Tonight’s games: They can’t all be gems
Not to be ungrateful, NHL, because you are giving fans 8 games tonight but ... wow. There isn’t one game that jumps out at me as a barn burner. Really, I hate to say it, but the barn is frozen. Anyway, let’s take a look at tonight’s weak sauce slate of games.
Usually, I’ll choose the best game(s) of the night but ... yuck. Let’s just go in order.
Toronto Maple Leafs (19-32-12, 50 pts) at Ottawa Senators (36-25-4, 76 pts) 7:00 PM ET
So Toronto is now the worst team in the Eastern Conference since the Hurricanes decided to start playing hockey again for whatever reason. Really, with Edmonton winning a game for once, things are looking really good for the draft lottery hopes of the ... oh, right the Bruins have those picks. Oops.
New York Rangers (29-27-8, 66 pts) at Washington Capitals (43-13-8, 94 pts) 7:00 PM ET
I’m guessing it would be better for Marian Gaborik just to sit this one out; the Caps are an absolutely ridiculous 24-3-3 at home this season.
Carolina Hurricanes (26-30-7, 59 pts) at Florida Panthers (25-28-10, 60 pts) 7:00 PM ET
Look at you, Carolina! Now you can be at the Panthers’ level of being just bad enough to barely miss the playoffs.
Rest of the games after the jump
Atlanta Thrashers (28-24-10, 66 pts) at Tampa Bay Lightning (26-26-11, 63 pts) 7:30 PM ET
The Thrashers are, at this moment, the 8th seed in the East. I imagine the Lightning aren’t terribly thrilled with their 5 game losing streak right now, but at least they don’t have to pretend to watch Saw III anymore.
Anaheim Ducks (30-26-7, 67 pts) at Phoenix Coyotes (38-22-5, 81 pts) 8:00 PM ET
If the Coyotes want to make their feel-good story last more than one round of the playoffs, they’re going to need to hold onto the fourth seed. Twenty-three out of the team’s 38 wins have come in what you’d think would be a slightly depressing home arena.
St. Louis Blues (30-25-9, 69 pts) at Colorado Avalanche (36-22-6, 78 pts) 9:00 PM ET
The Blues are just strange because they’re much better on the road (18 wins) than at home (12 wins, more losses). After Craig “Ice Girls fan” Anderson was left off of Team USA, I think that the goofy but talented goalie deserves a playoff run as a consolation prize.
Montreal Canadiens (30-29-6, 66 pts) at Los Angeles Kings (38-21-4, 80 pts) 10:00 PM ET
Is it reasonable to say that the Pacific division is still the toughest division in the NHL? The Sharks are obviously dangerous, the Kings and Coyotes look like legit playoff teams and even though the Ducks/Stars seem a bit hapless they have the talent to upset anyone. The Kings could probably contend for a division title if they were in the Northwest.
Columbus Blue Jackets (25-28-11, 61 pts) at San Jose Sharks (41-14-9, 91 pts) 10:30 PM ET
Obviously, the playoff seeding will probably change a lot in the next 18 or so games, but if I were San Jose (or any team) I’d much rather take my chances against the Nashville Predators than the Detroit Red Wings. As for Columbus, how’s that reactionary coach firing treating you?