Philadelphia Flyers(28-19-10) vs Columbus Blue Jackets(29-24-4)
The Flyers are coming into Nationwide Arena hot, as the Blue Jackets are sitting one point out of a wildcard spot, looking to regain their spot in the playoffs. The Flyers we have to note that without Brian Eliott now the will be looking at Michael Neuvirth to move them along and keep them within reach of a playoff spot. Things do not get easier for the Flyers, as their play has increased, trouble continues to hit them. Anyways, with the trade deadline 10 days away now I think we look to see the Flyers go after a goalie(Petr Mzarek/Jimmy Howard). The Flyers are 14-10-4, 5-3-2 in their last ten and have played Columbus once before in Columbus, in which they lost 2-1 in a shootout. The Blue Jackets, on the other hand, have the opportunity to jump Carolina for the last wild-card spot, even with a 3-6-1 record in their last ten. The Blue Jackets have the tools to get it done, definitely, a solid mix of forwards and defenseman but they have a slight bump in the road, nothing to panic over. Tonight we see Columbus take this one I think.
New York Islanders(28-25-6) vs Carolina Hurricanes(27-22-9)
Both teams going back to back, and both teams traveling today. The Hurricanes are coming off a tough loss to New Jersey Thursday night as the Islanders are coming off a big win vs the Rangers Thursday night. Islanders trail Carolina by one point, so the winner is in the mix for a playoff spot. All pressure has to be on Carolina right now as they have Columbus and Islanders breathing down their necks for that final wild-card spot. The Hurricanes are 6-3-1 in their last ten with a 15-9-5 home record, even in the empty barn of Carolina the Hurricanes find ways to win in front of the home crowd. Funny thing, two teams that are near last in attendance this year and for several years now battle it out. The Islanders although they seem to hit rough spots every so often this season, cannot be overlooked with this offense they have. They are 4-5-1 in their last ten and 12-15-2 on the road. Nothing to be too confident in but like we said a back to back and days of travel for both teams will make for a close game. Expected starters are probably Cam Ward and Tomas Greiss, two goalies that could steal a game. I like the Hurricanes chances to win but for some reason, my gut is telling me New York on the road here.
Colorado Avalanche(31-21-4) vs Winnipeg Jets(33-15-9)
This game is sort of a bore to me because as we know the Avalanche to be in the mix for a playoff spot, going up against a now healthy Winnipeg front six and a team that has got beat on home ice recently is not something that favors Colorado. The Jets are coming into this game off a road win vs Washington and some rest, posting a 6-2-2 record in their last ten and a 21-5-2 record at home. As the Avalanche are coming off a shutout win vs Montreal, but do post a 4-5-1 record in their last ten and below .500 record on the road. The Jets have too many weapons on the front end, with a somewhat fragile Colorado lineup right now and a Stanley Cup contending Jets team, I cannot see this being a toss-up game. I think the Jets come in, handle business and turn the page to the next team. Going Winnipeg tonight.
St. Louis Blues(34-21-4) vs Dallas Stars(33-20-4)
Definitely, an underestimated matchup here tonight as the Stars trail the Blues by only two points and are a team we will see for sure in the mix come April. The Stars have three guys, looking to add another depth scorer to pair with Jason Spezza, for now, they are seeing some decent bottom six production but this one more piece may help this squad out. The Blues recently just went out and bought extremely low on Toronto prospect Nikita Soshnikov for a fourth-round pick. The Blues another team similar to Dallas looking to add some depth scoring and have been deemed buyers this trade deadline. The Blues are coming into this game though off a tough loss to Nashville, a game where they led the whole time and let it slip through their fingers. They are 6-3-1 in their last ten and 15-9-4 on the road. The Stars are coming off a five-day rest, after getting shacked 6-0 to Vancouver February 11th. They are 7-3-0 in their last ten with a 20-9-1 home record. These two teams have played each other three times and this will be the final meeting of the year. The Blues hold the advantage 2-1 but every game has been extremely close, Dallas last won on home ice Dec. 29, and now return back home to hopefully even out the series. I’ve been liking the Stars this season, going to stick with the home team here tonight, going Stars.