Detroit Red Wings(21-23-8) vs New York Islanders(26-23-6)
Man, a lot of attention has been on the Rangers lately but how about the Islanders, not doing much better. Dropping yet another game to Buffalo last night, a terrible Buffalo team, understandable it was on the road but the Islanders want to be a “playoff team” and they go and drop a game like that terrible. Jaroslav Halak, for as much as you want to defend the guy, go ahead but he has been the kryptonite to this team through and through. Goaltending in general, as a matter of fact. They go back to back tonight and against a not so easy opponent, Detroit. OVer their last ten, they are 4-5-1, on a two-game skid, but that is what this team has been all year, they compete for sure, but they do not blow you out of the water on any night. We can expect a solid game tonight and a game in which the Islanders go back to back and travel is tough.Over the last ten, the Islanders are 3-5-2, battling, hanging on by a thread, I should say for a playoff spot. The Islanders have two questions to face as the trade deadline approaches, sell or stay put this season. They seem to be content with their roster. Rough next couple of months for the people in New York. Tonight I have to go Islanders though, 6-11 in back to back games is not a good stat but they need a win to get over this hump and something to give them momentum.
Columbus Blue Jackets(27-22-4) vs Washington Capitals(31-17-5)
The Blue Jackets are another one of those Metro teams that are struggling right now, in their last ten they are 3-6-1, on a three-game losing streak and now go to Washington for a divisional matchup. Things won’t get easier for this team, they are actually coming off a loss to Washington just three days ago, expect this team the Capitals host the Blue Jackets. Perhaps the three days rest and some time off will help but the Blue Jackets look to be barely hanging onto to that wild card spot right now. The Capitals, on the other hand, cannot let off the gas, they have Pittsburgh now breathing down their throats and we all know those two and their history. The Capitals have been a consistent top ten, number one divisional team all season, and in their last ten they are 4-4-2, but at home, they post a 19-8-1 record, as the Blue Jackets post an 11-12-3 road record. Ovechkin and now 200 career goal scorer Nicolas Backstrom will man the ship and lead this team to another win.
St. Louis Blues(33-20-3) vs Winnipeg Jets(32-13-9)
This is going to be a great and one of the many great Western Conference games tonight, the Blues are coming off a blowout win vs Colorado and with a healthy line now they have been rolling, the play of Carter Hutton, 7-3-0 in their last ten they now face the divisional’s best Winnipeg’s, a nice division battle. The Jets lead the Blues by four points and the Blues pick up two they will be right back where they started at the beginning of the year. The Jets are coming off a win over Arizona and are 6-2-2 in their last ten, on a two-game win streak. Tough spot tonight is that the Blues go back to back and the Jets are coming off a days rest. Does this mean Jake Allen gets the nod tonight as their new starter Carter Hutton gets rest if so you have to be thinking Winnipeg? Right now no confirmed goalie as it is(10:30am), again if it is Allen, I’m leaning towards Jets. The Jets are also home tonight and their home record is 20-3-2, which is one of the best in the NHL. As the Blues are 14-9-3 on the road, the Jets three losses at home, have to make you think, home, rest, Hellebyuck in net, I am going Jets.
Pittsburgh Penguins(30-22-3) vs Dallas Stars(32-19-4)
Game of the night for sure out in Texas. Two teams that have been firing as of late and have been rather successful over the last month. The Penguins are picking up their play, looking to gain some separation in the standings, get back to the playoffs and make yet another deep run. The Penguins in their last ten are 7-3-0, coming off a big win vs Vegas Tuesday night. Three-days rest, a healthy roster, three stars that are near impossible to stop at the moment and a road record of 3-4 over the last month of play. The Stars, on the other hand, are coming off a back to back after playing last night in Chicago, now having to travel to Dallas, and starting Ben Bishop last night, the Stars are going with back up Kari Lehtonen, who is 9-5-1, 2.22 GAA, .919 save percentage and started has started four games since January 15, and has won all four. A back to back worries me with Dallas though and Lehtonen in net, although he has been rather successful, his two starts have come against Arizona and Buffalo. The Stars as a whole are sitting comfortably in the first wild-card spot on a four-game win streak and 7-2-1 in their last ten. A hot Penguins team that is rested, I don’t know have to go Penguins tonight.
Other games tonight…
Flames vs Rangers: Preview, coming up, but…yeah
Kings vs Panthers: Panthers
Canucks vs Hurricanes: Hurricanes
Oilers vs Ducks: Ducks