A daily feature which asks the five hardest-hitting questions imaginable about this day in the NHL. Will our quandaries be answered? (That doesn't count as one of the five questions.)
1. Can a 3-game series with Phoenix slow down the Anaheim Ducks?
There's an interesting narrative going on right now in some part of the hockey world that the Anaheim Ducks are headed to a regression, that this hot start is more luck and hot goaltending than an indication of just how good the team is. Anaheim begins a three-game series with the Coyotes on Saturday and if there is any team that could start to expose the Ducks it's Dave Tippett's squad.
Ben Bishop is expected to be back in net for the Sens as Anderson continues to rehab a sprained ankle, after Robin Lehner picked up the overtime loss on Thursday despite stopping 44-of-46 shots against Boston. Bishop has been solid, however, allowing just five goals in three wins since Anderson's injury. Can the surprising Senators continue to roll without their top goalie?
3. How will Capitals recover after a disappointing performance in Philly?
The Washington Capitals have, no doubt, become the biggest disappointment of this shortened season. On Wednesday night captain Alex Ovechkin was handed some harsh criticism by NBC's Mike Milbury who, while incredibly biased, rightfully called out a lackluster performance by the best player on the Caps. After two full days off the Capitals now travel to Winnipeg and hope their two wins before the fiasco in Philly is more indicative of where the team is headed.
4. Will the San Jose Sharks ever pull out of this slump?
The Sharks have now gone 2-6-4 since the start of February, although San Jose has earned points in two straight games (1-0-1). On Saturday the Sharks welcome the Nashville Predators in the final game before a very rough stretch of hockey begins; just two of the next 11 games for the Sharks will be played at home. If the Sharks have any hope of pulling out of this tailspin, the time to start building some momentum is tonight.
5. Have the Buffalo Sabres found their groove?
The Sabres had a big week, breaking a four-game losing streak with wins over Tampa Bay and Florida. Now the Sabres welcome the Devils with a chance to show that perhaps all the Sabres needed was a coaching change, a different atmosphere in the locker room and behind the bench. Or perhaps the two wins were a fluke. The Devils are tough, but this is a good test for Ron Rolston's team.