New York Islanders(16-9-2) vs Pittsburgh Penguins(15-11-3)
The last time the Islanders lost two games in a row was November 10, they dropped two games to Edmonton and Dallas, and the last time Pittsburgh dropped two games was actually just three weeks ago as they dropped two games to Vancouver and Boston. Two offenses that have the scoring ability and rely heavily on their top six to produce. This is the first of four meetings between these two, there is definitely no blood lost between these two. Between regular-season battles and playoff series, these two do not seem to like each other. Being from the same division and both battling for a wild card spot, we can see why. The Islanders are one point ahead of Pittsburgh. In the Islanders last ten they are 7-3-0 and post an 8-8-0 away record, as the Penguins are 6-4-1 with a 9-3-1 home record. The Islanders goaltending have hurt them in big games this season and as Tristan Jarry continues to be the number one guy it is a huge test for the Penguins defense and Jarry. This is a tough matchup, but I’m going Pittsburgh.
Calgary Flames(14-12-2) vs Montreal Canadiens(13-3-3)
The Canadiens streak has ended after a tough loss to St. Louis the other night and the Flames two-game losing streak continues as they dropped one in a shootout vs the Maple Leafs. This is another matchup where the two teams do not like each other, both being from the same providence and Canadian based teams these matchups always are a good one. As Calgary goes back to back we may see the Flames back up tender David Rittich(2GP, 1-1, 3.04 GAA,.875 save %) which does not help the Flames chances of winning. Assuming Carey Price gets the nod, and at home, Price is easily one of the toughest goalies to beat when he is on. Montreal has looked much better as of late posting a 5-4-1 record in their last ten and an 8-6-2 home record propelling them into the third playoff spot for the Atlantic division. As the Flames are 4-4-2 in their last ten with a 7-4-2 away record, after last nights loss, they have dropped out of the final wild card spot as of now. Going Montreal tonight.
Winnipeg Jets(17-7-4) vs Florida Panthers(10-13-4)
The Jets are lucky as they are on the road for the rest of the week, they head into Florida against a fragile Panthers team that is now without their number one goaltender Roberto Lungo for 6-8 weeks. James Reimer who has not been great thus far will be doing the heavy lifting for the Panthers until further notice. Reimer this season has 4 wins, a 3.67 GAA and .892 save percentage. Not good for an already struggling Panthers team. Well, the Jets have been on fire as of late and nothing will stop them definitely not the Panthers and James Reimer. Once this team gets going, their defense is clicking, goaltending is there and the offense is one of the best in the league, the Panthers do not stand a chance. Going Jets tonight.
Dallas Stars(16-11-1) vs St. Louis Blues(18-8-2)
Finally, the Stars are within a playoff spot and are playing better, much of that can be credited to more depth scoring like Radek Fafska. The Stars are now without Ben Bishop though until further notice as he is day-to-day with a sore back. The Stars are 7-3-0 in their last ten and 6-8-1 on the road this season. The Blues have dropped to third in the Central Divison now as of late with their poor play and last ten being 5-4-1, the Blues are still very much alive in the playoff race and one of the best teams in the league. They just have hit a rough patch right now. Blues are 9-5-0 in their last ten. I would imagine the Blues would want to get things going in the right direction again and it starts with beating other good teams like tonight. Coming off a big road win in Montreal, Blues look good tonight. Going Blues.
Philadelphia Flyers(10-11-7) vs Vancouver Canucks(14-10-4)
The Flyers go on a 10 game losing streak and bounce back with two wins back to back, two very important wins not only for the teams’ confidence but mainly for Dave Hasktol’s job. The Flyers have not seen any depth scoring this but their last two wins were won but some unexpected players like Dale Weise, Jordan Weal and Valtteri Filppula scoring goals. The Flyers need that all season to be more successful. But tonight, I really like Vancouver for some reason, assuming Jacob Markstrom gets the start tonight, I like the Nucks even more. This Vancouver team has more pieces to it than we believe and they have seen a lot of unlikely players producing. In their last then they are 5-3-2 with a 5-5-3 home record on the year. The Flyers are 2-3-5 in their last ten and 6-5-3 on the road this season. I’m going Canucks tonight.
Other games on tonight…
Coyotes vs Bruins: Bruins
Avalanche vs Lightning: Lightning
Senators vs Kings: Kings
Hurricanes vs Sharks: Hurricanes