As far as the tank goes, yesterday transpired about as poorly as possible, with most of the teams between Montreal and one of the top draft positions losing in regulation.
The Buffalo Sabres, Calgary Flames, and Carolina Hurricanes all failed to earn any points on Sunday. Despite how well they've played, the Hurricanes just can't seem to win the important games versus the teams they need to catch, falling another two points back of the Tampa Bay Lightning with yesterday's defeat.
The only positive result was the end of a losing streak by the Vancouver Canucks with their 5-1 victory over the Colorado Avalanche. Vancouver is now two points behind Montreal, for 23rd overall.
It's relatively quiet in the NHL tonight, but three of the four games feature a team outside of a playoff position.
7:00 PM EST / 4:00 PM PST
Columbus Blue Jackets
Host: Boston Bruins
Position: 15th in Eastern Conference; 28th overall
Ideal result: Perhaps tonight's the night of that head coach brawl
How to watch: GameCentre Live/NHL.tv
The Blue Jackets had their eight-game point streak broken by the Sabres on Friday night. The Jackets' final game of that streak was an overtime loss on home ice to the Bruins on Tuesday, and they will want to turn the tables tonight.
Host: Washington Capitals
Position: 10th in Western Conference; 22nd overall
Ideal result: Win for ARI
How to watch: TVA Sports
The Coyotes were staying among the teams just out of the playoff picture in the Western Conference, but the four-game winning streak of the Minnesota Wild — achieved by defeating the Central Division-leading Chicago Blackhawks 6-1 yesterday afternoon — is making that playoff berth much more difficult for the embattled franchise.
Arizona can't afford to lose many more games over the remainder of the season, but a matchup with the team that is running away with the President's Trophy poses a tough challenge.
7:30 PM EST / 4:30 PM PST
Visitors: Nashville Predators
Position: 13th in East; 23rd overall
Ideal result: An exciting 4-3 loss in regulation
How to watch: Sportsnet East, RDS
The Habs have been pretty good at home lately, and that's not good news for their draft positioning. A win will move Montreal to within seven points of the Detroit Red Wings on the same number of games played, and would jump them over Ottawa in the Eastern standings once again.
Even with a loss, Montreal can't drop any places, and cannot be passed with a single two-point result by any of the seven teams that trail them.