Thursday, March 24, 2011

Tonight's Matchups

Huge night in the NHL on Thursday as 18 teams are in action with many games having playoff implications.

Out in the Easten Conference:

Penguins vs Flyers - inner-state rivals faceoff in the City of Brotherly Love as the Pens look to gain some ground on the conference-leading Flyers.

Montreal vs Boston - all eyes (especially of league officials) will be on this game as the two teams take to the ice for the first time against each other of Chara's hit on Max Pacioretty. The Montreal forward suffered a fractured vertabrae and a concussion on the play. More importantly, the Canadiens sit just three points behind the Bruins for the division lead though Boston has two games in hand.

Toronto @ Colorado - the Leafs look to keep their playoff chances alive in a critical matchup against the struggling Avalanche. Toronto sits 5 points out of the 8th playoff position with only eight games remaining; every game is a must win for them.

Let's take a look at the Western Conference cluster-f###:

Anaheim vs Nashville - If the Stars' loss to Anaheim in OT last night that kept them on the outside looking in wasn't bad enough, the last thing they want/need tonight is this game decided in OT or a shootout. The Predators play 6 of their remaining 8 games at home. The Ducks' oldest player, Teemu Salanne, scored the game-tying goal with just over 5 seconds left in regulation last night in Dallas, and their youngest player, Cam Fowler, scored the winner in overtime off a 2 on 1 feed from Bobby Ryan.

Columbus vs Phoenix - At 7-2-1 in their last ten, the Coyotes look to keep pace with the Sharks as they continue to press for the Pacific Division lead. The title could come down to their home-and-home against San Jose to close out the regular season but it starts tonight against Columbus.

San Jose @ Los Angeles - Speaking of the Sharks, they'll play their second game in as many nights against the Kings. If the playoffs started today, these two teams would be a first round matchup so expect both teams to bring their 'A' game. Since the Sharks are on the back-end of back to back games, Antii Niemi may get the night off. A win for the Kings will put them ahead of idle Chicago for the fifth seed.

I know the NCAA basketball tourney has some big games tonight, including my alma mater, but we're all about hockey here at Talkin' Puck!

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