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FAN ZONE

Back to the Grind

Let the games begin (again)

Tuesday, 02.23.2010 / 5:12 AM / 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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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 MTL 65 41 18 6 175 146 88
2 NYI 66 42 21 3 211 185 87
3 TBL 66 40 20 6 217 173 86
4 NYR 63 39 17 7 197 155 85
5 DET 62 36 15 11 182 160 83
6 PIT 63 36 18 9 182 158 81
7 WSH 66 35 21 10 194 164 80
8 BOS 63 31 22 10 168 165 72
9 FLA 65 28 23 14 159 185 70
10 PHI 65 28 25 12 173 187 68
11 OTT 62 28 23 11 176 167 67
12 NJD 64 27 27 10 144 165 64
13 TOR 65 26 34 5 175 199 57
14 CBJ 63 26 33 4 163 201 56
15 CAR 62 24 31 7 144 167 55
16 BUF 64 19 40 5 123 215 43

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
M. Cammalleri 52 24 10 5 34
A. Henrique 57 12 20 -2 32
P. Elias 54 10 17 -12 27
S. Gomez 40 5 19 -10 24
T. Zajac 56 10 10 -3 20
S. Bernier 49 10 9 0 19
A. Larsson 46 3 16 5 19
M. Ryder 44 6 12 -2 18
A. Greene 64 2 13 7 15
E. Gelinas 44 5 9 -2 14
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Schneider 24 23 6 .928 2.17
K. Kinkaid 3 4 3 .915 2.59