Five Things To Watch: Cross-Country Road Trips

Alan Bass
FTW 12-1

Each day, THN gives you five things to watch out for in the games ahead. There are three games on tap – Vancouver travels to Carolina, Detroit visits Ottawa, and Edmonton treks down to Dallas. Here is what you need to know to get ready:

1) Loss of Stephane Robidas

After Friday night’s gruesome crash into the boards, where Stephane Robidas fractured his leg, the Stars will be without one of their top defenseman for a long time. He hasn’t missed more than 10 games in a season in nearly ten years. How will the Dallas defense, already ranked in the middle of the league, respond to this new development?

2) Which Bryz Will We See?

Edmonton goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov recorded a shut out in his first game with the team, but was pulled after two periods their last game. We’ve all seen both sides of Bryz – the incredible, NHL All-Star that we witnessed in Anaheim and Phoenix, and the eccentric, inconsistent player that we watched in Philadelphia. If he’s looking for his NHL career to continue, Edmonton might be his last opportunity to prove his worth. The Oilers face Dallas tonight.

3) Alfredsson vs. Ottawa – Again

We’ve been through this before, but last time the teams met, Alfredsson was nowhere to be found. However, Alfie had a three-point night on Friday against the New York Islanders, and has been one of the Red Wings’ best players as of late. Perhaps he can finally light up his former team and show why he was such a valuable commodity this past offseason. This will be his first return to Ottawa since leaving the team this offseason.

4) Canucks on a Cold Streak

John Tortorella has had very little luck pushing the Canucks to the next level in his first season as their new head coach. In the last ten games, the Canucks have eight losses, one at the hands of Tortorella’s former squad on Saturday afternoon. The team has been weak on both sides of the puck, and their goaltending has been close to horrific (Luongo was pulled in favor of backup Eddie Lack against the Rangers). Sitting at fifth place in the Pacific Division after 28 games was not in the cards for Canucks fans. They play Carolina tonight.

5) Carolina Injuries Taking a Hit

The Hurricanes will be facing the Canucks without Alexander Semin, one of their best forwards, and Tim Gleason, one of their top defensemen. They are already struggling both offensively and defensively, and have just four wins in their last 10 games. The Canes have been mediocre all season, and injuries to top players can’t help. It will be interesting to see how the team reacts to another hit of adversity.