Mick Kern from NHL Network Radio here. We’re running down the must-hear NHL games of the week, including Los Angeles at Detroit and Tampa Bay at Boston:
Saturday, November 25th – New York Islanders at Ottawa Senators
7:00 PM Eastern – Sirius XM 220
Both of these teams are in the middle of the Eastern Conference playoff battle, with a quarter of the season now in the books. For the Senators, when will the recently acquired forward Matt Duchene begin to put some points up on the board? For the Islanders, will their goaltending be steady enough to nail down to playoff spot? And when will superstar John Tavares sign a new contract?
Sunday, November 26th – Vancouver Canucks at New York Rangers
2:00 PM Eastern – Sirius XM 91
This rematch of the classic 1994 Stanley Cup Final (won by the Rangers in 7 games) features a reinvigorated Rangers’ team that has recovered from a lousy start. They’re in the middle of quite a dogfight for one of the Eastern Conference playoff invites, and their home record is much better than their road record. As for the visitors, the Canucks weren’t expected to challenge for the Western Conference playoff spot this season, and thanks to some feisty efforts, they find themselves in a battle for a wildcard spot, not that far out of first place in the Atlantic Division.
Monday, November 27th – Philadelphia Flyers at Pittsburgh Penguins
7:00 PM Eastern – Sirius XM 91
Always a good battle when the two Pennsylvania teams met up on ice. The Penguins are the two time defending Stanley Cup champions, and are most likely yet again headed to the playoffs come mid-April, though they’ve been beatable so far this season. As for the Flyers, they’ve pretty much played .500 hockey to this point, which won’t be enough to earn an Eastern playoff spot.
Tuesday, November 28th – Los Angeles Kings at Detroit Red Wings
7:10 PM Eastern – Sirius XM 223
Who knew the Kings would be this good? Los Angeles, not all that far removed from two Stanley Cup Championships, are amongst the Pacific Division leaders, though they’ve recently cooled off a bit. Who knew Detroit would be this good? Dylan Larkin and Anthony Mantha have been the leaders for a surprising Red Wings team, who early on in the season are in the running for an Eastern Conference playoff spot.
Wednesday, November 29th – Tampa Bay Lightning at Boston Bruins
7:30 PM Eastern – Sirius XM 219
Everybody pretty much picked the Tampa Bay Lightning to lead the Atlantic Division, to challenge for the Atlantic Division lead, to challenge for the league lead, and to be a Stanley Cup contender this season. So far so good for all of those, except, of course, the Stanley Cup. We’ll wait on that one. The Lightning don’t appear to have a weakness, and tonight face a Bruins team that has had to deal with injuries, and are in tough in the East.
Thursday, November 30th – Toronto Maple Leafs at Edmonton Oilers
9:00 PM Eastern – Sirius XM 211
This was the trendy pick to be the 2018 Stanley Cup Final. Still could happen, but the Oilers will have to change direction drastically in order to just make the playoffs. They have been one of the great disappointments of the season. Not the same with the Maple Leafs, who got off to a rip roaring start, came back to Earth a bit, and have picked up their winning ways again.
Friday, December 1st – Anaheim Ducks at Columbus Blue Jackets
6:45 PM Eastern – Sirius XM 221
Before Anaheim ran into a frustrating spat of injuries, many had suggested these two teams could meet up in the 2018 Stanley Cup Final. The Ducks have played better as of late, while the Blue Jackets are keeping pace with the surprising New Jersey Devils at the top of the Atlantic Division standings.