The push to the playoffs means big battles on NHL Network Radio

TORONTO, ON - DECEMBER 30: Martin Jones #31 of the Toronto Maple Leafs stands for the national anthems before playing the Carolina Hurricanes at the Scotiabank Arena on December 30, 2023 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

We’re officially in our push to the playoffs, and all eyes are on the battles and chases between teams. The NHL Games of the Week, alongside expert analysis, can be heard on SiriusXM NHL Network Radio.

Saturday, March 16th – 7:00 pm Eastern – SiriusXM 91
Carolina Hurricanes at Toronto Maple Leafs

This is a battle of two Eastern Conference heavyweights and two teams that want to go further in the post-season than they did last spring. The Hurricanes are chasing the New York Rangers for the top spot in the Metropolitan Division, while the Maple Leafs appear to be headed towards a third-place finish in the Atlantic Division.

Sunday, March 17th – 1:00 pm Eastern – SiriusXM 91
New York Islanders at New York Rangers

It’s been quite the run recently for the Islanders. Although they may not have done anything at the recent NHL Trade Deadline, they’ve been playing more responsible, fast-paced hockey under the tutelage of head coach Patrick Roy. The winning streak has catapulted the Isles back into the playoff discussion in the Eastern Conference. They face their old rivals, the Rangers, who have been leading the Metropolitan Division for the majority of the 2023-24 regular season.

Monday, March 18th – 10:00 pm Eastern – SiriusXM 91
Buffalo Sabres at Seattle Kraken

While the Kraken may not qualify for the post-season a year after making the cut (in only their second NHL season), there shouldn’t be any panic in the Emerald City. The Kraken have been one of the better teams in the league since December, and they appear to be on the right track towards making the playoffs on a regular basis. The same cannot be said for the Sabres, who are headed for their 13th straight spring without a playoff game. Buffalo hasn’t been in the post-season since 2011, and the franchise hasn’t won a playoff round since 2007.

Tuesday, March 19th – 10:00 pm Eastern – SiriusXM 91
Tampa Bay Lightning at Vegas Golden Knights

The defending Stanley Cup Champions Golden Knights welcome in the Lightning, who won the Cup most recently in 2020 and 2021. Are both teams headed back to the playoffs next month? Both squads have slipped into their respective Conference wildcard slots. Vegas has had to contend with some notable injuries but were very active at the recent NHL Trade Deadline. The Lightning also shored up their team, which still contains several effective future Hall-of-Famers. Still, Tampa has been uncharacteristically porous in the goals-against-department so far this campaign.

Wednesday, March 20th – 10:00 pm Eastern – SiriusXM 91
Minnesota Wild at Los Angeles Kings

The Wild are attempting a late-season run at a Western Wildcard, and tonight they’re facing a Kings’ team that is also fighting to punch their own playoff ticket. Los Angeles were in the running for second spot in the Pacific Division for most of the season, but a lengthy losing streak stopped that momentum, though the Kings have recently righted their ship.

Thursday, March 21st – 10:00 pm Eastern – SiriusXM 91
Montreal Canadiens at Vancouver Canucks

It appears the Canucks have top spot in the Pacific Division sewn up, but if they don’t play better hockey than they did for much of last month, Vancouver could be caught by the Edmonton Oilers. Tonight is one of those games that the Canucks should take two points from; they play host to a rebuilding Montreal team.

Friday, March 22nd – 7:00 pm Eastern – SiriusXM 91
Carolina Hurricanes at Washington Capitals

While the Canes will be a playoff team, the remaining questions are where they finish in the Metropolitan Division and which team will be their opening-round foe. The same cannot be said for the Washington Capitals, who have remained close in the Eastern wildcard race. Unless they can create an impressive streak, the Caps will miss the post-season cut for a second straight season. Washington hasn’t won a playoff series since hoisting the Stanley Cup in 2018.