Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 14:05 PM
In the Crease - Week 19
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The New York Rangers have struggled mightily this season, and they have now tumbled into last place in the Metropolitan Division. While the situation might seem to be grave, they're just three points out of a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, and 12 points behind the Washington Capitals for first place in the Metro. It's a tail of two teams as far as the Blueshirts are concerned, as New York is 17-9-3 at home and 8-14-2 on the road. New York has posted a 1-6 mark over the past seven outings, but they're 6-1 in their past seven at home against teams with a winning road record. They're 15-6 over the past 21 games overall. They could get well against the visiting Boston Bruins on Wednesday, as the B's are 7-20 in their past 27 trips to Madison Square Garden while going 0-7 in the past seven against the Rangers.
Making Beautiful Music
The Nashville Predators have posted a 9-1-1 record over the past 11 games, and they're mashing opponents lately. Over the past three outings they have lit the lamp five times in each game, and they have three or more goals in seven of the past eight. They're averaging 3.6 goals per game over the past 11 outings, while allowing just 1.6 goals per game over the past five outings. Nashville has vaulted to second place in the Central Division, just two points behind the Winnipeg Jets with three games in hand. A big part of Nashville's success is the fact they're 18-5-1-2 at home, and a solid 14-7-2-2 on the road this season while posting an impressive plus-30 goal differential.
Wednesday, February 7
On Monday, the Edmonton Oilers finally did what everyone thought they would be doing regularly -- score goals frequently and mash opponents. The Oilers worked over the visiting Tampa Bay Lightning by a 6-2 while Connor McDavid notched his first-career four-goal game, sending Tampa home unhappy at the end of their eight-game road trip. The Oilers have won five of their past seven, as they feverishly try to get back into the playoff chase. They're also 37-17 in their past 54 against Pacific Division foes. The Kings could be the perfect opponent to keep the Oil on track. L.A. is just 3-7 in the past 10 against Western Conference foes, 2-5 in their past seven at home and 1-4 in their past five against teams with a losing overall record.
Thursday, February 8
The Sabres have been careening out of control lately, and even when they play well they can't get it right. Buffalo suffered a 4-3 setback in overtime on Tuesday night, blowing a 2-1 lead with 2:42 to go in the second period. The Sabres did fight back for a game-tying goal with :15 left in regulation with an extra attacker, but Adam Henrique sunk them with an overtime winner. Buffalo will be looking for revenge after suffering a 3-2 overtime setback in Brooklyn on Dec. 27. The Islanders also doubled up the Sabres by a 6-3 count on Oct. 7 in the second game of the regular season. The Sabres enter with an 'under' in five of the past seven, and they're averaging just 1.5 goals per games over the past four outings.
The Blackhawks host the Stars, as they look to finally piece something together and get out of last place in the Central Division. Dallas has been red hot, entering the week with three stragiht wins while outscoring the opponent 12-3. Over the past 10 outings, the Stars are 7-2-1 while averaging 3.4 goals per game and allowing just 1.8 goals per outing. The Blackhawks have struggled this season, as postseason success and offseason defections for more money have finally taken a toll. Chicago has replaced the losses with some young talent, but they're still a work in progress. The Stars have owned the series this season, winning all three outings by a combined score of 11-5. They have a win in regulation, a win in a shootout and a win in overtime in the only meeting in Chicago back on Nov. 30.
Friday, February 9
The Hurricanes are on the outside of the playoffs looking in, but they're still very much in the mix. Carolina will host Vancouver, a team they need to take care of for two points if they hope to return to the playoffs for the first time since the 2008-09 season. If they're going to get into the postseason, they need to generate some offense. They have scored three total goals over their past three games, all losses (0-2-1). In fact, the Hurricanes have scored two or fewer goals in five straight, and seven of the past eight outings. The 'under' has hit in five in a row for Carolina heading into Wednesday.
The first-place Jets host the Blues for the first meeting since Dec. 17. The Blues won 2-0 in the front end of the home-and-home on Dec. 16, while the Jets won at MTS Centre on the 17th by a 4-0 score. All-Star Connor Hellebuyck has recorded five shutouts this season, and one of them came against the Blues in that earlier game in Winnipeg. St. Louis was humbled at home by a 6-2 score on Tuesday. However, they have been hot on the road lately, winning three of the past four, outscoring the opposition 8-5.
Saturday, February 10
The Maple Leafs have had a lot of ebb and flow this season. Lately, they have been red hot, winning five of their past five games heading into the new week. A resurgence on offense has served them well, as they're averaging 4.0 goals per game over the past six contests. Despite the big offense, the 'under' is still 5-1 over their past six, as they have allowed just 1.8 goals per outing. The Senators have gotten the best of the Maple Leafs in two of three outings this season, with Toronto winning the most recent meeting on Jan. 20, 4-3. The Sens won 4-3 in Toronto on Jan. 10, and 6-3 in Canada's capital city on Oct. 21.
The Sharks play host to the Oilers on Saturday night in an important game for both sides. Edmonton, as mentioned earlier, is just trying to get into the playoff mix. San Jose is hoping to hang onto what it's got. In the first and only meeting of the season so far, the Oilers knocked around Martin Jones and the Sharks by a 5-3 score in Edmonton on Dec. 18. This is the first of three meetings between the teams between now and March 14. The Sharks have totaled 17 goals on home ice over their past four outings, and they're 8-1-2 over their past 11 at SAP Center.