1:00 PM EST TSN, NESN Winnipeg Jets vs. Boston Bruins
- Prime time television for the Bruins and Jets as the puck drops at 1:00 eastern time as the cross conference battle begins. Boston, who currently leads the Atlantic Division, have been hard to beat on their home ice this season posting a record of 17-4-2 at TD Garden. Tuukka Rask was pulled in his last game after a less than ordinary first period, but he is expected to take the crease tonight after taking the night off on Thursday. Winnipeg is coming off a loss to the Ottawa Senators and will look to bounce back against a tough Bruins team. Winnipeg has had a tough season so far, but we’re at the half way point now and anything is possible. Ondrej Pavelec, like Rask was pulled in his last outing, but he will get the start tonight in Boston and look to improve on his average at best numbers this season with the Jets.
3:00 PM EST CSCA, ALT San Jose Sharks vs. Colorado Avalanche
- Another great match-up is primed and ready to take place this afternoon between the Sharks and the Avalanche. The two teams started their seasons hot, but have cooled down since. The Sharks third best offense in the West will take on the Avalanche and Semyon Varlamov, who I expect to be in net for the Avalanche. Varlamov has gotten the Avs at least one point in his last nine starts, posting a record of 5-0-4. On the other side, the Sharks just put a beating on the Edmonton Oilers, and will look to use the confidence and momentum to grab another two points this afternoon.
7:00 PM EST MSG+2, MSG New Jersey Devils vs. Buffalo Sabres
- Neither the New Jersey Devils or the Buffalo Sabres are having the season they hoped they’d be having at the mid way point of the season, but the Devils find themselves only two points out of a playoff spot in the embarrassing Metropolitan Division. The two points up for grabs tonight could be huge for the Devils as they make their push to get into the race. Cory Schneider is expected to start for the Devils tonight, and Ryan Miller will likely get the nod from Ted Nolan. The Sabres offense has been lacking from the get-go and has yet to pick up. The Devils who also saw a lack of offense at the beginning of the season have found a way to win enough games to get into the race for the third spot in the division. The last time these two teams met? 1-0 win for the Devils in OT on November 30th.
7:00 PM EST CBC, RDS Ottawa Senators vs. Montreal Canadiens
- A rematch of the first round match-up that got quite ugly last season. The Senators won the series 4-1, and made the Canadiens lose their cool and lose their heads on their way to routing the Habs in the series. The Senators started the season with high hopes after such a promising season last year, but they’ve failed to meet expectations thus far, posting a record of 18-18-7, and finding themselves 3 points out of a playoff spot in the East. The Canadiens on the other hand, came in hoping to get their game back and make a push in the playoffs that would be worth while, instead of getting booted in the first round like they have for their last two appearances. The Canadiens sit four points behind the lead in the Atlantic, but the Sens desperately need two points tonight. The Senators won 4-1 back on November 7th against the Canadiens, could they possibly have Montreal’s number? Or can the Habs defend their home ice tonight? Craig Anderson will get the start for the Sens, while the Habs will counter with starting goalie, Carey Price.
7:00 PM EST FSCR, MSG+ Carolina Hurricanes vs. New York Islanders
- The Carolina Hurricanes will come into town to play the Metropolitan Division’s last place team in the New York Islanders. The Islanders have struggled, after a decent season last year, the fan base was salivating at the thought of another year of progression in the youth in New York, and the joys it would bring them on the ice, but this season has been an utter disappointment for Isles fans, and not even Thomas Vanek could fix that. The Islanders have been rolling a bit lately winning their last three, could this be something we can expect to see more of in the second half? The Hurricanes, who haven’t played all that well themselves, will be without starting goalie Cam Ward tonight, so it will be Justin Peters in net for the Canes when they take the ice. The Canes have won both games with the Islanders so far this season, and will look to get another two points tonight in an effort to knock Philly out of the third spot in the division.
- The Rangers are yet another team that has disappointed this season. The offense has lacked consistency, and their Vezina winning goalie Henrik Lundqvist (who will likely get the start) has had an incredibly mediocre season for the Rangers. On the other hand, the Maple Leafs have been playing decent hockey, and for a team that struggles in the defensive end, playing the Rangers might not be all that bad of a gig. The Leafs have won three straight games now, and they can thank their goaltending for that. Jonathan Bernier will likely get the nod for the sixth straight game after holding off the Detroit Red Wings in the Winter Classic on New Years. You can check out the game live by purchasing Rangers vs. Maple Leafs tickets from Vivid Seats.
7:00 PM EST FSTN, FSFL Nashville Predators vs. Florida Panthers
- The Preds are in last place in their division, and they’re currently 8 points out of a playoff spot. It might be another season before Nashville gets another taste of the playoffs, but they’ve still got half of a season to go this year, and it starts tonight against a struggling Florida Panthers team. Panthers captain Ed Jovanovski will make his season debut tonight, but the Predators are no worse for wear in this contest. The Predators are still without Pekka Rinne as the season drags on, but they’ll look to ease the pain and stop the bleeding with a win tonight in Sunrise.
8:00 PM EST FSD, FSSW Detroit Red Wings vs. Dallas Stars
- The Red Wings are coming off of a painful shootout loss to Toronto in the Winter Classic, but the team played well and is still showing signs of promise. The overtime woes continue, but tonight they head to Dallas to take on the Stars. Jim Nill‘s former employer in Detroit fell to his Stars on November 7th in overtime, and will look to gain another two points tonight. The Wings have played well on the road this season and will likely turn back to Jimmy Howard in net after a strong performance in the Winter Classic. The Stars will look to continue to ride Kari Lehtonen who has been great for them all season long.
8:00 PM EST FSOH, FSMW Columbus Blue Jacketss vs. St. Louis Blues
- The Blue Jackets are down but not out in the race for the final spot in the Metropolitan Division, and they’ll look to steal two points in this cross conference battle tonight with the soaring St. Louis Blues. The Blues are one of only two teams to not allow 100 goals yet on the season, will look to stop and source of offense from a Blue Jackets team that is missing arguably their most skilled forward in Marian Gaborik. The Jackets could however, have Vezina winning goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky back tonight. The Blues are riding a four game winning streak and won’t go down easy, but if the Jackets can get some offense and Bobrovsky gets the go for the start, maybe they can bring home two points and start climbing their way out of a shallow grave in the Metropolitan.
8:00 PM EST CSP, FSAZ+ Philadelphia Flyers vs. Phoenix Coyotes
- Phoenix is hanging in their this season, and the Flyers have came back from an awful start to their season, and now hold the final playoff spot in the Metropolitan Division. The Coyotes have Shane Doan back, but Oliver Ekman-Larsson may be out of tonight’s line-up. Ekman-Larsson may be out with an upper body injury after taking a hit from Derek Mackenzie, who was suspended for three game for the hit. Steve Mason will likely take the pipes for the Flyers, and Mike Smith will be back in net for the Coyotes who will be looking to put Philly back on the losing path.
8:00 PM EST CSMA, FSNO Washington Capitals vs. Minnesota Wild
- The Washington Capitals are streaky, we know this, but in the midst of another three game losing streak the Capitals will head to Minnesota to take on Niklas Backstrom and the Wild. Josh Harding is out feeling ill, so Backstrom will take the net again tonight. The Capitals, still unsure of what they have going on in net this season, will likely (or at least should) turn back to Braden Holtby after Phillip Grubauer took over the net for the last five games. He played well, but after three consecutive losses, something’s got to change for the Caps. Alex Ovechkin was finally able to get a point in the Caps last game, and will look to build on that and get back to scoring on a more regular basis again after going four games without a point.
10:00 PM EST Vancouver Canucks vs. Los Angeles Kings
- The night will end in spectacular fashion as the Canucks come to L.A. to take on the Kings. Jonathan Quick could get the start tonight for the Kings, his first since November 12th. With Quick back in the line up the Kings could quickly jump in the standings. After leaning on back up Ben Scrivens and AHLer, Martin Jones for so long, the Kings will possibly have an opportunity to rely on an All-Star, Conn Smythe winning, silver medalist goalie in Jonathan Quick. The Kings will be hoping to end a five game losing streak tonight on home ice. On the other side of the ice, the Vancouver Canucks have kept pace in the West, but also have found themselves on the losing side lately, dropping their last two. The Canucks look like they’ll have Roberto Luongo back tonight as well as they look to end their losing streak and possibly jump the Kings in the standings in the Pacific Division. It’s going to be a dandy tonight so get some coffee and stay up late and watch what should be a great finish to a great day of hockey.
Tags: Alex Ovechkin Boston Bruins Buffalo Sabres Carolina Hurricanes Colorado Avalanche Columbus Blue Jackets Dallas Stars Detroit Red Wings January 4th Jonathan Quick Los Angeles Kings Minnesota Wild Montreal Canadiens New York Islanders New York Rangers NHL Philadelphia Flyers Phoenix Coyotes San Jose Sharks Schedule St.Louis Blues Toronto Maple Leafs Tuukka Rask Vancouver Canucks Washington Capitals Winnipeg Jets