder of the 2010 - 2011 regular season with the exception of ensuring their star players are rested and that they get through their final 5 games without incurring any additional injuries.  Canuck fans have to be thrilled with their outstanding regular season performance and equally excited about the team’s mind set heading into the playoffs.  Check out a couple of post game quotes after clinching the President’s Trophy Thursday night:

"I won one of those in San Jose and it got us nowhere."
Christian Ehrhoff, on securing the Presidents' Trophy as the NHL's top regular-season team.

"Nope, nothing," said Daniel Sedin "It means we have home-ice advantage, but other than that, nothing."

"It doesn't mean we're going to win it all, but it means we have a great shot and it's up to us in there. We said all along if we play our way and the way we can, it's going to be tough for teams to beat us in seven games."  Captain Henrik Sedin.

Picking for this game will be interesting.  While it hasn’t been announced, it is almost a certainty that Cory Schneider will be the starting Canucks goalie. Also look for coach Alain Vigneault to roll 4 lines for the majority of the game.  The Sedin’s and Ryan Kesler will play a regular shift and special teams but not much more.

Star Selector Starting Five:
Ryan Kesler - Captain Pick
Raffi Torres
Cory Schneider
Linus Omark
Daniel Sedin

Come Play InGamer Hockey at http://hnic.starselector.cbc.ca/sport_home

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