The trade deadline is behind us, and with only 11-13 games left, there are seven teams within five points of the East's Nos. 7 and 8 seeds.
When you consider that five of those seven are in action tonight-- plus the Southeast Division-leading Jets-- it makes for a huge night on the ice.
The Rangers' dominant 6-1 win over Pittsburgh on Wednesday created a three-way tie for seventh and eighth. The Devils and/or Islanders can break that tie, and bounce out the Rangers, with wins tonight. The Devils are in Boston, the Isles are in Washington to take on the Capitals.
Ah yes, the Caps. They can move into a tie for first in the Southeast with a win and a Winnipeg loss. Or with a regulation win and a Devils loss, Washington can creep to within a point of eighth.
The Flyers, fresh off their come-from-behind win over Montreal on Wednesday, will meet the Maple Leafs in Toronto. Philadelphia, with a win, a Devils loss and Islanders loss, can move to within two points of eighth. But the Flyers are in a catch-22 with Washington and New York meeting tonight.
The fading Hurricanes need a win tonight, at home against Tampa Bay, to stay within striking distance. The Lightning, not pictured, also need a win to remain semi-close.
Here's the full slate:
DEVILS at Boston, 7
Philadelphia at Toronto, 7
N.Y. Islanders at Washington, 7
Tampa Bay at Carolina, 7
Winnipeg at Montreal, 7:30