It's been four years since the Tampa Bay Lightning have been to the Stanley Cup Playoffs. They can end that drought on Thursday night by beating the team they could potentially see in the opening round.
The Lightning can become the fifth team Eastern Conference team to punch its ticket for the playoffs by beating the Pittsburgh Penguins at the St. Pete Times Forum in one of 10 games on Thursday's schedule. The Bolts, fifth in the East, moved closer to clinching a playoff berth when they beat Ottawa 5-2 on Tuesday, the same night the fourth-place Penguins lost 5-2 at home to Philadelphia.
The game starts at 7:30 p.m. ET, as does Ottawa's visit to the Florida Panthers.
Thursday's action gets under way a half-hour earlier with four games.
Toronto tries to keep its playoff hopes alive when it visits Boston in a game that can be seen in Canada on TSN and RDS. The Leafs and Bruins are both coming off home wins on Tuesday -- Toronto edged Buffalo 4-3 and Boston blanked Chicago 3-0.
Philadelphia tries to move a step closer toward clinching the East when it hosts Atlanta -- the Thrashers continue a road trip that began with a 3-1 loss at Montreal on Tuesday. Washington, three points behind the Flyers in the East after Tuesday's 3-2 shootout loss to Carolina, hosts Columbus in a game that can be seen in the United States on Versus. Also at 7, the New York Rangers visit the Islanders. Both teams lost Wednesday -- the Rangers were beaten 1-0 at Buffalo, while the Isles fell 3-2 at New Jersey.
An hour later, Edmonton tries to snap its 10-game losing streak when it visits Minnesota. The Wild ended its own eight-game slide with a 3-2 shootout win at St. Louis on Tuesday. At 9 p.m. ET, Nashville tries to rebound from Tuesday's 3-1 home loss to Vancouver when it visits Colorado.
The Canucks come home after a sweeping a four-game road trip to host Los Angeles, a 2-0 winner at Edmonton on Tuesday. In the final game of the night, Dallas visits San Jose in a battle of teams coming off visits to Phoenix. The Sharks beat the Coyotes 4-1 on Saturday, while the Stars lost 2-1 in a shootout on Tuesday.