NHL Games of the Week – March 12th to March 18th

NHL Games of the Week

Michael Raffl #12 of the Philadelphia Flyers battles for control the puck against Viktor Tikhonov #14 of the Chicago Blackhawks on October 14, 2015 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images

Saturday, March 12th – New York Rangers at Detroit Red Wings
2:00 PM Eastern – Sirius XM 91

It appears that both of these teams will qualify for the post-season in the Eastern Conference, but they can’t let up, as there’s a logjam of teams right behind them, all vying for the eight spots that are up for grabs.  Detroit continues to make the playoffs year after year in large part due to great drafting, while the Rangers have added veteran forward Eric Staal in a bid to once again represent the East in the Stanley Cup Final.

Sunday, March 13th – Tampa Bay Lightning at Columbus Blue Jackets
3:00 PM Eastern – Sirius XM 91

Neither of these teams enjoyed the greatest of starts to the season, but while the Lightning pulled out of their spiral, the Blue Jackets took longer to right their ship, and the result is they’ll miss the playoff cut this time around.  Both teams have played good hockey in the past couple of weeks, particularly Tampa, who are making a push to finish first in the Atlantic Division.

Monday, March 14th – Florida Panthers at New York Islanders
7:00 PM Eastern – Sirius XM 91

Not many expected the Panthers to be in contention for top spot in the Atlantic Division, but that is exactly what they’ve been doing for most of the season.  Whether or not they take home the Division crown, Florida is headed for the playoffs.  Over in the Metropolitan Division, the Islanders can’t take their foot off the pedal, as they could finish anywhere from second in that division, to ending up on the outside looking in come mid-April.

Tuesday, March 15th – Winnipeg Jets at Vancouver Canucks
8:00 PM Eastern – Sirius XM 91

Both the Jets and Canucks qualified for the playoffs last season in the tough Western Conference.  Okay, they both bowed out in the first round, but bigger and better things were expected this campaign.  Instead, both teams have taken a couple of steps back, and won’t be participating in the Stanley Cup hunt this spring.  But all is not lost if you’re a Jets’ fan.  Word is they have carefully stockpiled some impressive young talent.

Wednesday, March 16th – Boston Bruins at San Jose Sharks
10:00 PM Eastern – Sirius XM 91

With everyone talking about the Hawks, and the Kings, and the Ducks, could this be the year a pretty solid Sharks team fights their way to the Stanley Cup Final?  San Jose would love to finish first in the Pacific Division, so they could sidestep L.A. and Anaheim in the first round.  As for the Bruins, they look like they’re headed back to the post-season, after sitting on the sidelines last year.

Thursday, March 17th – Philadelphia Flyers at Chicago Blackhawks
8:00 PM Eastern – Sirius XM 219

Can the Chicago Blackhawks in their fourth Cup this spring, their second in a row?  It’ll be tough against the powerhouse teams in the West.  Can the Philadelphia Flyers claw their way into the playoffs?  Only diehard Philly fans entertained that notion at the beginning of the season.  The team is knocking at the door, and this would be a huge two points for them.

Friday, March 18th – New York Rangers at Los Angeles Kings
10:30 PM Eastern – Sirius XM 91

A rematch of the 2014 Stanley Cup Final (won by the Kings in 5 games) features two teams that will be playoff bound again this April.  Both squads tinkered with their lineups leading up to the NHL Trade Deadline in late February, and hope the changes are enough to give them an advantage in the tough playoff battles that are around the corner.

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