Tampa Bay and Toronto clash, and more NHL Games of the Week

NHL Network Radio NHL games of the week

As regular season NHL action continues, so does the push to the Stanley Cup playoffs. You can hear all the action on NHL Network Radio.

Saturday, March 30th – 12:30 pm Eastern – SiriusXM 91
Detroit Red Wings at Florida Panthers

Just when it appeared that the Red Wings were headed towards the post-season for the first time since 2016, they went into a tailspin. The loss of captain Dylan Larkin certainly didn’t help things. But he’s back, and there’s still time to make the cut, though the remaining games’ importance are now magnified, and tonight they tangle with a Panthers squad that just made it into the Stanley Cup playoffs this time last year, and proceeded to go all the way to the Cup Final. This is a run-on sentence about a team that enjoyed a magical playoff run last year. This season, the Cats are one of the top teams in the entire league.

Sunday, March 31st – 3:30 pm Eastern – SiriusXM91
Anaheim Ducks at Vancouver Canucks

Though the Oilers could still catch the Canucks for top spot in the Pacific Division, the math suggests that Vancouver will emerge as the regular season champions of that grouping. The Stanley Cup Playoffs are another matter altogether, and after missing the playoff cut by a dozen points this time last year, Vancouver are itching to get back into the thick of things. The Canucks will receive a shot-in-the-arm when outstanding goaltender Thatcher Demko returns from injury. He’s expected to be ready to go in early April. The Ducks? No playoffs this time around.

Monday, April 1st – 9 pm Eastern – SiriusXM 167
Los Angeles Kings at Winnipeg Jets

Recently, the Jets have cooled their, ahem, jets a touch, though they’re in no danger of missing the playoffs. Winnipeg does have to pay attention to the surging Nashville Predators, who could overtake them for third place in the tough Central Division. The Kings have had an up-and-down season, but with more ups than downs, they could still finish second in the Pacific. Odds are they, again, face the Edmonton Oilers in the opening round come mid-April.

Tuesday, April 2nd – 7 pm Eastern – SiriusXM 91
Pittsburgh Penguins at New Jersey Devils

Two disappointing teams meet up in Newark this evening with a faint chance of still getting into this spring’s Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Penguins gambled big this season that they could make one last Cup run with their impressive array of battle-tested veterans, but it never really came together.  The Devils are making a late-season push for the playoffs, especially since picking up goaltender Jake Allen from Montreal. The veteran backstop has been outstanding, including stopping 24 of 25 first-period shots in a recent 6-3 win in Toronto.

Wednesday, April 3rd – 7 pm Eastern – SiriusXM 91
Tampa Bay Lightning at Toronto Maple Leafs

Look out! The Tampa Bay Lightning aren’t finished yet! The 2020 and 2021 Stanley Cup Champions have been in the playoff picture for most of the season, but many of their future Hall-of-Famers (especially goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy) are playing again like it’s 2021. Brayden Point has been on fire, and forward Nikita Kucherov is a leading candidate for the Art Ross Trophy as the top league scorer and the Hart Memorial Trophy as the most valuable player. Suddenly the Lightning have snuck up on the Maple Leafs, who have had to live life for a while without all-star forward Mitch Marner.

Thursday, April 4th – 7 pm Eastern – SiriusXM 91
Boston Bruins at Carolina Hurricanes

Did you know the Carolina Hurricanes began their life in Boston? As the New England Whalers of the World Hockey Association in 1972, before relocating to Hartford. As the Hurricanes, they won the Stanley Cup in 2006 and are one of the favourites to do so again. The Bruins last won it all in 2011, and after last April’s bitter disappointment of being punted out of the first round by the upstart Florida Panthers, the B’s have some unfinished business they’d like to attend to. This is a true meeting of two NHL battleship teams!

Friday, April 5th – 7 pm Eastern – SiriusXM 91
New York Rangers at Detroit Red Wings

Will the Rangers finish first overall in the NHL? The last time they got their hands on the Stanley Cup (1994), that’s exactly what happened. The Broadway Blueshirts have been in first place in the Metropolitan Division since late October, though the Hurricanes (see Thursday) have been keeping close in the points race. Tonight, the Rangers will visit the Red Wings, who desperately need the two points that are yours if you win. One point probably won’t cut it at this stage.