Five questions heading into Saturday's busy NHL schedule.
Each day we ask five questions that need to be answered during the day and night of NHL action. Check here for Saturday's full NHL schedule:
1. Can the Devils slow down the red-hot Penguins?
The Pittsburgh Penguins responded to a 4-1 loss to the New York Islanders on Jan. 29 by dominating their next five opponents, with both Tomas Vokoun and Marc-Andre Fleury excelling in net. The Pens have outscored the opposition 23-8 during the five-game winning streak, including a dominant 5-1 win over New Jersey on Feb. 2. The Devils have responded just as strongly, going 3-0-0 since the loss to the Penguins and now face that same red hot team on a streak of their own.
2. Will the St. Louis Blues get back on track?
The Blues opened the season as Stanley Cup favorites, starting off 6-1-0 with a strong defensive effort that included two shutouts in the first four games. The Blues have since gone on a three-game losing streak that has seen all of the optimism fade, with St. Louis allowing 16 goals in the three losses while scoring just five goals in losses to Nashville and Detroit. The Blues take on the Anaheim Ducks, on the second game of a back-to-back after losing in Dallas on Friday night. Is this the game the Blues recover or will the slide continue?
3. Will struggling Capitals finally start to right the ship?
It's seemingly only gotten worse for the Washington Capitals as the season has worn on as no progress was made after a 3-2 win over Philadelphia on Feb. 3. The Caps have now lost three straight, including two to the Pittsburgh Penguins, allowing 14 goals in the three losses while still having no answers as to how to best unleash Alex Ovechkin. Mike Ribeiro has been the lone bright spot for Washington, leading the team with 13 points in 11 games, but it has been far from enough to help pull the struggling Caps out of this mess.
4. Are the Nashville Predators for real?
The Predators lost Ryan Suter over the summer and in some ways took a few steps backwards in the eyes of some, then started the season a disappointing 1-2-3 that included being shutout twice in four days. Since a 4-0 loss to the Phoenix Coyotes on Jan. 28, the Predators have won four straight while allowing just three goals in that span. The Predators have now scored nine goals in the past two games after struggling to get on the scoreboard for most of the season; can they continue the same offensive output on Saturday against a desperate Minnesota Wild team?
5. Will Lubomir Visnovsky have a positive impact for the New York Islanders?
The Visnovsky-Islanders saga hopefully draws to a close on Saturday night as the defenseman is expected to play for the team he was traded to on the opening day of the NHL Draft last summer. Visnovsky has fought to have the trade voided, appeared determined to stay in the KHL during the lockout and will now join his new team after taking time to deal with his son's illness. Visnovsky, despite the off-ice distractions, is a player that should provide some needed help to an Islanders team No. 14 in NHL on the power play and who have now lost three straight to fall to 4-5-1 on the season.