Massive 11 game slate in the NHL this Wednesday, the 21st of March. We take a look at some of the key games of the day including the Fox Sports televised Devils at Sharks and give our betting tips below.
New Jersey Devils at San Jose Sharks (1.30pm AEDT Fox Sports 505 HD)
The Devils finish their road trip out West with a match against the Sharks in San Jose. Corey Schneider (17-14-6) will be in between the pipes for this crucial matchup, as they try and keep their position in the wild card race. After the Florida Panthers won their game on Tuesday Morning against Montreal, the Devils are now just one point clear of the Panthers for that second wild card spot. The Devils gave up an early lead to the Ducks last game and found it tough to fight back as they could only manage 17 shots on goal for the night. Prior to that off night they had won three straight on the road against the Predators, Golden Knights and the Kings. The game against San Jose will be their third game in four nights as they try and break their three game losing streak to the Sharks.
San Jose have won four straight and they have found some much needed offense, putting together 21 goals in those victories. Still eights points behind Vegas in the Pacific, they still need to produce the goods as the West is super close with teams pushing hard to close the gap in the wild card race. San Jose are 21-11-3 at home this season and haven't lost to the Devils on home ice since the 2016 season. Martin Jones shutout the Devils last time they met early in the season and will get his chance again as he is the go to goalie in this matchup.
Devils will have their work cut out but the desperation of playoff hockey will come into play, which will get the Devils over the line.
TIP: New Jersey Devils H2H - Price not yet available
Toronto Maple Leafs at Tampa Bay Lightning (10.30am AEDT)
This is the third time these teams have met in just over a month and their fourth matchup of the year between these two powerhouse Eastern Conference teams. Tampa Bay lead the series 2-1, can Toronto even the series up?
The Maple Leafs are heating up once against, now 6-2-2 in past ten and have won four straight coming into Tampa. Toronto are a offensive wrecking machine, now with 21 goals in their past four games they are now ranked third in the league for goals and fourth for power play goals. With the return of Auston Matthews looking imminent, the Maple Leafs are close to a full strength team coming into playoff hockey.
The Tampa Bay Lightning were the first team in the Eastern Conference to clinch a finals berth after claiming win number 49 for the season. The Lightning were shut out by the Bruins on Sunday before getting the win over Edmonton to claim a playoff spot. Nikita Kucherov scored twice and has now 93 points for the year after scoring goal number 36 for the season. Tampa are 26-8-2 this season at home and are ranked first in goals and second on the power play. The best chance for Toronto to score will be on the power play. Tampa have been mediocre on penalty kill this season ranked 26th in the league.
Toronto are on a roll at the moment and I can see this continuing in Tampa.
TIP: Toronto Maple Leafs H2H - Price not yet available
Columbus Blue Jackets at New York Rangers (10.00am AEDT)
How a month of consistency can change everything. The Columbus Blue Jackets have now won eight straight and are 12-3 in their past 15. Columbus are starting to show great depth, the introduction of Ian Cole has certainly helped the defence become stronger, and the offence which struggled throughout the year has found form. Columbus are now in the second wildcard position and are threatening teams above them in their division. Columbus will be playing back to back games after taking care of Boston to get the OT win on Tuesday morning. A win against the Rangers could push them past Philly to be third in the Metropolitan.
The Rangers will once again be missing out on playoff hockey after a disappointing year and are now seventh in the Metropolitan behind Carolina. New York have been ok in their past ten with a 5-2-3 record. There last two games were impressive with a 4-3 come from behind upset over Pittsburgh, then to claim a point against St Louis in the OT lose. Mika Zibanejad has been solid with four goals and three assists in the past two games. Henrik Lundqvist 25-23-6 will play in this one as he will try and take care of business at MSG. It seems like New York play well
TIP: New York Rangers H2H - Price not yet available
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