Let’s take a look at tonight’s nine games. As always, start times are Eastern Standard Time (ET).
Carolina @ NY Islanders
The Hurricanes are just one point out of the eighth spot with two less games played than their division rivals the Thrashers. The Islanders have been reasonably competitive lately, although the results have been just about the same (3-7-1 in their last 11 games).
Washington @ Atlanta
Things are looking shaky for both of these Southeast Division teams: Washington is trying to catch up to the Lightning while the Thrashers are in a tough spot to hold off the Hurricanes for a playoff spot. It’s a big one for both teams.
Florida @ Boston
The Bruins look to sweep their season series against the Panthers in this game while they also try to strengthen their limited lead in the Northeast Division tonight. Florida’s just trying to get back into the fold.
Edmonton @ Dallas
After going 7-0-1 in their last eight games, the Stars have allowed seven goals in each of their last two losses. Dallas has a chance to go into the All-Star Game on a good foot by beating the lowly Oilers.
New Jersey @ Detroit
The Devils are suddenly red-hot going into the All-Star break, but the Red Wings are going to make it tough for New Jersey to earn their fifth win a row.
Phoenix @ Colorado
This is a match between two solid but up-and-down teams who are currently in the West’s top eight but must scratch and claw to remain in that position.
Nashville @ Vancouver
Despite a Monday loss, the Predators are among the league’s hottest teams, with 10 wins in their last 13 games. They’ll need to play their best hockey as they visit the Canucks, the best team in the West.
St. Louis @ Calgary
The Flames are moving up the West standings while the Blues are quickly dropping out of the picture, but they’re both in about the same spot at this moment of time. It should be interesting to watch.
San Jose @ Los Angeles
This battle of California involves two teams that are currently out of the playoff picture, although both are looking better (the Sharks are on a four-game winning streak while the Kings won two in a row). Yet only one of the two can go into the break with a smile on their faces.
PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.
–Blackhawks goalie Scott Darling did something incredible for a person in need. (USA Today)
–Sens forward Kyle Turris can relate to what Jonathan Drouin is going through. (Tampa Bay Times)
—Matt Duchene built a special bond with a young Avs fan who’s been dealing with cancer. (Sportsnet)
—Milan Lucic wrote a letter to Boston for The Players’ Tribune. (The Players’ Tribune)
–Devils fans say “thank you” to former goaltender Martin Brodeur:
–Take a look at Nicklas Backstrom‘s first NHL All-Star game experience. (Monumental Network)
The New Jersey Devils on Monday unveiled ‘The Salute’ — a statue paying homage to one of the greatest goalies in NHL history, Martin Brodeur, who will have his No. 30 uniform retired Tuesday at Prudential Center.
“Looking at the pictures of my career and some of the events that meant a lot to me, I always saluted the fans,” Brodeur, a three-time Stanley Cup winner with the Devils, told the Fire and Ice blog.
“That picture, at different times, in different jerseys, actually, like with Team Canada, it all came to that same pose.”
More on the statue from the Devils:
The 900-pound bronze statue was created by renowned sculpture and artist Jon Krawczyk, who worked with Brodeur on the design. Krawczyk, a Boonton Township, N.J. native and lifelong Devils fan, who also created the hockey statue on Championship Plaza outside of Prudential Center, personally drove “The Salute” from his Malibu, Cali. studio to the arena late last week.
The Florida Panthers are fuming after their skilled 20-year-old forward Aleksander Barkov left Monday’s game against the Detroit Red Wings following a hit from Justin Abdelkader.
Abdelkader caught Barkov with a hard hit near the goal line as the Panthers player tried to move the puck up ice early in the second period.
The only call on the play was to Panthers’ blue liner Alex Petrovic for the retaliatory cross check on Abdelkader. Barkov left the game and didn’t return with an upper-body injury.
Members of the Panthers irate with the hit, and the fact there was no call.
“It was a cheap hit, I don’t know how the ref didn’t call it,” Nick Bjugstad told the Miami Herald. “It was frustrating, the whole bench felt that way. We’re not happy with it. It turned the game around. Barkov has tough shoes to fill. It looked pretty serious. We’ll see how the league handles it and I think they will. I just don’t know how it wasn’t handled on the ice.”
“You hate to lose your top player, but that’s part of the game,” added Panthers’ head coach Gerard Gallant.
“We’re disappointed to lose him. I thought it was a cheap shot but the referees didn’t see it that way and explained to me it was a clean check. It’s tough. It happens quick and we get to see the replay. I think it’ll be looked at. [Abdelkader] left his feet a little and got him in the jaw.”
The Panthers gave up three goals in the third period in a 3-0 loss to the Red Wings.
In a meeting between two clubs enjoying hot streaks and their own subsequent climbs through the standings, the Pittsburgh Penguins bested the Anaheim Ducks courtesy another dominant Sidney Crosby performance on Monday.
After that slow start, Crosby has put together a growing number of dominant performances of late.
The latest, a four-point night, helped the Penguins to a 6-2 final over the Ducks, stopping Anaheim’s winning streak at six games.
— He extended his scoring streak to a career best seven games, and did so with two beauty goals versus the Ducks.
— From Dec. 18 to Feb. 8, he’s appeared in 21 games. In that span, he’s recorded 34 points.
— Crosby is now into the top five among NHL players in points, with 53 in 51 games this season.
He wasn’t the only Pittsburgh player to have a big night. Keep in mind, Evgeni Malkin wasn’t even in the lineup due to a lower-body injury.
Ten different Penguins players recorded points. In addition to Crosby, Chris Kunitz and Kris Letang had multi-point efforts, and four players — Kunitz, Crosby, Olli Maatta and Patric Hornqvist — were plus-four.
The Penguins now move into third in the Metropolitan Division, while the New York Islanders slip into the first Wild Card spot in the East. Pittsburgh’s lead over the Islanders, however, is only one point.
The Islanders also have a game in hand.