Dallas Stars - Tampa Bay Lightning
The Stars are in for a tough game. The Bolts are starting to turn things around, and are playing better again after a dry spell. While the Stars at their best can beat any team, I think it's easy to say the most likely outcome isn't one in their favor. Tampa Bay wins!
Buffalo Sabres - Boston Bruins
The Bruins are hot right now. The Sabres are fighting hard and bravely in these final games, and they get points here and there, but I don't think they will tonight. Boston wins!
Philadelphia Flyers - New Jersey Devils
Another meeting between these two. Third in a row. The Devils won the last one, and both games were close, but the Flyers are the less awful team at the moment, and they should have the better chance here. Philadelphia wins!
New York Islanders - New York Rangers
Time for a derby! If the Rangers win this one, then they are only three points behind the Islanders. Assuming the Bruins do what they are supposed to do agains the Sabres, the Islanders could be the team the Rangers are chasing after this game. Thus, we can expect some desperate hockey from them tonight. The Islanders will be looking to bounce back after a spell of games against the Caps, where they lost most of them, so they will probably be eager to win too. I think we will see a close, hard fought battle. One that could go either way. But the pressure is on the Islanders, and the Rangers have played really well lately, so I think they have a slightly better chance. New York Rangers wins!
Pittsburgh Penguins - Washington Capitals
What is this, if not a real classic? The Pens against the Caps has been a rivalry for over a decade. Now they both have aging cores. How many more chances will there be for Crosby and Ovechkin to give the cup a serious chase? At least one, because both teams have looked really good this season. As for tonight's game, I feel it could go either way. The Pens have won four of the six previous meetings, but their away record isn't nearly as good as their home record. The Caps come from a really strong series against the Islanders. On the other hand, it looks like both Ovechkin and Carlson will miss the game. Still, I feel they have a slight edge in this game. Washington wins!
Detroit Red Wings - Carolina Hurricanes
Detroit really look impressing right now. They've also got a decent record against Carolina. But the Hurricanes have played really well lately too, and they are a far better team. I wouldn't say the outcome is in any way certain, but I think the Canes have the better chance here. Carolina wins!
Vancouver Canucks - Toronto Maple Leafs
The Canucks won the last two games against the Leafs. Toronto played really well in those games though. It was goaltending that was the factor. The Leafs have continued to play well, and they looked really impressive in the following games, which they won. Meanwhile, The Nucks lost three out of four games to the Senators after that. I don't expect them to have much to put up here. Toronto wins!
St Louis Blues - Minnesota Wild
Back-to-back meeting between these two. The game last night was close, but the Blues won in the end. That was the first loss for the Wild in quite a while! I could see this one go either way, but I lean towards that the Wild are not the team that usually loses two in a row. Thus, Minnesota wins!
Florida Panthers - Chicago Blackhawks
The hope of playoffs is getting more and more bleak for the Blackhawks. Will they desperately fight to the bitter end, or have they given up? Either way, I think the Panthers are too good. Florida wins!
Calgary Flames - Edmonton Oilers
This is an interesting one! If they Flames could get a win here, they are suddenly just four points behind Montreal again. Their playing style tend to lead to low-scoring games, and thus, they can be quite hard to predict. I don't rule them out at all here. But the Oilers have looked amazing lately. The way they play right now, I cannot go against them in this game. Edmonton wins!
In summary, my winners are:
Tampa Bay Lightning
New York Rangers
Toronto Maple Leafs