Mick Kern from NHL Network Radio here. We’re running down the must-hear NHL games of the week, including Philadelphia at Washington and Chicago visiting Boston:
Saturday, January 14th – St. Louis Blues at San Jose Sharks
10:00 PM Eastern – Sirius XM 220
Last June the Sharks finally made it all the way to the Stanley Cup Final. The Blues haven’t been to the Final since 1970. Is this finally the year St. Louis gets back to the big dance? They’ve been good so far this season, but not overpowering. Goaltender Jake Allen has struggled recently.
Sunday, January 15th – Philadelphia Flyers at Washington Capitals
12:30 PM Eastern – Sirius XM 91
The Metropolitan Division has been so tough this season, teams like the Capitals are either a couple of points out of top spot or are a wild card team. The Flyers are also in that mix, and the way things are going, the Met will place five teams in the post-season. This could be a preview of a playoff series this spring. While the Caps can win at home and on the road, Philadelphia is playing much better hockey in their own barn.
Monday, January 16th – Tampa Bay Lightning at Los Angeles Kings
4:00 PM Eastern – Sirius XM 91
What is going on with the Tampa Bay Lightning? A consensus pick to be one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference, and a very possible Stanley Cup contender, the Bolts have basically played .500 hockey so far, and have to change things in order to make a second half run at a playoff spot. Over in the Western Conference, the Kings find themselves in the thick of the post-season battle, even without All-Star goaltender Jonathan Quick, who has missed every game to the point due to injuries.
Tuesday, January 17th – Nashville Predators at Vancouver Canucks
10:00 PM Eastern – Sirius XM 91
About a month ago, most pundits had buried the Vancouver Canucks, wondering if the team would finish last overall in the league. Four weeks later, they’ve dug themselves out of that grave, and are back in the playoff race in the West. As for the Predators, much was expected of them this season, and so far things haven’t gone as planned. The loss of All-Star defenceman P.K. Subban to injuries hasn’t helped things, though he is skating again. The Preds are much better at home than on the road, while nobody is better at home than the Canucks.
Wednesday, January 18th – Pittsburgh Penguins at Montreal Canadiens
7:30 PM Eastern – Sirius XM 91
The defending Stanley Cup Champion Penguins always seem to play well in Montreal, and are looking for two points tonight as they battle with the Blue Jackets and Capitals for top spot in the tough Metropolitan Division. Montreal recently came off a successful road trip, and are hoping to get back some of their walking wounded.
Thursday, January 19th – Ottawa Senators at Columbus Blue Jackets
7:00 PM Eastern – Sirius XM 91
As a result of their recent 16 game winning streak, the Blue Jackets are front-and-centre in the race for first place in the Metropolitan Division. Can they build upon that impressive streak? Tonight they play host to the Senators, who also missed the playoff cut last season, but are hanging tough in the Atlantic Division.
Friday, January 20th – Chicago Blackhawks at Boston Bruins
7:00 PM Eastern – Sirius XM 91
Don’t look now, but the Chicago Blackhawks are yet again one of the top teams in the entire NHL. They are much better at home, but are on the road tonight, taking on the Bruins in Boston. The home team is in the playoff mix in the Atlantic Division, and actually fare better on the road than in front of the home fans.