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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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EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
3 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
4 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
5 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
6 x - PHI 82 42 30 10 236 235 94
7 x - CBJ 82 43 32 7 231 216 93
8 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
9 WSH 82 38 30 14 235 240 90
10 NJD 82 35 29 18 197 208 88
11 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
12 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
13 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
14 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79
15 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
16 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Jagr 82 24 43 16 67
P. Elias 65 18 35 -4 53
T. Zajac 80 18 30 3 48
A. Henrique 77 25 18 3 43
M. Zidlicky 81 12 30 -3 42
M. Ryder 82 18 16 -6 34
A. Greene 82 8 24 3 32
E. Gelinas 60 7 22 -3 29
D. Zubrus 82 13 13 1 26
R. Clowe 43 7 19 -10 26
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Schneider 16 15 12 .921 1.97
M. Brodeur 19 14 6 .901 2.51

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