A classic rivalry with contemporary story lines is appropriately stealing most of the headlines on a moderately busy Thursday in the NHL, but there are several other games on tap for this evening with greater implications for the teams involved.
Pittsburgh vs. Philadelphia
There’s 5-points in separating these Atlantic Division rivals in the standings, and they will face each other once more before the season ends. The Flyers haven’t played their best hockey in recent weeks and any hope that the Penguins have of catching them in the standings starts by pulling off a victory in Philadelphia tonight.
Both the Flyers and Penguins have ten games remaining including tonight’s contest.
Anaheim vs. Nashville
The ultra tight playoff race in the Western Conference could very well go down to the last day of the season, which is why tonight’s meeting between Anaheim (8th place, 87-points) and Nashville (7th place, 88-points) presents such a critical two points for the victor.
A single point separates 5th place from 8th in the West and both of the Ducks and Predators are riding four game win streaks, expect a tight battle in this one.
San Jose vs. Los Angeles
The Sharks are maintaining a slim lead on the Pacific Division title, but face another playoff spot battling divisional opponent in the Kings this evening. A win for Los Angeles would vault them into sole possession of 5th place in the Western Conference, but a regulation loss could potentially drop them to 8th.
San Jose has heated up at the right time, knocking off four straight wins.
Toronto vs. Colorado
Not much stake in this one for the lowly Avalanche, but the Maple Leafs are clinging onto playoffs hopes while sitting 5-points out in the Eastern Conference. To call this a must-win for Toronto would be cliche as all hell… but really, IT IS A MUST-WIN. A loss to the Avalanche will likely send the Leafs to the coffin factory for a fitting.