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Back to the Grind

Let the games begin (again)

Tuesday, 02.23.2010 / 5:12 AM ET / Fan Zone
By Anthony Oliva
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Back to the Grind
After a much-needed day of rest, its back to the grind, as we head into the home stretch of 2010 Olympic hockey.  First, on the women's front, even to someone who has little knowledge of women's hockey (like me), it's no surprise that Canada and USA will meet for the gold on Thursday (6:30 PM EST).  This is preceded by the bronze medal game (2 PM EST), pitting Sweden and Finland against each other.

Today is a big day in the men's tournament.  Four playoff qualifiers include Switzerland vs Belarus, Canada vs Germany, Czech Republic vs. Latvia and finally, Slovakia vs. Norway.  Based on a blend of common sense and what we've seen thus far, I expect to see Switzerland, Canada, the Czechs and Slovaks all advance.  If I had to pick one team to pull off an upset though, I'd go for the Latvians, for no other reason than every Latvia crowd is overflowing with an abundance of high energy.  Plus, they've already seen the Czechs, and if not for some early breakdowns, they were only a shot or two away from putting in a good scare on Friday.

TIDBITS AROUND THE RINK

• Team Canada (women) has outscored the opposition 46-2 in four games.  In the same amount of games, Team USA has outscored their opponents 40-2.

• The spin du jour is that Team Canada (men) benefits from having lost to the Americans because now they have an extra game to gel.  The opposing view is that the team must face the daunting task of winning out the rest of the way.  I don't particularly understand that fear.  Everyone needs to win out if they expect a gold medal. 

In the NHL, only four teams have not been able to win four consecutive game during the 2009-10 season.  Guess who they are (answers below).  I know it's comparing apples to oranges, because I've been able to cherry pick a quartet of wins from a five-month span of NHL hockey, and Team Canada's four straight needs to happen right now, and not a handful of months later, but it's far from the insurmountable feat some of the local media seem to suggest.

• Tickets for Czech Republic vs. Latvia, obstructed view: $300 each!  (And that's at a legitimate ticket window.)

• A cheesesteak at Canada Hockey Place is $12.  Like the pizza in the northwest, it doesn't compare.  I should really stop eating food I love when I travel to faraway lands.  It yields nothing but disappointment.

• You can get a bottle of water for $4 at CH Place, and they let you keep the cap!  I was assured that at Canucks games, this is not the case.  So why the difference at the same venue?  Nearly everyone in the arena is a volunteer brought in simply for the Olympics (re: new at this job).  Crazy, right?

• Columbus, Dallas, Florida and Toronto are the only teams not to have won four consecutive games this season.

Send questions, comments and confirmation of transcontinental pizza delivery to olympics@newjerseydevils.com

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PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 WSH 52 39 9 4 171 117 82
2 FLA 54 32 16 6 150 122 70
3 NYR 53 30 18 5 150 135 65
4 NYI 52 28 18 6 145 129 62
5 TBL 53 29 20 4 140 127 62
6 DET 53 27 18 8 133 131 62
7 BOS 53 28 19 6 153 146 62
8 PIT 52 27 18 7 138 132 61
9 NJD 55 27 21 7 122 123 61
10 MTL 55 27 24 4 147 145 58
11 CAR 54 24 21 9 130 142 57
12 OTT 54 25 23 6 153 166 56
13 PHI 52 23 20 9 122 137 55
14 BUF 54 21 27 6 124 146 48
15 CBJ 55 21 28 6 137 170 48
16 TOR 52 19 24 9 120 144 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
L. Stempniak 55 15 25 6 40
M. Cammalleri 42 14 24 15 38
A. Henrique 53 18 18 14 36
K. Palmieri 55 20 15 3 35
T. Zajac 47 8 18 7 26
D. Schlemko 47 6 9 -8 15
A. Larsson 55 2 11 12 13
D. Severson 51 1 12 -1 13
A. Greene 55 4 6 2 10
J. Josefson 44 3 7 -14 10
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Schneider 24 16 6 .930 2.01
K. Kinkaid 3 5 1 .909 2.52
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