We’ve got 11 NHL games on tap for this Thursday Night, and like always at this time of year, a lot of playoff implications are coming with them. Here are the games you can’t miss.
Islanders at Penguins
The Isles and Pens each hold one of the Wild Card spots in the East, and tonight will be a great measuring stick for both teams with less than 20 games left on the schedule. If Pittsburgh can grab the win at home tonight, they’ll jump ahead of New York in the standings with three games in hand. If the Isles get it done, they’ll be three points ahead of Pittsburgh. Not only are these teams trying to get ahead of each other, but they’re also trying to stave off bubble teams like Florida, Buffalo, and Ottawa.
Golden Knights at Lightning
It may not be a divisional rivalry game, but this tilt between the Knights and Lightning still means a lot for both teams. For Vegas, it’s an opportunity to separate themselves from L.A. and Seattle at the top of the Pacific Division, if only very slightly. For Tampa Bay, tonight is all about getting their confidence back. The team beat Philadelphia for their first win in six games on Tuesday, but a win against a much better opponent like Vegas will go a long way in putting their late season struggles behind them. Not only that, but they’re still only five points behind Toronto for 2nd place in the Atlantic and home ice advantage in the first round.
Kings at Avalanche
Later, the Thursday night slate will feature Colorado and Los Angeles. Both teams are vying for the title in their divisions and need consistent wins to catch the squads above them in the standings. The Avs currently sit in third place and are five points behind Dallas with two games in hand, while L.A. is just a half-game behind the Golden Knights. With Vegas and Dallas both on the ice earlier in the night, an opportunity to make up some ground could be there for either one of these teams. Expect a tough, playoff-like performance from both sides tonight.
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