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Tonight's slate of NHL matchups should be a great opportunity for players to earn some significant range in some of the wildest matchups of the season. Among some of the games, tonight will feature two Eastern Conference juggernauts, two Western Conference opponents that were among the worst in the league last year, and the Eastern Conference and Western Conference mattress only 600 miles from each other.
Time: 7:30 PM E.T. Friday
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One of the first games of the night is set for a big-time Eastern Conference matchup as the Boston Bruins (18-5-4) go on the road to take on the New York Islanders (14-7-7). The Bruins continue their regular season dominance from last season as they remain one of the hottest teams to start the 2023-2024 NHL Season. The Islanders, on the other hand, have quietly built themselves into one of the toughest teams to face in the Eastern Conference, as they are just below the New York Rangers for the top spot in the Metropolitan Division.
The Bruins have one of the hottest starts of the season, accounting for an overall record of 13-1-2. After the 5-2 win over the Montreal Canadiens, Boston had only won five of the last 11 games. They have one five of the last seven games but are coming off a 2-1 overtime loss at the New Jersey Devils this past Wednesday.
The Islanders had a difficult start to the season, especially in overtime, as they had accounted for an overall record of 5-6-5 in the first 16 games of the season. New York had lost every game played past the regular game. After the period, the Islanders have won nine of the last 12 games. They are currently on a four-game win streak as their fortunes in overtime and shootouts have turned around significantly. In the last 12 games, the Islanders are 4-2 and have had overtimes or shootouts.
The Bruins came into this game with a much more efficient defense, as they are ranked fourth in the league in goals allowed per game (2.48). They are also slightly more efficient on offense than the Islanders, as Boston ranks 14th in the league in goals per game (3.22) while New York is 17th (3.07). Boston is the more consistent team in the long run. If they get off to a hot start, it would be too much for the Islanders.
Time: 7:30 PM E.T. Friday
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The Carolina Hurricanes (16-12-1) host the Nashville Predators (16-13) in one of the weirdest Eastern Conference versus Western Conference matchups in the NHL. The two cities of the teams are less than 600 miles from each other, and yet they are cross-conference divisional rivals. This will be the first game of the season between these two teams.
Nashville started the season with a tough 5-10 overall record through the first 15 games of the season. Around the middle of November, the predators started to maintain a solid rhythm on the offensive side of the ice. During a five-game winning streak, the Predators had their best one of the season by defeating the Saint Louis Blues on the road with an 8-3 score. The Predators have won five of the last six games and are coming off a 3-2 home win in overtime versus the Philadelphia Flyers.
Carolina has been one of the more consistent teams this season when it comes to wins and losses. Through the first month and a half of the season, the Hurricanes would not win three consecutive games but would also not lose three consecutive games twice. The Hurricanes have played their last six games on the road, as they lost the first four games but have won the last two.
The key to this game will be roster construction, as the Predators have a great set of stars, such as forward Filip Forsberg. The Hurricanes have a set of consistent role players to carry the flow of the offense. Carolina has eight players that have accounted for 17 points this season, while Nashville has four.
Time: 9:00 PM E.T. Friday
One of the final games of the night is set for a Western Conference matchup as the San Jose Sharks (9-17-3) go on the road to take on the Arizona Coyotes (13-13-2). Both the Sharks and the Coyotes were previously some of the worst teams in the league. Now, they are on solid streaks, with one of them having potential playoff hopes.
The Sharks came into the season as potentially one of the worst teams in the NHL, and they were for the longest time. The Sharks did not get their first win of the season until game twelve, with a 2-1 home win over the Philadelphia Flyers. Since then, San Jose has remained inconsistent in scoring and defending against opposing offenses. It was not until November 25th that the sharks finally found a rhythm they could utilize. The Sharks have won six of the last nine games as well as three of the last four.
Last season, Arizona was one of the worst teams in the NHL but this season they have found a more consistent play on both sides of the ice. After starting the season with an 8-9-2 overall record, Arizona won five consecutive games to get over .500%. Arizona, however, has lost their last four consecutive games, with their last three being on the road against Eastern Conference teams.
Arizona should have a clear indication to win tonight, as they are ranked 16th in the league in goals per game (3.14) and 13th in the league in goals allowed per game (3.07). San Jose is still ranked last in the league in goals per game (2.21) and goals allowed per game (3.93).
Michael Hanich is a sports journalist/analyst with a wide variety of experience in the newspaper and digital field. He has a love for all sports. The leagues that he covers are College Football, the NFL, the NBA, the NHL, College Basketball (men’s and women’s), the MLB, Lacrosse, Volleyball, and the WNBA.More info on Michael Hanich
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