Toronto Maple Leafs(48-25-7) vs New Jersey Devils(43-28-9)
The Devils need basically one point tonight to get in, that is if the Panthers lose. Anyways the Devils come into this game with the playoffs in sight and having to win just one of their next two games. They stay home for this one which is good and the Leafs vs Devils series this year has not been overly exciting but the Devils did handle the Leafs during the first week of the season. Luckily that was ages ago, or what feels like it. But the Devils come into this game off a win vs the Rangers on a three-game win streak and 7-2-1 in their last ten. It seems the only concern here with New Jersey is who will be getting the start in net for them in the playoffs. Keith Kinkaid has taken over a majority of the crease and has yet to show signs of losing it. The Leafs now, come in secured a playoff spot not moving from three and most likely playing either Boston or Tampa, either or they will be ready for both, although I’m sure we are all hoping for Boston vs Toronto. The Leafs are 7-3-0 in their last ten coming off a win vs Buffalo. We can expect the Leafs to go with Freddy Anderson tonight as they play the Canadiens Saturday in a meaningless game. Tonight I am going Devils though.
Carolina Hurricanes(35-34-11) vs Philadelphia Flyers(40-26-14)
The Hurricanes have a chance to make it really difficult for the Flyers moving forward, I’m sure they are coming in with that same mentality as the Blackhawks did last night and they want to crush the Flyers playoff hopes. Being divisional rivals and playing each other four times a year will make for an interesting matchup. The Flyers hold the series advantage at 2-1, winning their last game on March. 17, the Flyers come into this game 5-2-3 in their last ten off a bad loss to the Islanders. As the Hurricanes come in 5-5-0 in their last ten dripping their last two. The Flyers need to desperately win this game with the Panthers playing Boston and them facing Carolina the matchup is in their favor. The Flyers win this game they are essentially in. This is going to make for a great atmosphere in Philadelphia tonight. I would be extremely shocked to see this Flyers team lose tonight, put the house on them.
Nashville Predators(51-18-11) vs Washington Capitals(48-25-7)
The Predators and Capitals are the division leaders of both their respective divisions, so this is going to make for a hard fought battle but one that does not mean much. The Capitals lead the Metro by 6 points, no one is catching them so they have some time to rest, recharge and play a little loose for the remainder of the season. Same goes for Nashville they have the Central locked up and are just trying to stay afloat until playoff time. Both teams are top teams in the NHL and both teams that have handled their own all season. The Predators are most likely getting Colorado for their first-round matchup, so they are pretty comfortable where they are. The Capitals may have to worry if they face Philadelphia though those two teams have some spirited matchups when they play. These two teams have been playing well heading into the playoffs, the Capitals are 8-2-0 in their last ten on a two-game win streak and the Predators are 5-4-1 after dropping that blown call game to Florida the other night. Going to be a good game but not one that is too physical or intense. Going Predators tonight.
Pittsburgh Penguins(45-29-6) vs Columbus Blue Jackets(45-29-6)
They have identical records, that is crazy. Sorry, continue. Now, this game is going to be a battle. Two teams that met in the playoffs last year and two teams that have played three times already. The Penguins have the series at 3-0, winning the last one in Columbus too. These two are tied for the second spot right now, but either way, these two are seeming to meet each other in the playoffs yet again unless New Jersey wins tonight and their last game. Either way, I see these two meeting in the first round and that is going to be awesome. This is going to have some serious playoff atmosphere, the Blue Jackets certainly do not want to get swept and the Penguins want that two spot locked up. A lot of rankings play into this and I could see this going to overtime for sure. The Penguins are 5-3-2 in their last ten coming off a loss to Washington, the four-day rest will help Pittsburgh as the Blue Jackets are 8-1-1 in their last ten coming off a win over Detroit. Tonight I am going Columbus, no shot they get swept and lose all four to Pitt.
Boston Bruins(49-18-12) vs Florida Panthers(41-30-8)
This is a do or die game for the Panthers. Literally. The Panthers have to win this game or they are out. If they lose tonight they are essentially done. This is going to be tough to beat the Bruins tonight and again on Sunday, but it is possible. There really is not much to say about this game. Everyone on Florida knows what needs to be done and they will play extremely desperate but I don’t think they take this game. The Bruins would love to ruin the Panthers playoff hopes and crush their dreams. Right now anything is possible and it is so late in the season that yes, miracles can happen people. We have seen some crazy things. The Panthers are 6-3-1 in their last ten and on a two-game win streak coming off a controversial win they better hope luck like that goes their way again tonight. The Bruins are 5-1-4 in their last ten coming off a 4-0 loss to Tampa Bay. Going to be tough for Florida to do it and I don’t see it happening. Going Boston tonight.
Colorado Avalanche(42-29-9) vs San Jose Sharks(44-26-10)
The Avalanche win and they are in. I posted about this early this morning so check it out if you want to know more Push for the playoffs: Kings, Ducks clinch. Four playoff spots remaining… The Avalanche have been gifted with the Blues dropping to Chicago Wednesday night but not so gifted that Semyon Varlamov and Eric Johnson are out for the year. They make this playoff push they face Nashville but really anything that Colorado did this year was a step in the right direction from last season. The Avalanche making this playoff run is unbelievable, and I wish it was at the Pepsi Center tonight as that place would be rocking. The Sharks although in a playoff spot will not just roll over and die, they are going to come out and give the Av’s their best punch. The Sharks come into this game 6-3-1 on a three-game losing streak, which could be good or bad, because the Sharks need to shake this dust off and get in the win column to get some momentum before the playoffs but they are obviously struggling so the Av’s need to capitalize. The Avalanche are 4-5-1 in their last ten, struggling in their own ways coming off a loss to the Kings and playing in a do or die game now, is going to show the Hart candidate Nathan MacKinnon’s colors tonight. I see it happening the Avalanche win tonight and clinch a spot. Go Av’s Go.
Other games on tonight…
Rangers vs Islanders: Probably the first time in awhile this game has meant absolutely nothing but draft pick ranking implications. Go, Islanders.
Canadiens vs Red Wings: Pick this game if you like playing with fire.
Flames vs Jets: Jets
Golden Knights vs Oilers: Oilers, I think, am I crazy?
Coyotes vs Canucks: Coyotes
Wild vs Kings: Kings