Great Game Previews In History: 27 March 2014

by J.R.

Today In History

The Naval Act of 1794 — passed on this day in, uh, 1794 — authorized the building of the first six frigates of the U.S. Navy. A real original six.

One of them — the Constitution — is still in commission in Charlestown Navy Yard and part of the Navy’s educational outreach programs.

That leaves five and, wouldn’t ya know, there are five Conference III games today.


Wild at Blues, 7 PM

Records: Wild (37-25-11, 85 points, 5th in Conference III); Blues (49-16-7, 105 points, 1st in Conference III)

Last Time They Met: T.J. Oshie — natch — got the shootout winner in a 3-2 Blues victory March 9.

Last 10: Minnesota 3-3-4; St. Louis 7-2-1

BirchBattleBetweenTheUnitedStatesAndTheMacedonianThe Frigate: This one is, against all odds, for the Crown of Fecal Matter, won by St. Louis when it swapped the Belt for the Cap in the 4-0 loss to Chicago.

But let’s talk about the USS United States. She stayed in commission a long time — until 1849 — and she was placed in ordinary at Norfolk. During the Civil War (bear in mind, the United States was commissioned in 1797, so this was 60-some-odd years later, a career that would make Jaromir Jagr blush), she was captured by the Confederacy, which scuttled the ship, but then she was taken off the bottom by the Union and stayed in service until she was broken up in 1865.

The Wild, like the United States, have had a tough go of it here lately, laid on the bottom of the sea by the likes of New Jersey, Vancouver and Detroit. The Fightin’ Adjectives are no-doubters for the playoffs, but can they lift themselves up by the time the post-season begins?

Blackhawks at Bruins, 6 PM

USS_ConstellationRecords: Blackhawks (42-16-15, 97 points, 2nd in Conference III); Bruins (49-17-6, 104 points, 1st in Flortheast)

Last Time They Met: The last time they were in Boston, Chicago won the Cup and prompted a series of tough questions from Red Wings fans. The last time these two played was in Chicago in January and Patrick Kane got the shootout winner.

Last 10: Chicago 6-3-1; Boston 9-0-1

The Frigate: The USS Constellation was broken up in 1853, her timbers used to make a new Constellation, which led to a century-and-a-half long dispute about which Constellation is the one in Baltimore today (it’s the second one).

With Kane out, Joel Quenneville and Stan Bowman have had to rearrange the planks of their mighty ship. Is Teuvo Teravainen a Patty Kane clone or a reconfigured version that will be firing cannons for years?


Sabres at Predators, 7 PM

UsspresidentatanchorRecords: Sabres (20-44-8, 48 points, 8th in Flortheast); Predators (31-31-11, 73 points, 6th in Conference III)

Last Time They Met: Shea Weber had one of each in a 4-1 Nashville win March 11.

Last 10: Buffalo 1-9-0; Nashville 5-4-1

The Frigate: The USS President is perhaps best known for a demonstration of ineptitude. In 1811, she was searching for impressed American sailors held aboard HMS Guerriere and, the captain, thinking he spotted the British frigate, fired upon a ship off North Carolina. In fact, it was HMS Little Belt, not a frigate, but a much smaller class (a sixth-rate sloop-of-war). Thirty-one British sailors died during what became known as the Little Belt Affair. Nashville has a tendency to mistake minnows for bigger fish and hope tonight’s game isn’t as embarrassing as what happened in 1811.

Canucks at Avalanche, 7 PM Mountain/8 PM Central

ChesapeakeRecords: Canucks (34-30-10, 78 points, 5th in Pacific); Avalanche (45-21-6, 96 points, 3rd in Conference III)

Last Time They Met: The Canucks won 3-1 in Vancouver December 8.

Last 10: Vancouver 6-4-0; Colorado 5-4-1

The Frigate: The USS Chesapeake was built not with the specifications expected. The shipbuilder, Josiah Fox, went his own way and built a 36-gun frigate instead of a 44. The Avs went their own way on draft day — taking Nathan MacKinnon — and, since, have shaken the power structure of Conference III. Chesapeake‘s new design had implications across the rest of the original six frigates — Constellation and Congress had to be re-rated — just as Colorado’s emergence has changed what we thought we know about the division.


USSCongressJets at Sharks, 9:30 PM

Records: Jets (32-32-9, 73 points, 7th in Conference III); Sharks (47-18-9, 103 points, 1st in Pacific)

Last Time They Met: Joe Pavelski had the only goal in a 1-0 Sharks win January 23.

Last 10: Winnipeg 2-6-2; San Jose 7-1-2

The Frigate: And that leaves USS Congress. Her maiden voyage was supposed to take her all the way to the East Indies, but her masts fell apart and she had to go back to port for six months. After that, she made a voyage to the West Indies and participated in a series of “uneventful patrols.” Like the Jets, she set out into a storm, had to be repaired, set out again and remained a non-factor.

Now this: