Montreal Canadiens(24-29-10) vs New York Islanders(29-28-7)
The story in New York is, they continue to lose and fall out of a playoff spot will John Tavares be back next season. Some say it doesn’t matter, some say differential. The Islanders and Canadiens last played just two days ago, in which I thought was going to be a clear Islanders win, turned out to be the Canadiens spoiling the Islanders fortunes. The Canadiens are essentially playing spoiler hockey right now, as they are clearly out of a playoff spot and they probably get off on winning games that matter vs playoff teams. The Canadiens are coming off that win vs the Islanders and they now travel to the Barclays Center. Tough for me to go the Islanders tonight after they drop a terrible loss to the same team two days ago. Have to go Islanders though, I don’t know why I’m doing this, but they need a win this team BADLY.
Buffalo Sabres(20-33-11) vs Florida Panthers(30-25-6)
Huge home win for the Panthers Thursday night, they pick up a crucial win vs a hot team and they now sit three points out of a playoff spot, a Columbus lose and Panthers win, makes them one point out. The Panthers for the remainder of their 18 games will be playing gritty do or die hockey. There won’t be a game where we don’t see the Panthers battling to the wire. Their four-game win streak 7 wins in the last 10, has a lot to be credited to Aleksander Barkov and Evegenii Dadonov, these two have been on fire over the recent month and have really surged this offense. The Sabres though are playing some of their best hockey, even without Jack Eichel, playing to ruin some dreams right now and just having fun. The Sabres are 5-4-1 in their last ten, two-game win streak beating Tampa Bay and Boston Sunday afternoon. Two top teams, Buffalo has taken off, do not expect this to be an easy game for the Panthers. Tonight I am going to go with the hot hand Florida, battling for a spot, this a must win.
New Jersey Devils(33-23-8) vs Carolina Hurricanes(28-25-11)
The Hurricanes are coming off a huge win over one of the hottest teams in the NHL, Philadelphia, but now they face another Metropolitan division team. The Devils are coming off a loss to Flordia Thursday night and have to travel from Florida to Carolina, a bit of an issue there. The Devils did, in fact, get Corey Schneider back and Taylor Hall extends his point streak to 23-games, a lot of positives in New Jersey and they have proven to be a solidified playoff opponent. The Hurricanes are playing for a playoff spot let’s not forget that they are only two points out of a wild-card spot if Columbus loses tonight. They are playing decent hockey with a 4-4-2 record in their last ten, mediocre hockey won’t get this team by. Tough one tonight, both teams obviously playing to win and the Hurricanes need this game a little bit more. They’ve played the Devils now two times and they have lost both those games, I see Carolina taking this one tonight.
Columbus Blue Jackets(32-27-5) vs Anaheim Ducks(31-21-12)
The Ducks and Blue Jackets are battling for playoff spots right now, unfortunately, one team has to lose. The Blue Jackets are only two points within a spot, with three teams on their tail as the Ducks are tied for a wild-card spot with the Blues, and have two teams within two points of them. The Ducks are 6-2-2 in their last ten coming off an overtime loss to the Oilers, and now face the Blue Jackets who are coming off a terrible road loss, talk about the wrong time for a West Coast trip. The Blue Jackets started with the Kings lost, go to Anaheim now, and then San Jose Sunday. Tough break for the Blue Jackets, because I can easily see them losing all three West Coast games. Going Anaheim tonight.