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Thursday Night NHL Preview

We’ve got another full slate of Thursday Night NHL hockey tonight! Here are the games you can’t miss:

Rangers at Hurricanes

The Rangers and Hurricanes meet for their second consecutive game and last time this season tonight in Carolina. On Tuesday night, the Canes came away from New York with a 3-2 victory and now sit eight points ahead of the Rangers with two games in hand. With Carolina starting to pull away again, this matchup is less about the standings and more about a very possible playoff matchup preview. If the Canes end up winning the division and getting through their first round opponent, they’ll meet either New York or New Jersey in the second round. Just like the game on Tuesday, this one is must watch television.  

Maple Leafs at Panthers

The Leafs are in Florida tonight looking to play spoiler for a hungry Panthers team in desperate need of points while also maintaining their own lead in the standings over Tampa Bay. With Pittsburgh’s win last night, the Panthers are once again one point out of a playoff spot. Matthew Tkachuk and Alex Barkov have been doing their thing for the team, but they’ll need a solid defensive effort as well to beat the high-flying Maple Leafs. After a 6-3 loss to the Flyers last game, expect a fast and focused start for the Panthers tonight in front of their home crowd. 

Penguins at Stars

It may not be a divisional rivalry, but both of these teams have a ton to play for tonight. For the visiting Penguins, it’s their chance to draw even with the Islanders for the first wild card spot. There isn’t always a huge difference between the positions, but not having to go up against the Bruins in the first round should definitely serve as some added motivation this season. On the other side, the Stars are locked in an absolute battle with the Wild and Avalanche for the top three seeds in the Central division. With all three teams playing some great hockey right now, every misstep will go a long way in deciding how the chips fall heading into the postseason.  

Even though the Stars weren’t able to close this one out, the extra point may mean something by the end of the season

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