Friday Tank Watch: Your open thread for tonight's NHL action

Your previews, game times, and ideal results for the lottery games on Friday, February 5.

The Montreal Canadiens actually had their position in the Eastern Conference improve yesterday, as the Ottawa Senators lost the game they had in hand.

However, that loss came from a beatdown by the Edmonton Oilers, who moved from sole possession of 29th place to a five-way tie (by points) for 28th overall, with 47 points on the season.

Other positive results for the Habs' improving their lottery odds: Buffalo Sabres earning a point in shootout loss; Toronto Maple Leafs winning in a shooout (a result that also moved the New Jersey Devils up to eighth); Philadelphia Flyers blowout victory in Nashville; Arizona Coyotes getting a point for an overtime loss to Chicago, and; the Columbus Blue Jackets and Vancouver Canucks received a point for their game going to the shooout, with the last-place Jackets earning the extra point after the game-winning shots.

Columbus' win brought 30th overall two points closer to the Habs' tally, from nine points to a mere seven (Habs are six points out of final wild-card spot), though Columbus has played one more game.

This project focuses on any team currently sitting more than one spot outside of a playoff position. Here are tonight's games featuring the teams meeting that criterion:

8:00 PM EST / 5:00 PM PST

Carolina Hurricanes @ Winnipeg Jets

Records: CAR: 23-22-8 / WPG: 22-25-3
Positions: CAR: 11th in Eastern Conference; 21st in league / WPG: 13th in Western Conference; 26th overall
Ideal result: Overtime win for Winnipeg
How to watch: TSN3 (Jets region)

The first of two dual-lottery matchups tonight features teams travelling in different directions. The Hurricanes have been steadily overcoming an early-season slump, and have been one of the top teams for quite some time now. They have won six of their last 10 games.

The Jets have suffered regulation losses in six of their last 10, and are ahead of the Oilers on fewer games played alone, being part of that five-way tie (including three Western clubs) with 47 points.

Winnipeg has managed to achieve a winning record at MTS Centre this season (13-11-1), so the possibility for that ideal overtime win is fairly good.

9:00 PM EST / 6:00 PM PST

Columbus Blue Jackets @ Calgary Flames

Records: CBJ: 20-28-5 / CGY: 22-24-3
Positions: CBJ: 16th in East; 30th overall / CGY: 12th in West; 25th overall
Ideal result: Overtime win for Columbus
How to watch: Sportsnet West (Flames region)

The second all-lottery game features the last-place Blue Jackets looking to win their second consecutive contest. Columbus has gone 5-5-2 since acquiring Seth Jones from the Nashville Predators, are are 3-1-1 in their past five, including their two regulation victories over Montreal just before the All-Star break.

The Calgary Flames can thank poor performances on the road this season for their lowly standing; they're five games above .500 at home, with a home record better than that of the Pacific Division-leading Los Angeles Kings. That proficiency, coupled with the Jackets relatively strong play of late, should make this an entertaining matchup.

10:00 PM EST / 7:00 PM PST

Arizona Coyotes

Host: Anaheim Ducks
Record: 24-21-6
Position: 10th in West; 20th overall
Ideal Result: Overtime win for Arizona
How to watch: Sportsnet One

To give you an idea of how bad the Pacific Division is this season, for a brief period last night, Arizona held the third seed in the division as the 19th overall team in the NHL. A win by the Ducks dropped them down to 10th in the Western Conference.

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