5 NHL Questions: Eastern Conference race on display Sunday

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

A daily feature which asks the five biggest questions about today's NHL action. Will they be answered? (That doesn't count as one of the five questions.)

1. How does Sunday's games impact the Wild Card race in the East?

Three of the four teams playing on Sunday are in a battle for the two Wild Card spots in the Eastern Conference. Montreal has a bit of separation over the teams chasing the final playoff seed, but a loss against Winnipeg could close the gap. Meanwhile, the winner of Detroit's game against Washington can leapfrog Philadelphia for the final Wild Card spot.

2. Can the Capitals finally pull themselves together?

Washington snapped a seven-game losing streak last Saturday, only to drop two of its next three last week. The playoff race in the East is up for grabs, but a continued poor run of form could drop Washington out of the conversation entirely. Can the Capitals rebound against Detroit?

3. Can Mark Scheifele continue collecting points?

After a few years of slow development, the Jets' top prospect is finally rounding into form this year. He's enjoying his best stretch of the season right now with 12 points in his last 12 games. Can he keep it up?

4. Speaking of hot streaks, can Detroit slow down Alex Ovechkin?

Alex Ovechkin looks at Scheifele's streak and laughs. Ovi has eight points in his last four games, a torrid stretch even by his standards. Detroit is beat up on the blueline, so expect the Red Wings to lean heavily on Niklas Kronwall and Danny DeKeyser to stop Ovechkin Sunday.

5. Will a line change continue paying dividends for Montreal?

The struggling Canadiens decided to place Danny Briere on a line with Tomas Plekanec and Brian Gionta last week, and Briere has scored goals in consecutive games. If that line plays well on Sunday, the Habs have a good chance at winning.

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