The 2019/2020 National Hockey League continues on Friday with a lineup of crucial games for most of the teams in the league. We preview some of the top headliners on the day.
Florida Panthers VS. Anaheim Ducks
The Panthers welcome the Ducks to the BB & T Center on Friday in search of their third win in a row after beating the Philadelphia Flyers 5-2 in their last game thanks to Centre Aleksander Barkov and Winger Brett Connolly. The earlier win came in a 4-3 victory over the New York Rangers. Their recent run of wins have moved them to second in the Atlantic Division in the Eastern Conference with 27 points and a goal difference of 3. Their win-loss-overtime loss (W-L-OTL) record this season now stands at 11-5-5. Jonathan Huberdeau is their top scorer with 10 goals and also 28 points whilst Centre Aleksander Barkov also leads the leaderboard in terms of assists with 20. Brett Connolly who was also instrumental in the win over the Rangers also has 15 points so far this season. They will however be without Jayce Hawryluk and Mackenzie Weegar who are both out with injuries.
The Ducks however are 6th in the Pacific Division of the Western Conference with 22 points and a W-L-OTL record of 10-10-2 after 22 games this season. They will be looking to get back to winning ways after losing 5-2 to Washington Capitals in their last game. They have now conceded 64 goals this season and scored 59 giving them a goal difference of -5. They will need to improve massively against the Panthers.
Prediction: Panthers to win.
Cloumbus Blue Jackets VS. Detroid Red Wings
The Blue Jackets welcome the Red Wings to the Nationwide Arena in their 20th game of the season looking for a third win in a row after cruising past Montreal Canadiens 5-2 in their previous game. Pierre-Luc Dubois was the best performer on the day after netting twice in the game to seal an impressive win. The other win in their 2-game winning run came in a 3-2 OT win over St. Louis Bears. As a result of these results, they now occupy the 6th position in the Metropolitan Division of the Eastern Conference with 20 points and a -15 goal difference after conceding 65 goals in 20 games. Their W-L-OTL record now stands at 8-8-4 (8 wins, 8 losses and 4 Overtime losses). At this rate, a third straight win could surely be on the cards.
The Red Wings are in poor form at the moment and are winless in their last 3 games. Those defeats came at the Los Angeles Kings (3-2 OT), San Jose Sharks (4-3 SO) and Ottawa Senators (4-3). They are now bottom of the Atlantic Division standings in the Eastern Conference with 17 points and a 7-13-3 W-L-OTL record after 23 games this season. They also have a negative goal difference of -32 after conceding 86 and scoring 54. This game could perhaps be their most important game yet this season.
Prediction: Blue Jackets to win
Boston Bruins VS. Buffalo Sabres
This game sees the best team in the Atlantic Division take on the fourth best team in the Division as Boston Bruins welcome the Buffalo Sabres to the TD Garden.
The Bruins returned to winning ways last time out after claiming a thrashing 5-1 win over the New Jersey Devils on the road. They are top of the Atlantic Division in the Eastern Conference with 31 points, 21 goal difference and a 13-3-5 win-loss-overtime Loss (W-L-OTL) record. They are also the division’s second highest scorers with 75 goals in 21 games this season. Most of their success this season can be attributed to the performances of David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand. Pastrnak is the team’s top scorer with 19 goals with two of those goals coming in the 5-1 win over the Devils in their previous game. Brad Marchand is also the top assister in the team with 22 assists. He has also chipped in 13 goals and in the process has gained an overall point tally of 35 this season. Based on this form, a win would be inevitable.
The Sabres on the other hand are looking to get back to winning ways after their 4-1 defeat to the Minnesota Wild last weekend condemned them to a second loss in 2 consecutive games. They are now 4th in the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference with 23 points from 21 matches this season. Their W-L-OTL record now stands at 10-8-3. They also have a -3 goal difference after conceding 63 and scoring 60. They will however be without Forward Kyle Okposo for a while who has been ruled out indefinitely with a concussion.
Prediction: Bruins to win
Carolina Hurricanes VS. Philadelphia Flyers
The Hurricanes are 3rd in the Metropolitan Division with 27 points and a goal difference of 13 with a W-L-OTL record of 13-7-1 after 21 games. The 4-2 win over Chicago Blackhawks last time out was their 4th win in a row. Three of those wins came on the road with their last home game ending in an 8-2 win over Ottawa Senators. All eyes will be on the team’s top scorer Andrei Svechnikov who scored his tenth goal of the season in their win over the Blackhawks and Dougie Hamilton who also leads the team’s assist chart with 14 assists. The only injury concern for the Hurricanes is Erik Haula who is a long term absentee with a knee injury.
The Flyers are also 5th in the Metropolitan Division with 24 points and a -2 goal difference which needs improvement. They lost their 4th straight game when they lost 5-2 at Florida Panthers in their previous game. They had earlier in the season gone 4 games unbeaten prior to their recent slump. A win would be their only solution to their recent struggles.
Prediction: Hurricanes to win