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Thursday Night Preview – March 16

With a month left in the regular season, teams are in the midst of their playoff pushes.

We’ve got another big slate of Thursday night NHL games tonight! Here are the ones with the most on the line:  

Penguins at Rangers

After an overtime finish between these teams last week, the Rangers will host the Penguins for two more consecutive games, starting with a Thursday Night tilt at Madison Square Garden. Last week’s bout was very physical, so I expect to see two extremely motivated teams come out for tonight’s game. The Penguins are still trying to catch the Rangers in third place in the division, but if New York can take two wins in these next two games, the space between them will be almost insurmountable. However, if the Pens can run the table on Thursday and Saturday, they may go into next week just four points behind New York with 13 games remaining. Long story short, there’s a lot riding on these games.  

Lightning at Devils

Just like the Rangers and Penguins, New Jersey and Tampa Bay are in the middle of a four-game stretch in which they’ll play each other three times. On Tuesday night, the Lightning went into New Jersey and dominated for a 4-1 win. Tonight, the Devils will have the opportunity to bounce right back at home and close the gap on Carolina once again. In the Atlantic Division, the Lightning are still battling for the 2nd seed with Toronto. As they’re two points back with two more games played, the team really can’t afford many nights without points. So, once again, this Thursday night matchup comes with a lot on the line. 

Stars at Oilers

Both of these teams are still right in the thick of things in the Western Conference playoff race. Although not in the same division, there’s a chance they’ll end up seeing each other in the first round if Edmonton becomes a wild card team and Dallas wins the Central. After a tough loss in Vancouver on Tuesday night, expect the Stars to come out strong in an effort to maintain their lead in the division. As for the Oilers, every game is a fight for positioning. There’s no doubt we’ll see a lot of Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl out there, and Dallas’ ability to defend them may be the difference in the game. 

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