Nevada News Reporter

The New York Islanders still have much to prove

The New York Islanders still have much to prove

The New York Islanders could sit atop the Eastern Conference tonight and still not have proven they are the best NHL team in the New York area. If the Islanders earn a point tonight in the game against the New York Rangers and Montreal loses in regulation, New York moves past the Canadiens for the top spot in the East. The Canadiens will have two games in hand. If the Rangers win tonight, they will have won two of the five games against the Islanders. They Rangers also have better goal-differential and defensive numbers.USP NHL: NEW YORK ISLANDERS AT TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS S HKN CAN ON

Tampa Bay Lightning at Montreal Canadiens, If the Lightning win in regulation, they tie the Canadiens for the Atlantic Division lead. The Lightning have been the better team of late, winning seven of their last 10. The Lightning lead the NHL in goal-scoring and the Montreal leads the league in goals allowed.

Boston Bruins at Ottawa Senators, Although the Senators (8-1-1 in their past 10 games) are the NHL’s hottest team, it feels like a must-win game for Ottawa. If the Senators win tonight, they are only three points back in the race for the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference. If they lose, the Senators are seven points back with 17 games Andrew Hammond’s strong goaltending has keyed Ottawa’s surge, but coach Dave Cameron is giving veteran Craig Anderson his second consecutive start.

Hammond got hot when No. 1 Anderson was sidelined 46 days with a hand injury, and Cameron said he’s playing Anderson because he believes he gives the team the best chance at success. He is the more proven goalie. Anderson has played 403 NHL games, and Hammond has appeared in 10.