Feb 1, 2011, 4:00 PM EDT
The Avalanche-Blues game was postponed, but don’t worry: there are still 12 other games on the docket tonight. Here are previews of those contests, with start times according to Eastern Standard Time (ET) as always.
NY Islanders @ Atlanta
If the Thrashers want to maintain their tenuous grasp on a playoff spot, they need to win games like these. They had plenty of rest and host a weak team in the Islanders.
Florida @ Toronto
Two teams that haven’t been in the playoffs in ages – and don’t seem likely to get there again this year – meet in this one.
Chicago @ Columbus
The Blackhawks had plenty of representatives during the All-Star Game, yet they must face the disturbing possibility that they might miss the playoffs this season. They’d be in if the playoffs began today, but they need to improve their chances by winning games like these.
Boston @ Carolina
The Hurricanes knocked the Bruins out of the playoffs in 2009, so perhaps Boston can look back at that and try to get revenge by hurting Carolina’s chances to sneak in this season.
Ottawa @ New Jersey
A game between two teams that have seen much, much better days. One can argue that both would benefit from losing more often than not at this point.
Philadelphia @ Tampa Bay
The Lightning continue their 12-game homestand against the Flyers in a game between the two top seeds in the East. These two teams combined for a pretty wild game already this season, so this should be an entertaining contest.
Montreal @ Washington
The Capitals need to start winning against playoff caliber teams, as Alex Ovechkin isn’t producing against quality opponents this season. Washington could really benefit from a strong ending to this season, even if they aren’t able to catch up to Tampa Bay for the Southeast Division title.
Pittsburgh @ NY Rangers
Calgary @ Nashville
The Predators stumbled a bit last week after going on quite the hot streak, but a home game against the Flames gives them the opportunity to get back on track. Calgary has been scrappier lately, though, with four wins in a row.
Los Angeles @ Minnesota
Both teams are locked up in the Western Conference bubble at 55 points, with the Kings holding more wins while the Wild got to that point in one less game. This could be a pretty significant game for both teams.
Vancouver @ Dallas
The Canucks have absolutely dominated the Stars in their first two games, winning each one while outscoring Dallas 11-2. They should feel pretty much at home in Dallas, too, considering the snowy weather in Texas (and most of the U.S. really).
Phoenix @ San Jose
The Sharks have an identical record (25-19-6 for 56 points) as the Avalanche right now for the eight spot in the West, so perhaps San Jose can win while Colorado is idle? Phoenix has a solid little cushion for a spot themselves, but they need to maintain it by holding off their Pacific Division rivals.
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