Hey, gang. I know that March Madness is sweeping continent, but hockey is still going on.
We’re almost a little over a month away from the end of the NHL regular season, and we have juicy matchups heading into the stretch drive. These games have playoff implications, while some have people battling old teams and rivals. We’ll go by chronological order.
St. Louis Blues at Pittsburgh Penguins, 1 p.m. ET (NHLN, Fox Sports Midwest, Root Pittsburgh): This could be a possible Stanley Cup Final preview as the Blues have taken off under Ryan Miller. The Penguins have lapped the field in the Metropolitan Division, but need points to keep up with Boston for home ice in the East.
Chicago Blackhawks at Boston Bruins, 7 p.m. ET (NHLN, Comcast Chicago, NESN): The last time the Hawks were in Boston, they left with the Stanley Cup after a late third period-rally. Boston is fighting Pittsburgh for the top overall seed in the Eastern Conference. Lots of playoff ramifications in this one.
New York Rangers at Vancouver Canucks, 10 p.m. ET (TSN, MSG): Alain Vigneault returns to Vancouver and could see a team that is a shell of its former self. It’s not all John Tortorella’s fault, but he may feel that fielding questions from the New York media is a cakewalk compared to the mess General Manager Mike Gillis has left for him.
Columbus Blue Jackets at Philadelphia Flyers, 7 p.m. ET (Fox Sports Ohio, Comcast Philadelphia): Sergei Bobrovsky and Nathan Horton have willed the Jackets into playoff contention, and the Flyers have righted the ship under new coach Craig Berube. How much joy would Bobrovsky feel if he helped dent the playoff chances of the team that gave up on him a couple of seasons ago?
Buffalo Sabres at St. Louis Blues, 8 p.m. ET (MSG, Fox Sports Midwest): Ryan Miller gets to face his old team, and the Sabres are probably continuing to play out the string as they’ve been since January.
Columbus Blue Jackets at Dallas Stars, 8:30 p.m. (Fox Sports Ohio, Fox Sports Southwest): Not only will this be a game that may have playoff ramifications for both sides, but this will be the makeup game from when Rich Peverley had his cardiac incident. It could be very hard on both clubs.
New York Rangers at Montreal Canadiens, 7 p.m. ET (CBC… regional, MSG, NHLN, RDS): Ranger fans have been sweating it out ever since the Martin St. Louis trade. The Habs are slugging it out for a playoff spot as well as the Blueshirts. This is the last game of the season for both teams, so it could be all or nothing.
Detroit Red Wings at St. Louis Blues, 3 p.m. ET (NBC, NBCSN): Could this be the game ends the Red Wings 22-year playoff streak? It’s also second and final meeting of the season with their old division rival. Will the Blues have a chance to win the President’s Trophy (best overall regular season record) and a shot to sew up home-ice advantage? The Blues may have things sewn up, so they may not be playing their stars. However, they would relish a shot at knocking out their old rivals.
Colorado Avalanche at Anaheim Ducks, 8 p.m. ET (Altitude, Fox Sports Prime Ticket): There’s been a lot of hostility bubbling up in this burgeoning rivalry. The first game of the year saw Patrick Roy make his coaching debut and shoved the partition after getting frustrated with some rough play. Ducks forward Corey Perry gave Roy a response.
Dallas Stars at Phoenix Coyotes, 9 p.m. ET (Fox Sports Southwest, Fox Sports Arizona): It would be fitting in the last game of the season could be one that decides the final playoff place in the West. Will the Stars rally around their teammate Rich Peverley and get that last spot? Or will the Coyotes complete their turnaround and get back into the postseason?
Are these the games you want to watch? Did I leave something off the list? Comment below or tweet me @DanMountSports.
It’s that time of the week where I do the best, worst and what the heck of the week with my First star, Worst star and Who blew up the Death Star?
Forget fancy saves, goals or spin-o-ramas, the San Jose Sharks show their class signing a longtime fan, Sam Tageson. The 17-year old has a heart condition and his wish was to skate with the team. The Sharks signed him to a one-day contract, and he got to be introduced with the team. Here’s video of this.
Blake Comeau of Columbus boards Brendan Smith of Detroit. Here’s the suspension video from the NHL.
Who blew up the Death Star?
I don’t know who blew up the Empire’s super weapon, but Dion Phaneuf blew up Leafs’ teammate James vanRiemsdyk.
That’s it for today. See you all later in the week. Take care.
Dan Mount is an NHL columnist for TJRSports.com. He is based out of Watertown, N.Y.