There may only be three games tonight, but every single one of them is intriguing. If you’re a hockey fan, you should find at least something to like even if your team isn’t suiting up in one of these matches. Let’s get right to them.
Pittsburgh Penguins (42-24-6, 90 pts) at Detroit Red Wings (35-23-13, 83 pts) 7:00 pm ET
Isn’t it always a big game when these two teams play? The added bonus is that both are peaking heading into the playoffs, with the Red Wings on fire in particular. Detroit has very little breathing room ahead of Calgary for the eighth spot while Pittsburgh is holding a slim lead over New Jersey for the Atlantic division title and Buffalo for the second seed. This should be as combative as a regular season inter-conference game can get.
Ottawa Senators (37-30-5, 79 pts) at Montreal Canadiens (36-29-7, 79 pts) 7:30 pm ET
Before their shootout loss to the Maple Leafs, the Canadiens were quietly one of the hottest teams in the NHL. Meanwhile, Ottawa is one of the coldest squads in the league, currently on a five game losing streak. This game has serious playoff seeding impact because the winner will be seated in fifth place in the East. For a day, at least.
Colorado Avalanche (40-25-6, 86 pts) at Los Angeles Kings (41-24-5, 87 pts) 10:30 pm ET
Both of these young, up and coming teams are struggling a little bit right now. They both better be careful, too, because they aren’t guaranteed to make the playoffs. At the same time, each team can climb nicely up the playoff ladder because fifth-place Nashville only has nine games remaining (while LA has 12 and Colorado has 11)
It’s been getting that spotlight since the Columbus Blue Jackets faced off against the Pittsburgh Penguins in a brisk playoff series, though it wouldn’t be surprising if the bad blood stemmed to Dubinsky’s days with New York.
To some, Dubinsky’s cross-check on Crosby will resonate far more than the end result of this game:
The bottom line is that he’ll get the last laugh, at least for now. (In-game, that moment merely drew a minor penalty.)
That’s because Dubinsky set up the overtime game-winner, and the cherry on the top of that spite sundae came with Crosby being on the ice when it happened:
They’re not just rubbing the Penguins the wrong way.
Cheap shot on a superstar, a little uncalled goalie interference and presto – Blue Jackets win!
The Buffalo Sabres probably deserved better during at least some chunks of their six-game skid, yet Jack Eichel swooped in on Friday to remind fans that there’s a light shining at the end of the tunnel.
You can watch his goal from tonight’s eventual 4-1 win against the Carolina Hurricanes in the video above.
That’s not necessarily the absolute height of his on-ice magic, yet it clearly gave his team a lift:
Coach Bylsma: Feel like after Jack's goal, the game changed for us. #gamechanger