The Penguins continue to win, the Canucks continue to disappoint, and the Hurricanes seem to have a head of steam now moving forward in the second half of the season. The NHL is full of surprises, and this season is no different. The Eastern Conference is much weaker than expected, but it makes for an exciting finish with a division full of teams that are so close. Tonight features four match-ups around the NHL, including five Eastern Conference teams. Anything is still possible, and two points are becoming more and more important every night.
- The Stars are coming off of two bad losses, one to the Montreal Canadiens where they gave up six goals, and one to the Detroit Red Wings where they gave up five. The Stars are dealing with a few injuries, but need to get their game back together to get back into a stacked Western Conference. The Islanders have battled inconsistency all season, especially at home. The Islanders are sitting in last place in the Metropolitan Division out of a playoff spot by 11 points.
- The Rangers are two points from jumping up in the standings and they’ll get the opportunity to do it tonight against the Blue Jackets. Columbus is turning to Sergei Bobrovsky in his return tonight in net. Bobrovsky has been out since December 3rd with a groin injury. The Jackets went 7-6-1 without the reigning Vezina Trophy winner, and will hope he settles in well tonight and can help them win a few games to get back into the thick of the Eastern Conference. Henrik Lundqvist will be starting in goal for the Rangers.
7:30 PM EST RDS, FSFL, TSN Florida Panthers vs. Montreal Canadiens
- Florida’s near the bottom of the Eastern Coference, but they always seem to put up a fight. The Panthers have beaten the Canadiens in both match-ups so far this season outscoring the Habs 6-2. The Canadiens are coming off of a loss to another team they struggle to beat in the Ottawa Senators. The Habs are 5 points ahead of the fourth place Wings, and will hope to extend it to 7 after tonight if they can find a way to beat the Panthers who are coming off a shootout win where they scored five against the Nashville Predators.
- The Calgary Flames are looking to avoid losing their fifth straight game tonight in Colorado. The Avalanche have been playing great hockey lately and have won three straight, two of the games being against playoff teams. Semyon Varlamov has been hot lately, and could get the start tonight. The Flames have been struggling, the powerplay has been bad, and the team can’t seem to get the puck in the back of the net. The Flames haven’t lit the lamp since December 23rd. The Avalance will be a tough team for them to turn that around against.