Thursday, March 24, 2016
Race to the Sin Bin (Mar 24)
Ding! Ding! Ding! We have 11 games on the schedule, which means there has to be some key match-ups in the PIM pool, right?
Wes' team opens up the night, 28 minutes back of Derek & Dan, and hasn't recorded a single penalty in the first three nights. That's not to say that the duo are much better, they only have 4 minutes to their names this week.
There's a lot hinging on the Colorado/Philadelphia game, where Cody McLeod and Gabriel Landeskog are going for Wes tonight and they'll have some dance partners in Wayne Simmonds (Dale C.) and/or Ryan White (John R.) in the pool. This game has some real potential to it and might be worth a watch, especially since both teams are in a dogfight for a playoff spot in their respective conference.
Derek & Dan's best response will be playing in the late game tonight, as Zack Kassian and the Oilers are in San Jose, trying to play spoiler, as the Sharks try to earn a playoff spot. Kassian has 88 PIM in 30 games, so there's a good chance he'll be ready to skate to the box.
Let's not forget about Justin Abdelkader, another one of the duo's top PIM getters this season. He and the Red Wings will be in Montreal to take on the Canadiens tonight, He's been good for a minor penalty here and there, not to mention the odd bout of fisticuffs and he could have a partner in Mike Brown (non-pool) in this one.
Also in the match-up tonight, Wes will have Ryan Kesler of the Ducks and James Neal of the Predators, both with 60+ PIM this season, while the only other player over the hour mark for Derek & Dan is Shane Doan of the Coyotes. Those are your best bets of the night.
How about our weekly leading goon team, belonging to John R.? We know he's got White playing for Philly tonight, but he also has another 60+ minute guy going in Michael Stone of the Coyotes. Stone has been consistently making his way to the box in recent games, so that's a plus. How about Jeff Skinner of the Hurricanes, who came out of nowhere this week for 14 minutes against the Sabres this week? He's playing the Jackets tonight, who might goad him on for some more minutes.
In order for John R. to make the top five in the PIM pool, he has to jump over Brenda & Seward, who are 2nd this week in minutes. They have Zdeno Chara & Matt Beleskey of the Bruins at 65 & 57 minutes, respectively. They could make it more difficult, if they keep pumping in the minutes.
The pool is only averaging 8.4 PIM per NHL game this week, so hopefully, tonight's action will give it a big boost. Fight! Fight! Fight!