Great Game Previews In History: 19 October 2013

by J.R.

Today in History

Genseric_sacking_Rome_455A mad, uncivilized disworship from the wild center of the continent sacked a once-beautiful, once-important outpost, portending their eventual domination of the known world.

On October 19, 439, the Vandals — those mad-eyed proto-Germans — under the leadership of Gaiseric took Carthage from the Romans via surprise attack. The nature of said surprise is disputed.

One version says that Gaiseric had worked a deal with the Roman warlord in North Africa — a dude named Boniface. Boniface sensed a civil war and engaged the Vandals to help him out, but he was double-crossed by a guy named Aetius. His position weakened, he wanted to call off his Vandal-aided attack, but Gaiseric and Company had already hauled 80,000 people across the Mediterranean and wasn’t about to turn around, so he overran the Romans, seized Carthage and set up a seaside kingdom.

Another version says that Gaiseric suffered a horse-related injury and could no longer ride, so he had to satisfy his bloodlust with naval engagements and plundering and decided to seize North Africa while he was at it.

In any event, through whatever treachery and cunning, Gaiseric and the Vandals took Carthage and, 16 years later, they’d take Rome, too.

Avalanche at Sabres, 6 PM/7 PM Mountain

Records: Avalanche (6-1-0, 12 points, 1st in Conference III); Sabres (1-7-1, 3 points, 8th in Flortheast)

Last Time They Met: It was March 14, 2012. Jamie McGinn scored with 1.7 seconds left and Peter Mueller scored the lone shootout goal for a 5-4 Avs win in Buffalo.

Last 10: Colorado 6-1-0; Buffalo 1-7-1

Historical Context: There’s no better analog for unexpected Vandal rampage than the Avs, who have stormed out of nowhere to one of the league’s best records. The game in Buffalo — speaking of rotting waterside hulks — marks the first of four Conference III-Flortheast battles Saturday. Ya know, the unwashed central masses attacking the once-mighty legacy empire. Get it?

Predators at Canadiens, 6 PM

Records: Predators (3-3-1, 7 points, 6th in Conference III); Canadiens (5-2-0, 10 points, 3rd in Flortheast)

Last Time They Met: Max Pacioretty beat Pekka RInne halfway through overtime for a 2-1 win in Nashville Nov. 12, 2011. It was Nashville’s 1000th regular-season game. Neat.

Last 10: Nashville 3-3-1; Montreal 5-2-0

Historical Context: There’s a tale — possibly apocryphal — that Gary Bettman made a deal — not unlike our buddy Boniface — with the Old Guard of the Eastern Conference to secure their support for expansion into Nashville back in the 1990s. The story goes that they’d never (or at least, rarely) have to visit Nashville. Under the old format — where teams would play a bulk of the cross-conference teams once a year, that was easy to do. Indeed, there are from-the-beginning Nashville fans who have only seen the Habs and Leafs once or twice in person. Of course, ask Canada’s Greatest Human about Nashville and he’ll tell you they shouldn’t have been complaining:

Wild at Panthers, 6 PM

Records: Wild (3-3-2, 8 points, 5th in Conference III); Panthers (2-6-0, 4 points, 7th in Flortheast)

Last Time They Met: Erik Christensen scored with 31 seconds left to tie and Mikko Koivu scored 15 seconds into overtime for a 3-2 Wild victory in St. Paul March 29, 2012. Fun fact: this was so long ago, Florida was leading the division.

Last 10: Minnesota 3-3-2; Florida 2-6-0

Historical Context: A group of Wild men head south to the coast, looking to loot a weakened opponent. This stuff is really on the nose.

Maple Leafs at Blackhawks, 6 PM

Records: Maple Leafs (6-2-0, 12 points, 2nd in Flortheast); Blackhawks (4-1-2, 10 points, 3rd in Conference III)

Last Time They Met: The Hawks ended a three-game loser, storming back from two goals down to win 5-4 in Chicago on Leap Day 2012.

Last 10: Toronto 6-2-0; Chicago 4-1-2

Historical Context: Here’s the thing about our buddy Gaiseric. Even after he took down Carthage and more or less all of North Africa and the islands up to Sicily, he wasn’t tired of conquering. He just kept raiding and pirating like the old days. He more or less sacked Rome because he didn’t have anything else to do (and because he was using a pretty broad interpretation of the treaty). Is that Chicago this year? Making challenges for themselves to keep entertained. New challenge? Defeat the Maple Leafs, perhaps by making them shoot a zillion times.

Stars at Kings, 9:30 PM

Records: Stars (3-3-0, 7 points, 7th in Conference III); Kings (5-3-0, 10 points, 5th in Pacific)

Last Time They Met: Jeff “The Thirst” Carter chested one in the net late in OT for a 5-4 LA win April 21.

Last 10: Dallas 3-3-0; Los Angeles 5-3-0

Historical Context: Dallas is making its swing through the Pacific, searching for victory in its old stomping grounds. Gaiseric never tried. Once he conquered Carthage, he stayed there (even after conquering Rome) until his death.