Columbus Blue Jackets(29-25-5) vs New Jersey Devils(31-20-8)
These two have met now three times prior to this and tonight will be the final meeting of four. The Blue Jackets currently hold the advantage 2-1, winning one at home and one on the road. The Devils as well took the first meeting from Columbus on the road. A time they were extremely hot though, let’s remember that. The Devils in a sense have come back down to earth a little. As they sit in a playoff spot, nothing is secure yet, they lead the wild card teams by six and seven points, Columbus by seven, Carolina and Islanders by six. Devils are tied with the Flyers with 70 points, as both teams play tonight. This game is basically a battle for third in the Metro for New Jersey tonight. The Devils are 6-4-0 in their last ten on a four-game winning streak while posting a 16-10-3 home record. As much as we want to think Columbus is capable of winning this game, I do not see them coming out with it. Devils even the season series tonight and separate themselves even more. The Blue Jackets are 2-6-2 in their last ten, playing extremely inconsistent hockey, coming into a game vs a hot team right now and a team that is hungry, I am sticking with the Devils tonight.
Montreal Canadiens(22-29-7) vs Philadelphia Flyers(30-19-10)
This has to be the most consistent stretch of play for the Flyers in nearly two seasons, they have won six of their last ten picking up points in eight of those ten games sitting in a playoff spot, battling with New Jersey right now. The Flyers also just acquired a goaltender, something they needed desperately. I feel the tempo will be high in Philly tonight although Mrazek will not play the Flyers are on a good stretch and play a team that has struggled all season. The Canadiens are 2-7-1 in their last ten on a three-game losing streak with an 8-19-1 road record. The Canadiens and Flyers have met just one-time prior to this meeting and tonight will make the second of the three meetings between the two. The Flyers took the firts match up 5-3. I cannot see the Flyers losing to a team that has been struggling and especially with how close they are with New Jersey they need to capitalize on games like this. Going Flyers tonight. Also just found out Wayne Simmonds out 2-3 weeks, still doesn’t change anything. Simmonds has 37 points(20g, 17a, 16 PP) in 59 games. Really a solid power play presence. With the production of Konecny lately, he won’t be too hard to replace.
Tampa Bay Lightning(39-17-3) vs Washington Capitals(34-18-7)
I’m not sure we can say the Lightning are just going through a rough time anymore, they are now posting a .500 record in their last ten games and have dropped some bad games to some bad teams lately. Maybe the Lightning are cooling off, slowing down, whatever it may be. But the Lightning has lost the league lead and lead the Bruins for the top of the Atlantic by only one point. The Lightning head to Washington tonight a team that is not going to be no roll-over win to give them some confidence back. The Capitals have been relatively consistent all season, not too hight and never too low. They are 5-3-2 in their last ten and with the Penguins breathing down their necks, they only have the division lead by one point now. Every game counts for these two teams they may be guaranteed playoff teams but seeding matters and these two teams have a chance to drop some major points tonight. Capitals at home with a 20-8-2 record, I like the Capitals consistent play, going to be a nail-biter, a game of the night for sure. Going Capitals tonight.
San Jose Sharks(32-19-8) vs St. Louis Blues(34-22-4)
Anytime two playoff teams meet it always has that playoff atmosphere even though there are 25 games left in the season. The best part about these two tonight it is their first time meeting this season and they meeting again two more times over the next month. A quick memory will have to be the mindset here. The Blues are tied with Dallas for the third spot int he central while posting a 5-4-1 record in their last ten coming off a loss to Dallas. The good thing though the Blues are coming off a four-day rest, so no excuse for tired legs here. The Sharks are securely in a playoff spot I’d say they have been pretty consistent all season and have stayed in the two seed all season. They currently 6-3-1 in their last ten coming off a win vs Dallas, 5-2. A team St. Louis last lost too, that’s interesting. The Sharks have a solid mix of forwards this season with one of the more consistent goalies in the league. The Blues have dealt with some inconsistency and lack of a starting goalie. Tonight though, Blues at home posting a 19-12-0 record with the Sharks 15-10-5 away record, going Blues tonight.
Los Angeles Kings(32-22-5) vs Winnipeg Jets(35-15-9)
A lot of buzz out of Winnipeg regarding them being buyers as they inch towards a hopeful Stanley Cup run, but as Blake Wheeler said best “let’s pump the brakes on this Stanley Cup talk, we haven’t even made the playoffs.” Always something you love to hear from the captain and star of the team. The Jets are definitely no joke this season though they are Stanley Cup contenders a team we can see add a rental player by the end of the week(trade deadline six days away). The Jets are on a three-game winning streak tied with Nashville for the division lead(79 points) posting a 6-2-2 record in their last ten. The Kings though a team that was once a playoff team but fast forward a month and now this Kings team is battling for a playoff spot. They acquired Dion Phaneuf for some punch to their blueline. The Kings are two points out of a playoff spot coming off a 3-1 win over Chicago(yawn), posting a 6-4-0 record in their last ten on a two-game winning streak. The Kings 18-13-2 road record gives one some hope as the Jets are 23-5-2 at home this season. Going to be a tough one, Kings need these two points badly but it won’t come easy vs one of the best teams in the league, I’m sticking with my Jets man, sorry L.A., your traffic stinks also.
Other games on tonight…
Panthers vs Leafs: Leafs
Predators vs Red Wings: Predators
Bruins vs Oilers: Back to back for both teams, yikes, like Bruins here of course.
Avalanche vs Canucks: Shouldn’t be so tough but is, going Canucks though.