New York Islanders(25-21-5) vs Toronto Maple Leafs(28-18-5)
Islanders dropped a tough one Tuesday night to the Panthers, not a game the Islanders could afford to drop and not the way they wanted to start the second half. They now travel from New York to Toronto in a back to back, things do not get easier for this squad. The Maple Leafs will be playing in their first game back though, so maybe the Islanders got the cobwebs off and get back to the style of play they know, catch the Leafs off guard/sleeping and jump on them quick. I know when teams go back to back they statistically play worse or rarely win, but I think the Islanders could possibly take this game or at least get a point. The Leafs leading goal scorer, and player that leads in assists, missed 10 games this season and still has 22 goals and 15 assists(Auston Matthews), for those that did not know, yes it’s Matthews. The Leafs have struggled tremendously this season with offensive depth. James Van Reimsdyk(50GP, 30 points), Nazem Kadri(49GP, 28 points), Tyler Bozak(50GP, 26 points) Mitch Marner(51GP, 34 points), I’m sure you get my point. The Leafs need to see more production from these guys or else it will be a short lived post season. The Leafs are without, Morgan Reilly and Nikita Zaitsev so their defense is hurting another reason the Islanders can take it. These two have yet to play each other and this will be the first of three meetings between the two. Tonight, I’m going Islanders, road win, why not, Toronto is only 13-8-2 on home ice.
San Jose Sharks(26-16-7) vs Detroit Red Wings(19-21-8)
The Sharks are coming off a beat down from the Penguins, losing 5-2, and now have to travel from sunny Pittsburgh to gloomy Michigan to take on Detroit. Not an easy day of travel and the travel will affect the Sharks. The Sharks are again without Joe Thornton but Martin Jones is back which we probably won’t see him tonight as he started Tuesday, Aaron Dell will more than likely get the start. The Sharks are now tied with the Kings and Ducks for that second place spot in the division and as the season continues these two will be on their tail all year. Each game is important and a win tonight is a must for San Jose. The Red Wings are a competitive team, with a ton of forward skill but are just not the type of team to make a playoff run right now, yes they will give teams a hard time but when push comes to shove the Red Wings will get beat by the better teams in the NHL. Tonight I have to go with San Jose as a win is a must for them.
Philadelphia Flyers(24-17-8) vs Washington Capitals(29-15-5)
These two are coming off a fresh break, not playing last night and this being both their first games back since the All-Star break. The last time these two played was just prior to the All-Star break where the Flyers won in overtime in Washington and currently hold the season series advantage 2-0. The Flyers played the Capitals on Oct. 14, and they brutally beat them 8-2, this will mark the third meeting of four for the two and a possible chance for the Flyers to take the season series. The Flyers have been playing much better leading up to the All-Star break, but this break can be both good or bad for some teams. The Capitals are enjoying another first place spot right now, but when these two meet, all past history is remembered but not a factor in the game. It is very well known how much the Flyers, Capitals dislike one another. An offense led by Rocket trophy favorite Alex Ovechkin, with a vezina goaltender in net go up against the assist leader Jakub Voracek, Claude Giroux and new goal scorer Sean Courtier as the Flyers head to Washington one more time to take the season series. This will for sure be a good one, it does not matter what I say about either team, these two will come to play no matter what. Tonight I am going Capitals.