With time running out on their playoff hopes, the Washington Capitals figure to be desperate when they come to Boston's TD Garden on Thursday. NHL Network viewers in the United States will get the chance to see exactly how desperate.
American viewers can tune in at 7 p.m. ET to see if the Caps can rebound from Tuesday's 5-1 loss to Buffalo, a game that dropped them two points behind the Sabres in the race for the last playoff berth in the Eastern Conference. But winning in Boston won't be easy -- the Northeast Division-leading Bruins have won three in a row and are coming off a 4-2 win against Tampa Bay on Tuesday.
Three of the other six games on Thursday's schedule also begin at 7. Philadelphia hosts Toronto in a game that can be seen in Canada on TSN. Pittsburgh tries to avenge Tuesday's 5-3 home loss to the Islanders in the return match at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum and Tampa Bay continues its road trip in New Jersey.
An hour later, Florida tries to move closer to clinching its first playoff berth since 2000 when it visits Minnesota. The Panthers opened their four-game trip with a 3-2 shootout win at Montreal on Tuesday, the same night the Wild lost 3-2 at home to the Rangers.
At 8:30, Chicago will try to end the Blues' run of three straight shutouts when St. Louis comes to the United Center. The Hawks managed only one goal in a 2-1 shootout loss at New Jersey on Tuesday. St. Louis has not allowed a goal in games against Los Angeles, Phoenix and Nashville -- the Blues blanked the Preds 3-0 on Tuesday.
In the final game of the night, the Coyotes host San Jose in a game that's vital to the playoff hopes of both teams as they battle for the Pacific Division title. The Coyotes have been off since losing 4-0 at home to the Blues on Sunday.