1 and 2. Can the New York Rangers get a victory in Montreal? Can they score a goal on Carey Price?
It's been bad times for the Broadway Blueshirts against Les Habitants. They haven't won a game in the province of Quebec since Mar. 17, 2009. Chris Drury got the deciding goal in a 4-3 shootout victory over Alexei Kovalev's Canadiens. They've scored one goal on the Canadiens in their last four contests against them combined. Apologies to Ranger fans to go further with this, but the last New York Ranger to score a goal on Carey Price at the Bell Centre? Mats Zuccarello on Jan. 15, 2011.
All things considered, Montreal is probably the last place the Rangers want to be, especially when they need a win tonight. The Islanders -- tied for eighth place in points, but lower on the standings due to games played -- will have already played by the time New York faces off tonight, so they'll know just how badly they need to break the Montreal/Carey Price hex.
3. Can the Islanders break the Penguins 14-game winning streak and move into playoff position?
The Islanders could really make some noise this weekend. They have a chance to go into Pittsburgh (who will not have Jarome Iginla on the ice yet), end the Penguins winning streak, and put themselves in the top eight in late March for the first time in a long time. If the Devils lose, it would set up a game in Newark on Monday that could vault the Islanders into seventh place. Ever since a 4-1 whitewashing of Pittsburgh at Consol Energy Center in January, the Penguins have beaten New York three straight. A lot is at stake for the road warrior Islanders today, however.
4. Can the Jets pull away from the Hurricanes in the Southeast?
The Carolina Hurricanes will enter and leave today's game in Manitoba with three games in hand on the first-place Jets. The question is whether they will exit six, seven, or eight points behind. A 60-minute victory, while not assuring anything, could have the Jets starting to finally make some distance between themselves and their mediocre division. Even with three games in hand, an eight point deficit is a lot to make up this late in the season. The Hurricanes could really use a victory in 60 minutes today.
5. Are the Sharks finally okay?
Probably not in a big picture sense, but how about the Sharks lately? Three straight wins, back in as comfortable a playoff spot as you can get in the Western Conference, a.k.a. three points away from ninth. They've beaten Anaheim twice and Detroit on their winning streak, so everything is cool in the Bay Area for the moment. How long until the bottom falls out again? The Sharks take on Phoenix tonight, a team that could really use two points. Will the Sharks continue their run?