Saturday, March 5th – Anaheim Ducks at Los Angeles Kings
4:00 PM Eastern – Sirius XM 91
What’s not to like in this matchup? The two Southern Californian teams have developed one of the best rivalries in the NHL, and both are bona fide contenders for the Stanley Cup this spring. Both rosters are deep, and feature stellar goaltending. At one point this season, it appeared that Los Angeles was skating away with the Pacific Division. After a slow start, Anaheim have righted their ship, and are now in that race with L.A. (as are the San Jose Sharks).
Sunday, March 6th – New York Islanders at New York Rangers
5:00 PM Eastern – Sirius XM 91
Another great rivalry, regardless of their placement in the standings. Both of these teams are in a fight for one of the eight playoff spots up for grabs in the Eastern Conference. The Rangers added to their chances by trading for Eric Staal, who had been toiling for the Carolina Hurricanes. Unless the Washington Capitals experience a major meltdown (they won’t), the Islanders and Rangers are fighting for second spot in the Metropolitan Division. This would make for a wonderful first round playoff series.
Monday, March 7th – Boston Bruins at Florida Panthers
7:30 PM Eastern – Sirius XM 220
This is a game that features two Eastern teams that just missed the playoff cut last season. Not this time around. The Panthers, with a wonderful mix of savvy veterans and exciting youngsters, have been in control of the Atlantic Division for months now. They loaded up at the NHL Trade Deadline, as did the Bruins. The division is so tightly packed, every two points is huge.
Tuesday, March 8th – Detroit Red Wings at Columbus Blue Jackets
7:00 PM Eastern – Sirius XM 91
Once again, the Blue Jackets are playing well down the stretch…but well after the pressure of making the playoffs has evaporated. Columbus are one of the major disappointments in the NHL this season, while the Red Wings just continue to tick on. Detroit keeps finding impressive young players, and are in the mix for first place in the contentious Atlantic Division.
Wednesday, March 9th – Chicago Blackhawks at St. Louis Blues
8:00 PM Eastern – Sirius XM 219
You want a heated hockey rivalry? Look no further than the Blackhawks and Blues. While Chicago are once again one of the favourites to hoist the Stanley Cup this June (something they’ve done in 2010, 2013, and last year), many wonder if St. Louis has enough to make a run in the tough Central Division.
Thursday, March 10th – Edmonton Oilers at Minnesota Wild
8:00 PM Eastern – Sirius XM 222
The Wild recently fired their head coach, and the team responded with a series of wins, which pulled them back into the hotly contested Western Conference wildcard race. Fans of the Oilers can only dream of such things, as once again the team appears to be destined for the bottom of the Conference. Yet the Oilers are always worth watching, if just for young soon-to-be-superstar Connor McDavid.
Friday, March 11th – Chicago Blackhawks at Dallas Stars
8:30 PM Eastern – Sirius XM 221
This matchup could be a preview of the 2016 Western Conference Final. Chicago are the defending Stanley Cup Champions, and are looking to be the first repeat champion since the Detroit Red Wings in the late 1990’s. To that end, the Hawks made a number of additions at the trade deadline. The Stars are becoming a force in the Western Conference, and this is a good test to help determine where they are as a team.