Tonight’s schedule is loaded with 10 games, so I’ll spare you a breathless introduction.
Ottawa Senators (37-25-5, 79 pts) at Calgary Flames (33-24-9, 75 pts) 9:30 PM ET
Even though most of their players were able to rest, the Senators probably would’ve loved to keep their pre-Olympics streak going. They’ve been 1-2-1 since everyone came back from Vancouver. Calgary has an opportunity to strengthen their flimsy 8th place lead as every (relevant) team behind them is on at least a 1 game losing streak.
Boston Bruins (29-24-12, 70 pts) at Philadelphia Flyers (35-26-4, 74 pts) 7:00 PM ET
You’d have to either be heartless, a Habs fan or a heartless Habs fan to not sympathize with the Bruins after their Murphy’s law season. It’s pretty easy to root against the Flyers, though, because they’re delightfully devoted to evil.
Jump for the other 8 games
Pittsburgh Penguins (40-22-4, 84 pts) at Carolina Hurricanes (27-31-8, 62 pts) 7:00 PM ET
Matt Cooke was once called the “Cookie Monster.” Now the second part of that nickname will suffice.
Edmonton Oilers (21-39-6, 48 pts) at Montreal Canadiens (33-29-6, 72 pts) 7:00 PM ET
Since it’s so obvious that the Oilers are lottery draft fodder, what is the over/under on “Spoilers” pun headlines?
St. Louis Blues (30-26-9, 69 pts) at New York Islanders (26-32-8, 60 pts) 7:00 PM ET
This game is unremarkable, but I’ll provide two nice words per team: Erik Johnson and John Tavares.
Tampa Bay Lightning (27-27-11, 65 pts) at Toronto Maple Leafs (21-33-12, 54 pts) 7:00 PM ET
Steven Stamkos’ point scoring streak is now at 17 games. Will we see Stamkos in the playoffs this year?
Atlanta Thrashers (28-27-10, 66 pts) at Columbus Blue Jackets (26-30-11, 63 pts) 7:00 PM ET
Rather than rebuilding their franchise with what they don’t have (courage, competence) maybe the Blue Jackets should just make an “Ohio: we’re … pretty close to the East!” presentation. They could probably make the playoffs in Atlanta’s Conference.
Minnesota Wild (31-28-6, 68 pts) at Detroit Red Wings (31-23-12, 74 pts) 7:30 PM ET
You have to really hate the Red Wings to hope they miss the playoffs completely. Conversely, you really have to love the Wild (or Minnesotan accents) to want them to make the playoffs at all.
Florida Panthers (27-28-10, 64 pts) at Colorado Avalanche (37-23-6, 80 pts) 9:00 PM ET
It’s weird to say, but Panthers fans would kill to step into a time machine and go back to that Stanley Cup Finals series where they didn’t have a prayer against the Sakic-Forsberg-Roy Avs.
Nashville Predators (36-25-5, 77 pts) at San Jose Sharks (42-14-9, 93 pts) 10:30 PM ET
On paper this would seem like a big game, but the Sharks are far ahead in the Pacific and the Predators are far behind in the Central. Still, this is the best game that wasn’t a part of “today’s best.”