NHL schedule: Five questions for Thursday

John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

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. Will the New Jersey Devils end their ten-game winless streak?

Injuries have drastically altered the course of 2013 for the Devils. With Ilya Kovalchuk still out of the lineup, the team will look to end their extended slide against the Philadelphia Flyers at Wells Fargo Center on Thursday night.

2. Will the Montreal Canadiens goaltender woes settle?

Over the last three games, the goalie who started for the Canadiens ended the game on the bench. Will that be the case against the Tampa Bay Lightning?

3. Who will be in control of the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference at night's end?

The New York Rangers and Winnipeg Jets are both in action on Thursday. Currently tied at 46 points apiece, the Rangers hold the tie-breaker as they have played one fewer game. Winnipeg has won four-straight and can overtake the eighth seed if New York fails to register as many or more points than the Jets on Thursday night.

4. Will the Columbus Blue Jackets extend their five-game winning streak?

There was a time earlier this season when the Blue Jackets were hoping to collect their first three-game winning streak of the season. Amazing how time flies. Currently in possession of the eighth seed in the West, the Blue Jackets can build upon that lead against the Los Angeles Kings and might be able to move up the standings.

5. Will the Western Conference standings experience a shake-up?

The Kings, Minnesota Wild, St. Louis Blues and San Jose Sharks are in action on Thursday. Given that the teams are separated by a few points, certain scenarios could result in drastic drops in the seedings. Los Angeles could fall to the sixth seed, Minnesota and San Jose could jump to the fourth seed, St. Louis could take over the sixth seed and Columbus might be able to take over the seventh seed.

More in the NHL:

Bruins fans sing emotional national anthem

Six (!) outdoor games in 2014

Jimmy Howard’s case for the Vezina

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