Mick Kern from NHL Network Radio here. We’re running down the must-hear NHL games of the week, including the Boston at Vegas and Columbus visits Winnipeg:
Saturday, October 14th – Washington Capitals at Philadelphia Flyers
7:00 PM Eastern – Sirius XM 221
Who said Alexander Ovechkin was over the hill? The future Hockey Hall-of-Famer only scored seven goal in his first two games, as the Capitals burst out of the starting blocks. It’s all about the playoff for the franchise, but they have to get there first, and the Eastern Conference is tightening up. Many expect the Flyers to be in the playoff race this time around, after falling 7 points short this past spring.
Sunday, October 15th – Boston Bruins at Vegas Golden Knights
7:00 PM Eastern – Sirius XM 91
Thanks to solid goaltending by Marc-Andre Fleury, and timely goal scoring by James Neal, the expansion Golden Knights surprised everyone by winning games out-of-the-gate. While only the Golden Knights’ Twitter master believes the team will qualify for the playoffs this season, Vegas will not be an automatic two points. The young Bruins will have to bring their A game in order to pick up those two points. They recently lost 4-0 and 6-3 to the rebuilding Colorado Avalanche.
Monday, October 16th – Tampa Bay Lightning at Detroit Red Wings
7:30 PM Eastern – Sirius XM 91
Both of these teams missed the playoff cut last season, Detroit for the first time in a quarter century, and Tampa by one point. While the Red Wings are now in a rebuilding phase, the Lightning appear set to take over the Atlantic Division, and challenge to represent the Eastern Conference in the 2018 Stanley Cup Final.
Tuesday, October 17th – Columbus Blue Jackets at Winnipeg Jets
7:45 PM Eastern – Sirius XM 211
Can the Winnipeg Jets make it back to the playoffs this season? Can the Columbus Blue Jackets get past the first round? Time will tell, but many have the Jackets making a lot of noise in the East this year. As for the Jets, it’s all about goaltending. Do they have top notch netminding in Steve Mason? Winnipeg recently upended the Oilers 5-2 for their first win of this season.
Wednesday, October 18th – Chicago Blackhawks at St. Louis Blues
8:00 PM Eastern – Sirius XM 219
Always a good time when these two old rivals meet up. The Blackhawks began this season lightning the lamp over and over again, which catapulted them into an early lead in the tough Central Division. The Blues also enjoyed a good start out of the gates, winning their first four games.
Thursday, October 19th – Carolina Hurricanes at Calgary Flames
9:00 PM Eastern – Sirius XM 207
Many people have tabbed the Hurricanes to be a playoff team this season in the Eastern Conference. They finished 8 points back last year, and are looking to move up. The Flames were in the first Western wildcard last season, and will be in a season long dogfight again this time around in order to qualify again. And they have added future Hockey Hall of Fame forward Jaromir Jagr to their lineup.
Friday, October 20th – Vancouver Canucks at Buffalo Sabres
7:00 PM Eastern – Sirius XM 91
The two 1970 NHL expansion cousins are both franchises hoping for better days ahead. Nobody picked the Canucks to make a serious run at a Western Conference playoff spot this season, but how much will they improve on the 69 points they picked up in 2016-17? The Sabres had 78 points last season, which placed them 17 points back of the last Eastern Conference playoff slot. Same question; how much better will Buffalo be this season?