Let’s take a look at tonight’s six game slate of hockey games, shall we? All times Eastern (ET).
Columbus @ Atlanta
This is a matchup of two teams that are hanging in there, although the Blue Jackets are especially hot right now. Columbus won six of their last eight games, most recently shutting out a strong Montreal Canadiens team. Meanwhile, after losing three in a row, the Thrashers have won three of their last four games. Don’t be surprised to see Ondrej Pavelec play considering the fact that Chris Mason needed to make a daunting 52 saves last night.
NY Rangers @ Philadelphia
Despite having some rocky starts, the Flyers and Rangers are currently at the top of the Atlantic Division right now. New York might be short on talent in some areas, but they’ve been scrappy lately. Just look at their 4-1 road record for evidence that this team plays tough.
NY Islanders @ Ottawa
After shocking many in the hockey world, the Islanders are plummeting back to Earth with a four-game losing streak. They will have a decent shot at ending that streak against the so-so Senators, although Ottawa is playing solid hockey right now (winning four of their last six).
San Jose @ St. Louis
The Blues might be the quietest contender in the NHL, mainly because they’ve only played nine games so far (6-1-2) yet are currently on a four-game winning streak. They’re especially strong at home, too, as they are taking advantage of a lot of early games in their own friendly confines (5-0 home record so far). They’ll face a struggling Sharks team that could be angry after being blanked by the Minnesota Wild this week.
Vancouver @ Colorado
The top of the Northwest Division is the way it often is: crowded. The Avalanche and Canucks are currently jostling for position for the No. 1 spot, but the Wild and Flames are right behind them. That indicates that every win counts, so this is a pretty important early game between the two teams. One thing on Colorado’s side is Vancouver’s weak road record, as the Canucks just earned their first “W” on the road against the Devils (1-3-1 away record overall).
Tampa Bay @ Los Angeles
It’s a clash of two young, up-and-coming teams that might already be contenders in the NHL. The Kings own a narrow lead over the Stars at the top of the Pacific while the Lightning are a stride ahead of the Capitals in the Southeast. To make things even more interesting, it sounds like Drew Doughty might be ready to return from his concussion problems. This should be a fun one.