NHL 18-19/02/2022: Carolina Hurricanes, Florida Panthers, and Toronto Maple Leafs all on the ice
Before we know it, the Stanley Cup playoffs will be upon us. In the meantime, the NHL has three more big games to get you excited this weekend. We will preview the Carolina Hurricanes v Nashville Predators, Minnesota Wild v Florida Panthers, and the Toronto Maple Leafs v St Louis Blues. Let’s guide you through these mouthwatering fixtures.
Carolina Hurricanes come unstuck against Minnesota Wild
On the face of it, the Hurricanes have had a remarkable season to date. Sitting second in the Metropolitan Division, and with a 32-11-3 record to boot, things have gone well for them. However, after mauling the Boston Bruins 6-0 earlier this month, they slipped to a 3-2 defeat against the Minnesota Wild last weekend.
To a certain extent, they have performed worse on the road, and there will be cause for concern. However, with the Hurricanes back on home ice this weekend, things could change. Anyway, a team doesn’t usually become bad overnight!
Nashville Predators desperate to bounce back
While the Hurricanes won’t be underestimating the Predators, it is fair to say that the Predators will have been left reeling. They were rather ordinary when they slumped to a 4-1 defeat at the hands of the Washington Capitals earlier this week. However, the Predators are fourth in the Central Division, and still look good for a playoff spot.
Minnesota Wild hit SEVEN against Detroit Red Wings in thriller
We are used to seeing high-scoring games in the NHL, but the fans were in for a treat earlier this week. The Wild enjoyed a 7-4 win over the Red Wings, and Matt Boldy took the plaudits with a hat-trick, as he weighed in with six points. The Wild are second in the Central Division, and they are still trying to reel in Colorado Avalanche.
Florida Panthers keep the heat on Tampa Bay Lightning
Despite a 5-2 defeat against New York Rangers earlier this week, the Panthers are determined to keep the pressure on the reigning NHL champions – Tampa Bay Lightning. As things stand, the Panthers are just a point behind the Lightning with a 32-10-5 record, and they can’t afford to slip up against the Wild.
Toronto Maple Leafs chasing unique record
The Maple Leafs have been a joy to watch at times this season. Well, at least when it comes to power play. At the moment, their powerplay percentage is at 31.5%, and they are on course to emulate the Montreal Canadiens side of the 1977/78 season when they had the best-ever power play of 31.9%.
Indeed, the likes of Morgan Rielly have ensured that the Leafs have got the most out of their power plays this season. The Maple Leafs’ fearsome four have notched up 41 power play goals, and their expected goals’ number is just shy of the 35 mark, so clearly the power plays are where the Leafs’ strength lies.
Meanwhile, the Maple Leafs were in terrific form earlier this week as they bounced back from a two-game slide to thrash the Seattle Kraken 6-2. Calle Jarnkrok caught the eye, as he weighed in with a goal and an assist. The Maple Leafs are third in the Atlantic Division with a 31-12-3 record as things stand.
St Louis Blues make light work of Ottawa Senators
With the Blues, you generally know you will find a franchise that is consistent. And judging by their past two games, they have had no trouble scoring. Against the Chicago Blackhawks last weekend, they romped to a 5-1 win. And against the Senators earlier this week, they claimed a 5-2 victory.
If anything, the Blues have managed to stamp their authority on games, and they look more of a genuine attacking threat. Their clash with the Maple Leafs will make for compelling viewing, and if we are looking at recent form, then the Blues may well take the win here.
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