NHL Games of the Week: Saturday, April 9 to Friday, April 15
Saturday, April 9th – 3 pm ET
Washington Capitals at Pittsburgh Penguins
Always worth your while when these two NHL rivals meet up on a frozen sheet of ice. The Penguins have seemingly been entangled in a fight for second with the New York Rangers since around Christmas, while the Capitals have seemingly been in the second wildcard since Boxing Day. While Pittsburgh will make the playoffs, you can most likely say the same thing about Washington, though the underachieving New York Islanders have made a bit of a late-season run at that final playoff party invite…but too little too late.
Sunday, April 10th – 7 pm ET
Dallas Stars at Chicago Blackhawks
All those games-in-hand that the Stars enjoy have to be played at some point, and if they only play .500 hockey during that span, they should sneak into the lower reaches of the Western Conference post-season. Not so for the Blackhawks, who many observers tabbed to be one of the more pleasant surprises in the 2021-22 season. Maybe they meant 2022-23.
Monday, April 11th – 7 pm ET
Winnipeg Jets at Montreal Canadiens
A rematch of the second-round series last spring that saw Montreal upset the favoured Jets. Since then, both teams have been a disappointment. The Canadiens lost key players and suffered injuries to the likes of goaltender Carey Price, and sparkplug forward Brendan Gallagher. A mid-season head coaching change has reversed their fortunes too late for this season. The Jets also changed head coaches, but they’ve been hovering around the final Western wildcard for a while now, but always seem to come up just a bit short.
Tuesday, April 12th – 10 pm ET
Vegas Golden Knights at Vancouver Canucks
A tale of two teams desperately trying to gain access to the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Truth be told, most hockey pundits picked the Golden Knights to wear the Pacific Division crown this season, while many tabbed the Canucks to finish either 2nd or 3rd, in that same division. Not how it turned out, for a variety of reasons. For Vegas, injuries wrote most of the narrative, and they’re life-and-death to qualify. The Canucks were one of many teams to change up their head coaching situation, and while it was a welcome shot-in-the-arm out of the gate, it looks more and more like Vancouver started too far back in the pack to make up enough ground. Regardless, if either of these teams is still seriously entertaining thoughts of playing hockey in May, the two points up for grabs tonight are of paramount importance.
Wednesday, April 13th – 7 pm ET
New York Rangers at Philadelphia Flyers
How far can the Broadway Blueshirts go this spring? They made some savvy additions to their already impressive rosters, but it all depends on goaltender Igor Shesterkin. He was an early choice to win the Hart Memorial Trophy as most valuable player to his team because he fit the definition to a T, yet he stumbled somewhat in March, though the Rangers kept winning. Either way, the Rangers will be looking to make noise in May. The Flyers? Nothing to see here this time around.
Thursday, April 14th – 7 pm ET
Washington Capitals at Toronto Maple Leafs
Alexander Ovechkin vs. Auston Matthews. The Master vs. the ascending Master. Of course, these two teams are about more than these snipers, but it’s a fun matchup. The Capitals are attempting to shore up their stake on the final Eastern wildcard spot, while the Maple Leafs are in a battle for second place in the Atlantic Division.
Friday, April 15th – 7 pm ET
Winnipeg Jets at Florida Panthers
How deep into the post-season can the Panthers go this time around? They are one of the most balanced teams in the entire NHL, but the franchise hasn’t won a solitary playoff series since going to the Stanley Cup Final in 1996. Different team. Different reality. Tonight, they face a Jets team that most likely will not be partaking in the post-season fun this time around.