NHL Games of the Week: Saturday, December 9th to Friday, December 15th

NHL

Leafs' David Clarkson gets tripped up by Penguins' goalie Marc-Andre Fleury in the third period. The Toronto Maple Leafs hosted the Pittsburgh Penguins at the Air Canada Centre night.

Bernard Weil/Toronto Star via Getty Images

Mick Kern from NHL Network Radio here. We’re running down the must-hear NHL games of the week, including the Leafs at Pittsburgh and Nashville at Vancouver:

Saturday, December 9th – Toronto Maple Leafs at Pittsburgh Penguins
6:30 PM Eastern – Sirius XM 211

Penguins’ sniper Phil Kessel is having another banner year putting the puck in the net, and compiling assists, and tonight he faces one of his former teams as the Maple Leafs come to town. This matchup would make for an entertaining Eastern Conference Final come May, but we’re a long way away from that.

Sunday, December 10th – Arizona Coyotes at Chicago Blackhawks
7:00 PM Eastern – Sirius XM 220

It took them a while, but the Coyotes are now winning games in regulation time. Nobody has them pegged for a playoff spot, but they’ll do some damage along the way. Such as in this game, as the host Blackhawks are expected to make the post-season, but they have been underwhelming so far this season.

Monday, December 11th – Vancouver Canucks at Winnipeg Jets
7:35 PM Eastern – Sirius XM 222

The Jets have been one of the NHL’s success stories in the first third of the season, challenging for top spot not only in the Central Division, but in the entire league. While Winnipeg were expected to be in the running for a Western Conference playoff spot, nobody honestly expected the Canucks to do anything but finish near the bottom of that conference. So far Vancouver has surprise everybody, and find themselves in the running for a Western wildcard. Will that persist? Tonight is a good test.

Tuesday, December 12th – Los Angeles Kings at New Jersey Devils
7:00 PM Eastern – Sirius XM 219

This rematch of the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Final would make an unlikely 2018 Stanley Cup Final, but don’t completely count out that possibility. The Devils have moved up the ranks of the Eastern Conference faster than anticipated, while the Kings are also defying pre-season expectations. Both these clubs are dynamite on the road.

Wednesday, December 13th – Nashville Predators at Vancouver Canucks
10:00 PM Eastern – Sirius XM 91

After falling in six games to the Penguins in the Stanley Cup Final, the Predators have set their sights on returning to the Final, and going all the way this time around. Nashville were the hottest team in the NHL in the month of November, and are looking at building on that success in the tough Central Division.

Thursday, December 14th – Pittsburgh Penguins at Vegas Golden Knights
10:00 PM Eastern – Sirius XM 91

Admit it, nobody had the expansion Golden Knights winning this many games the entire season, much less one third of the campaign. Yet there they are, sitting amongst the leaders of the Pacific Division. Will they be there come the push to the playoffs in mid-March? One would have to say yes at this point. Tonight they host the two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins, and the Pens are better at home this season than on the road.

Friday, December 15th – Los Angeles Kings at Detroit Red Wings
7:00 PM Eastern – Sirius XM 91

While the Kings have been a pleasant surprise so far this season, what to make of the Detroit Red Wings?  They got off to a pretty good start, but recently the Wings have stumbled, included a 10-1 pasting at the hands of the offensively challenged Montreal Canadiens. They’re not that bad, though nobody is realistically expecting Detroit to make the playoffs this season.

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