It was a good week for Drew Claussen and me last week. And isn’t that what’s important?
Drew: 5-0-1 (.917)
Paula: 5-0-1 (.917)
Drew: 56-33-11 (.615)
Paula: 57-32-11 (.625)
This week features three B1G series, two with long-standing rivalries and one in which the nation’s top two offenses meet. For a little perspective about all of this, check out this week’s column.
Michigan State vs. Michigan
Drew: A coin flip might be the most accurate way to predict this series. Neither team has a lot to feel good about right now. Michigan and Michigan State met for a nonconference match up at the GLI and the Wolverines won a close game in overtime. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see two games that mirror that game.
Paula: The Spartans are trying to win their first Big Ten game of the season, so there is additional motivation there. Neither team is playing the kind of hockey that it wants to, and that may well lead to an even series. When the teams met in the third-place game of the GLI, the Spartans overcame a 4-1 deficit in the third only to lose before overtime was two minutes old. Friday’s game begins at 6:35 p.m. in Yost Ice Arena, Saturday’s at 7:05 p.m. at Munn, and both games are televised by the Big Ten Network.
Drew’s picks: Michigan 5-4, Michigan State 4-3.
Paula’s picks: Michigan 3-2, 4-2.
No. 7 Minnesota at Wisconsin
Drew: Games between these two have always been entertaining, but there’s no debating that something was missing when the Badgers were going through an historic run of bad play the past couple years. Tony Granato seems to be on his way to remedying that situation this season, so we should get a good series this weekend at the Kohl Center. The Gophers are rolling after they swept Michigan last weekend and the Badgers took a weekend off after sweeping Michigan State to open 2017. I’ll predict a split.
Paula: The Gophers are riding a six-game win streak into this series but the Badgers haven’t been swept in a single weekend this year. It’s likely to be a split, but I think Minnesota may be on a bit of a run. Friday’s game begins at 7:07 p.m. and the puck drops Saturday at 5:07 p.m. Both games will be televised by both Fox Sports North and Fox Sports Wisconsin Alternative.
Drew’s picks: Minnesota 4-1, Wisconsin 4-3.
Paula’s picks: Minnesota 3-2, 3-2.
No. 11 Ohio State at No. 1 Penn State
Drew: A loss to the Buckeyes has been Penn State’s only blemish since very early in the season. Ohio State will have even more work cut out for it this time around as the games will be played at Penn State’s place. The Nittany Lions have had a lot of opportunities to entertain their hometown fans this season and they’ve cashed in on those opportunities with a 13-1-0 home record. Another split could happen, but I’m going to predict a Penn State sweep.
Paula: This weekend is made tougher for the Buckeyes because of their injuries. That having been said, I’m calling a split. Games begin at 7:00 p.m. Friday and Saturday night and neither is televised. Sadly.
Drew’s picks: Penn State 5-3, 3-2.
Paula’s picks: Penn State 5-3, Ohio State 3-2.