Washington Capitals(19-12-1) vs Boston Bruins(15-9-4)
Let’s take into consideration here that the Bruins have to now travel from Detroit to Boston for quick turn around vs a well-rested and red-hot Capitals team. That alone makes my decision easier. I would also expect to see Anton Khudobin in net, as he did fill in for Rask when Rask was struggling, he has not played since December 4. The Capitals are coming off a day of rest and I would hope the Capitals would jump on that and start Holtby as well. Washington is 8-2-0 in their last ten and so are the Bruins. The Bruins are now coming off a physical, long game that went into extra time. A quick turn around after a long game is never a good sign. Staying off all numbers here and looking at the most logical option, Washington seems to be the choice tonight.
New York Islanders(17-11-3) vs Columbus Blue Jackets(19-11-1)
Both these teams are coming off a bad loss, the Jackets lost 7-2 to Edmonton recently and the Islanders just dropped to Dallas 5-2. The Islanders are coming off a back to back, with a tough travel to Columbus, as the weather may have delayed their travel as well. The Islanders are 3-3 in back to back games this season and the Jackets are 4-2 after losing a game, they have had just one four-game losing skid this season and beat the Islanders 5-0 earlier in the year, exactly a month ago actually. Both teams have similar offenses, three deep scoring lines, the Jackets defense(scoring wise) is more favorably, and they have the better goalie by far. It seems tonight Halak won’t get the start after getting yanked last night. Tomas Greiss will get the nod tonight. this is a tough one because both teams cannot afford to drop any points at this point. I’m going Columbus.
New Jersey Devils(17-9-4) vs Montreal Canadiens(13-14-4)
This is a game that you may look at and think oh the Devils for sure. The Devils may be without Taylor Hall, a major blow to their top lines as he is the top point scorer on the Devils, and a leader. Montreal at home to have been much better since turning their season around, and in their last ten they are 5-3-2, and in their last eight home games they are 3-4 and are currently on a three-game losing streak. This Canadiens team is so streaky and inconsistent this season, they lack depth scoring and offense in general. This is a tough one because Montreal needs to snap this skid and the Devils also would like to regain the divisional lead. Tonight I am going New Jersey.
Toronto Maple Leafs(20-11-1) vs Minnesota Wild(16-11-3)
The Leafs are without Auston Matthews again. Wild win. No, but actually the Wild have looked much better lately and have found themselves in the second wild-card spot as well. In the Wild last ten, they are 7-3-0 and post a 9-3-2 home record. This two do not see each other too much, but their only two meetings this season come a month apart. The Leafs beat the Wild in Toronto 4-2 on November 8. Since that the Wild are 10-5 and the Leafs are 10-5, that was totally not intended, I really had no idea they posted identical records. The Leafs though are 6-3-1 in their last ten. This two have been almost identical in their last ten and since their last matchup. Tough choice, both are coming off days of rest, both have good depth scoring, goaltending, and defenseman that can score and play sound defense. Nevermind scratch that I had Minnesota earlier today but Dubynk is out, going Toronto.
San Jose Sharks(16-10-3) vs Calgary Flames(16-12-3)
This is a great game similar to the Leafs game both teams are very similar to each other and have been playing some solid hockey as of late. The Sharks are 6-2-2 in their last ten and have found themselves within the top three of the Pacific and now in a playoff spot. The Flames are 4-4-2 and are looking out on the playoff picture, currently tied for the last wild-card spot. Calgary is 8-8 at home and the Sharks are 7-4-1 on the road. Again these two teams rely heavily on their top two lines and have goaltenders that can get the job done. The Flames have more defensive depth but their defense has not been outstanding this season. For some reason, I like San Jose, usually, never take Sharks.
Pittsburgh Penguins(16-13-3) vs Vegas Golden Knights(19-9-2)
If you came to me in September and said midway through December Vegas would have a better record then Pittsburgh and be in a playoff spot I may have laughed and never spoke to you again. Well here we are, the NHL game of the night and NHL Network will display the game as well. These two only meet two times this year and tonight is the first meeting. Also the first time Marc Andre Fleury will be playing against the Penguins in his entire career. The Penguins leading scorer Phil Kessel will be looking to continue his hot streak and Vegas’s William Karlsson will look to continue the surprisingly outstanding season. This is going to be a great one, Vegas recently dropped their last home game and second time losing at home, they are 6-3-1 in their last ten as Pittsburgh is 5-5-0 in their last ten and post a 6-8-2 away record. Tonight I am going Pittsburgh, they have to win. Please.
Other games on tonight
Sabres vs Flyers: Flyers
Ducks vs Blues: Blues
Blackhawks vs Jets: Jets
Panthers vs Avalanche: Panthers
Predators vs Oilers: Oilers
Lightning vs Coyotes: Lightning