How the Canadiens will beat the Capitals 

March, 15, 2011

Sadly, my prognosticating turnaround was short-lived. After correctly tagging nine of 10 two weeks ago, I fell back to Earth hard last Tuesday, dropping seven of nine. Ouch!

It doesn't figure to get any easier tonight with several critical matchups on the schedule. The race for playoff positioning at the bottom of the Eastern Conference again will change tonight with all but one (Toronto Maple Leafs) of the six contenders in action.

In the West ... well, you know about the crazy West. We may need a crowbar to separate some of those teams in the final weeks of the season. Certainly, the Nashville Predators and Calgary Flames need wins in their respective games.

Magic 8-ball in hand, here are the Hradek selections for another Tuesday night on ice.

Atlanta Thrashers at New Jersey Devils

This is a monster game for both teams chasing for a playoff spot in the East. On Friday, NJ scored a 3-2 OT win in Atlanta. Going back a bit further -- to last Tuesday -- I chose the Devils to win a home game (over Ottawa). And, for one of the few times in the past two months, they didn't come through. Jacques, how could you do that to me? I won't be discouraged, though. New Jersey wins tonight.

E.J. Hradek

Senior Writer, ESPN The Magazine
E.J. Hradek is a senior writer at ESPN The Magazine, joining the staff prior to its launch in 1998. He began covering hockey as a writer/editor for Hockey Illustrated in 1989.