Toronto Maple Leafs(46-24-7) vs New York Islanders(32-35-10)
Toronto going for the series sweep and their 47th win, what could be a new(er) franchise record as they recently collected their 46th win which was the most in Toronto Maple Leafs history. The Leafs also have the most 30-goal scorers with Auston Matthews goal the other night vs Florida. Not much can be said about this game, Toronto comes into this game with a clinched playoff spot and comfortable in the playoff race. No matter who the two seed in the Atlantic is that is who Toronto will play. The season series this year consisted of two games already which Toronto won both(Feb. 22 in a shootout) and now they look for the season sweep. Not too hard vs a team that is 3-6-1 in their last ten, 17-17-4 at home and nearly dead last in goals against per game. The Islanders struggles continue they have been officially eliminated from the playoff race and now face some major offseason questions. This team is their own worst enemy, they have the offense and tools to be a solid team but from the back up they just don’t have the talent or experience to compete with teams like Toronto. I think Toronto takes advantage of this weak, fragile Islanders team, going Toronto tonight.
Carolina Hurricanes(34-32-11) vs Washington Capitals(46-24-7)
The Capitals officially clinched a playoff spot Thursday night with the Penguins win over New Jersey. Yet again this Washington team remains atop the Metropolitan division looking at a matchup consisting of the Flyers in the first round. The Capitals come into this game off two wins vs the Rangers, on a five-game win streak and 9-1-0 in their last ten. This Capitals team really has hit full stride right now and even with Braden Holtby not playing full time they are still managing to stay dominate recently. The Capitals are a nitty-gritty team that will make you pay on the power play. Now, these two have met three times already and the series is 2-1 Washington’s favor but Carolina has taken a game in Washington earlier this year(Jan. 11). The Hurricanes are essentially out but if they want to continue to make like they aren’t and play mediocre .500 hockey until the end of the season so be it. The Hurricanes come into this game 5-5-0 in their last ten off a loss to New Jersey. The factor for tonight is that both teams come into tonight off two days rest, now one team has been more successful than the other but every time these two have met this year it has been a one or two goal game with plenty of action. We can expect both starters to go tonight, Holtby probably in net to allow him to see more action before the playoffs and Cam Ward for Carolina. Tonight I am going Capitals though.
Los Angeles Kings(43-28-7) vs Anaheim Ducks(39-25-13)
People on the East Coast you may want to find a way to watch this game because holy moly will this be a game to watch. As both teams are battling for that three spot in the Pacific and a playoff spot they meet once again late in the season with just five games to play and the season over in a week. Earlier this year these two exchanged fight after fight and has been the benchmark for future LA vs Anaheim games to come. The season series between these two has been eventful as they have met four times and the series is a split at two, every time these two have played it has been a one-goal game, two games resulting in extra time and more than usual, it results in a 2-1 game. The Ducks need this one desperately as the Avalanche play the Blackhawks, which is an easy win, the Ducks need to stay afloat here and make some strides at being a playoff team. The Ducks come into this game 5-4-1 in their last ten, but L.A. comes into this game off a game Thursday night, the travel won’t be bad for L.A. to Anaheim but a back to back is always tough for teams. The Kings are 6-2-2 in their last ten on a two-game win streak and playing better hockey as of late. No matter the outcome of this game the Kings and Ducks will get into the playoffs. It’s just a matter of where, which is why tonight is super important because the Blues play Vegas and the Blues and Ducks are tied right now, the Blues have a game in hand and are HOT. Ducks have last wild card spot they play Nashville, a second wild card they play Vegas. Yeah if you’re Anaheim this is a do or die game. Going Ducks tonight.
St. Louis Blues(43-28-5) vs Vegas Golden Knights(48-22-7)
A preview of the first round of the playoffs? Right now if the season were to end these two would be playing each other. As if the two games these two already played were not good enough but now as the Blues come in on a six-game win streak-snapping Columbus’s and San Jose’s win streak recently and Vegas comes in high, clinching a playoff spot and a loss to Arizona it is crucial for both these teams to pick up a point. Vegas is not playing great right now as they 5-3-2 in their last ten and as the playoffs near this young, inexperienced team need all the momentum and confidence they can get to move onto the second round. Vegas has been quite the story this year and making the playoffs is great but if your Gerard Gallant you are doing everything you can to convince this team to wake up and string some wins together to end the season. Now, if you are St. Louis coming in hot, making a push for the playoffs this is another crucial game as they have been nearly perfect lately and beating some of the top teams in the league, going into Vegas with the fans knowing they could possibly see St. Louis three or more times there come mid-April is going to make these fans livid. A tough go at tonight both teams are well rested and each time they’ve played it has been a one-goal game. With the circumstances tonight it all seems perfect to go St. Louis but I’m going Vegas tonight.