NHL Games of the Week: Saturday, March 17th to Friday, March 23rd

NHL

Toronto Maple Leafs Roman Polak gets the stick up to the face of Tampa Bay winger Lightning Adam Erne in the first period at the Air Canada Center . Toronto .February 12, 2018.

Rene Johnston/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 Columbus at Boston, and Toronto at Tampa Bay!

Saturday, March 17th – Montreal Canadiens at Toronto Maple Leafs
7:00 PM Eastern – Sirius XM 91

These two old rivals never seem to be at the same point at the same time.  This time around, the Maple Leafs are very good, while the Canadiens have struggled, and will miss the playoffs.  Regardless, it’s usually a good game when they meet up.  Toronto are still trying to gain second place in the Atlantic Division, which would give them home ice advantage in the opening round playoff series against the Boston Bruins….or Tampa Bay Lightning.

Sunday, March 18th – Dallas Stars at Winnipeg Jets
7:30 PM Eastern – Sirius XM 167

A Central Division tussle, featuring a Jets team trying to take over first in that division, and a Stars team trying to catch the Minnesota Wild for third.  Odds are the Nashville Predators will win the Central, but the Jets look to be a solid bet for second, and home ice advantage in the first round.  Which would most likely be against either the Wild, or the Stars….or Avalanche.

Monday, March 19th – Columbus Blue Jackets at Boston Bruins
7:00 PM Eastern – Sirius XM 91

While the Blue Jackets have not lived up to pre-season expectations, the Bruins have been a force in the Atlantic Division.  They may not catch Tampa Bay for first, but the B’s would like to lock up second place, and home ice advantage against Toronto in the first round.  As for Columbus, they are have played much better lately, and that has them within a slap shot distance of first in the contentious Metropolitan Division.

Tuesday, March 20th – Toronto Maple Leafs at Tampa Bay Lightning
7:30 PM Eastern – Sirius XM 211

The 2017-18 Atlantic Division is all about Tampa, Boston, and Toronto, and maybe Florida.  The other four teams have been pretty much out of the playoff race for months.  The Lightning looked like a first place lock for them, but the Bruins have made things close.  As a result, the two points up for grabs for the winning team tonight are huge.

Wednesday, March 21st – Anaheim Ducks at Calgary Flames
9:15 PM Eastern – Sirius XM 219

Depending on the day, both of these teams are sitting in a playoff spot, or they’re just bubbling under.  Time is running out on the regular season, and both of these Pacific Division teams could finish as high as second, or pack up the hockey equipment come early April.  This one tonight is a playoff game in March.

Thursday, March 22nd – Los Angeles Kings at Colorado Avalanche
8:35 PM Eastern – Sirius XM 207

Just like the Ducks and Flames, the Kings and Avalanche are also immersed in quite the battle for a Western Conference playoff spot.  You have to check the standings on a daily basis to see where all the teams stand.  And just like the Ducks/Flames matchup the night before, this L.A./Colorado clash this evening is also a playoff game in March.

Friday, March 23rd – New Jersey Devils at Pittsburgh Penguins
7:00 PM Eastern – Sirius XM 219

A great Friday night matchup, as there’s not a lot of difference in points earned between these two Metropolitan Division clubs.  This could be a preview of a first round playoff matchup this spring.  It also features Devils’ superstar Taylor Hall vs. Penguins’ superstars Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.  That alone is worth the price of admission, but both teams are more than those players.

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