There are just two games on the card for Friday before tomorrow’s regular season finale in which all 30 teams will be in action. The Pittsburgh Penguins face a critical matchup against the New York Islanders in the top matchup for Friday. The Pens are in precarious playoff position and cannot afford a loss. We’ll break out our Blue Jackets for Friday as red hot Columbus hosts a terrible Buffalo Sabres team.
LW – Nick Foligno – Columbus
The Blue Jackets host the Buffalo Sabres at 7 p.m. ET. Columbus is the hottest team in the league with nine wins in their last ten games. Foligno has proven has worth as an All Star with 30 goals and 44 assists with a plus-13 to rate as the top player and scorer for Columbus. Foligno has four goals and three assist with a plus two in his last five games. The red hot end of the season for Columbus and the play of Foligno has fans eager for the start of the 2015-16 season and a run to the playoffs.
C – John Tavares – New York Islanders
The Islanders are at the Pittsburgh Penguins with faceoff time set for 7 p.m. ET. The Islanders have slumped badly down the stretch with seven losses in their last ten games. Tavares is the Islanders leading scorer with 36 goals, 47 assists and a plus-two on the season. The Islander captain has two goals and seven assists on the season with a plus-three. Tavares has maintained top play during the Islanders slump and will be the man to watch in what they hope will be a deep playoff run starting next week.
RW – Cam Atkinson – Columbus
The Sabres have been awful as the team with the worst record in the league and with seven losses in their last ten games. Atkinson has 20 goals and 18 assists on the season but has cooled off as of late with just one assists and a plus-one in his last five games. Atkinson rates a great chance to breakout against woeful Buffalo.
D – Jack Johnson – Columbus
The Sabres rank 29th for goals against and 30th for the penalty kill. Johnson should get plenty of ice time and chances against the sorry Sabres. Johnson has eight goals and 29 assists on the season with two goals and one assist in his last five games. Johnson is a key cog to the hopes of Columbus getting back into the playoffs next year.
D – Johnny Boychuk – New York Islanders
Pittsburgh has lost seven out of their last ten and has slipped all the way down to 18th in the NHL for goal scoring. Boychuk has proven to be an astute pickup by much maligned Islanders general manager Garth Snow. Boychuk has fortified what was a weak blue line with nine goals and 26 assists on the season with a plus-12. He has one goal with one assist in his last five games with a plus-two. Although the Isles have slumped badly down the stretch, Boychuk is a key reason why they could reignite in the playoffs for a deep run in the wide open Eastern Conference.
G – Sergei Bobrovsky – Columbus
Buffalo ranks dead last for goals scored and for power play efficiency. Bobrovsky is coming off a shutout win over the Toronto Maple Leafs and has a .928 save percentage in his last five games. Bobrovsky has a .928 save percentage and a 2.70 goals against on the season. Bobrovsky has regained his form as one of the top goaltenders in the NHL and has proven that he can carry a team just as he did last year when the Blue Jackets made the playoffs.
Sleeper – David Savard – Columbus
We call on a big night for the Blue Jackets against the dreadful Sabres and Savard rates a good chance at reaching the score sheet. Savard has three assists in his last five games to go with 11 goals and 22 assists on the season. Savard is one of the reasons that the Blue Jackets have finished so strong and will be a favorite to make the playoffs next year.
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