Mick Kern from NHL Network Radio here. We’re running down the must-hear NHL games of the week, including the Rangers at the Leafs and the Flames visit the Kings:
Saturday, October 7th – New York Rangers at Toronto Maple Leafs
7:00 PM Eastern – Sirius XM 91
Much is expected of the swashbuckling young Maple Leafs this season. They opened their season in Winnipeg, and dominated the Jets en route to a 7-2 win. Toronto’s home opener is tonight against the Rangers, who many still believe can take a run at the Stanley Cup. Both teams should be in the playoffs come April.
Sunday, October 8th – Montreal Canadiens at New York Rangers
7:00 PM Eastern – Sirius XM 91
The Rangers have a quick turnout around from their Saturday night game in Toronto, as they return home to face the Montreal Canadiens. While most believe the Rangers will be a factor in the Eastern Conference, the fate of the Canadiens remains a mystery. They finished first in the Atlantic Division last season, but an underwhelming pre-season did little to calm concerns about this team, particularly lack of scoring.
Monday, October 9th – Washington Capitals at Tampa Bay Lightning
7:30 PM Eastern – Sirius XM 219
After missing the Eastern Conference playoff cut by a point last season, the Lightning are many pundit’s pick to represent the East in the Stanley Cup Final. The Bolts have a healthy Steven Stamkos back, who should be good for 35+ goals. They’re a well-balanced team, and tonight face a Capitals squad that underwent a number of personal changes in the off-season. After leading the league with 118 points last season, and bowing out of the post-season in the second round, it’s all about the playoffs for this team. They’ll get there again; the question is what will they do when they are there.
Tuesday, October 10th – Detroit Red Wings at Dallas Stars
8:30 PM Eastern – Sirius XM 222
A tale of two teams…both missed the playoffs in their respective Conference last season, yet most people are bullish on the Stars, even predicting that the re-tooled team will represent the West in the Stanley Cup Final come next June. The same is not being said for the once powerhouse Detroit Red Wings, who many tab to end up near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings.
Wednesday, October 11th – Calgary Flames at Los Angeles Kings
10:00 PM Eastern – Sirius XM 219
While they won the Stanley Cup in 2012, and again in 2014, this is no longer the same L.A. Kings’ team. They finished 8 points back of the final wildcard spot in the West last season, and aren’t expected to be much better this time around. Not the same expectations for the Flames, who’ve added future Hockey Hall-of-Famer forward Jaromir Jagr to their lineup, and have upgraded other aspects of their roster, in an effort to go deeper in the playoffs.
Thursday, October 12th – Minnesota Wild at Chicago Blackhawks
8:30 PM Eastern – Sirius XM 221
After being swept in the first round last April by the Nashville Predators, who are the Chicago Blackhawks? There are still many impressive part on this team, but has the Stanley Cup window closed on this group? They answered some of their critics by putting 10 goals past the Pittsburgh Penguins on opening night. As for the Wild, they compiled 106 points in the tough Central Division last season (three back of the leading Blackhawks), but came up short, yet again, in the playoffs. Most observers have both of these teams making the playoffs this season.
Friday, October 13th – Anaheim Ducks at Colorado Avalanche
8:45 PM Eastern – Sirius XM 220
The Ducks are considered one of the leading Stanley Cup contenders this season. The Avalanche are in the midst of rebuilding. Two different teams going in two different directions. Anaheim led the Pacific Division last season, while Colorado finished last in the entire NHL.