Columbus Blue Jackets(9-4-1) vs New York Rangers(6-7-2)
The Rangers have quickly turned their season around with three straight wins and a big win vs Tampa Bay Thursday night. The Rangers have looked much better defensively and have seen more consistent goal scoring. But this will not be an easy opponent for New York taking on the Metro’s best Columbus. Although Columbus is without Cam Atkinson and some young forwards are filling in for the time being, this Columbus team ranks up well with the Rangers. The only concern for me is that as of now who knows what Alain Vigneault will be throwing together on the defensive and offensive end of things. The way the Rangers come out with a win is a more sound game from Henrik Lundqvist as he has yet to really have a break out performance. Rangers, 3-2.
Minnesota Wild(5-5-2) vs Boston Bruins(5-4-3)
The Bruins are now without David Backes and David Krejci, their center depth is basically non-existent, as their second line center is Jordan Szwarz(?). The Bruins luckily have seen solid production on their back end and have #1 goaltender Tuukka Rask standing tall in between the pipes. The Wild are also without a few key players but have had Mikael Granlund and Nino Niederreiter back in the line up for a few games now. But the Wild are still missing that key piece Charlie Coyle to really solidify their top six. This will be a goaltending duo as Tuukka Rask faces off against Devan Dubnyk, Rask has 2 wins, 2.70 goals against and a .905 save percentage, Dubnyk records four wins, 2.81 goals against and a .913 save percentage. Wild, 2-1.
Vegas Golden Knights(9-4-0) vs Toronto Maple Leafs(8-7-0)
The Leafs need to figure it out and figure it out quick as they have let up five or more goals in the last two games and have dropped their last two. The Leafs have not been anything special this year and it starts with slow production from Mitch Marner and other key forwards on this roster. Frederick Anderson has not looked great in situations and the Leafs have struggled to tally together consistent wins. Vegas ended their skid with a win vs Ottawa Saturday night but the Golden Knights head into their fourth road game and to Toronto then Montreal in a back to back fashion. This will be a tough game for the Golden Knights but as we have seen this team continues to compete and show up game in and game out. Toronto needs a win and some confidence to get their legs under them, Maple Leafs, 3-2.
Arizona Coyotes(2-12-1) vs Washington Capitals(7-6-1)
The rookie sensation Clayton Keller continues to be the key reason to this teams goal scoring in games. Keller has stormed out the gates and landed himself into early Calder contention. But the Coyotes have struggled to get anything going outside of Keller. Where the Capitals have plenty of forward depth and a Vezina goaltender in net. The Capitals will dictate this game all night and without a doubt come out with a win tonight. Capitals, 5-2.
Winnipeg Jets(7-3-3) vs Dallas Stars(8-6-0)
The Jets have yet to lose a game in regulation since October 17, since then they have won five games and dropped three in overtime or a shootout. The Jets have seen Connor Helleybuck playing unbelievable and a major reason this team has resurged their season, what looked to be a long Jets season, the team quickly turned it around and now are a top team in the Central. The Stars are right behind the Jets by one point, the atmosphere of this game will have a playoff feel. Both teams are expected to be two leaders in the Central and battling for a playoff spot. The Stars have not had much success this season but have found ways to win games, they are just doing what they need to do, hanging in there. Jets, 4-3.
Detroit Red Wings(7-7-1) vs Vancouver Canucks(7-4-1)
The Red Wings are still a shock to me, they are .500 and have played close with every team in the NHL, as well as the Canucks being above .500 by three games, not many expected this. Their latest win comes off a hattrick from rookie Brock Boeser, who has played exceptionally well for the Canucks despite his injury. The Red Wings have seen their own rookie Anthony Mantha off to a hot start with six goals on the year already and has a major part of the Red Wings success this season. The Red Wings are going back to back here so it is expected that Vancouver will look to jump on this team early. For the sole reason of going back to back and Jimmy Howard more than likely in net, I like Vancouver, 3-2.