Key games this week in the NHL
3/18 Vegas at San Jose Possible 1st round playoff preview. Vegas is comfortably in the playoffs sitting 3rd in the Pacific Division but the Sharks are trying to chase down the Calgary Flames for the top spot. The Sharks have been one of the best teams on home ice but have lost 2 straight at home. After tonight they will play 4 straight non playoff teams then have a huge showdown with the Flames at home on 3/31.
3/19 Boston at NY Islanders The Bruins are trying to fend off the Toronto Maple Leafs for home ice in the 1st round of the playoffs while the Islanders are deadlocked with the Washington Capitals for the top spot in the Metropolitan division.
3/19 Montreal at Philadelphia Both teams sitting 9th and 10th in the Eastern Conference playoff race with Montreal 3 points behind Columbus and Philadelphia 6 behind. Neither team can afford many more losses the rest of the way.
3/19 Pittsburgh at Carolina Both teams would be in the playoffs right now with Pittsburgh sitting 3rd with 88 points in the Metropolitan Division and Carolina 4th with 85. The Pens still have their eyes on winning the division trailing the Caps and Islanders by 3 points while the Hurricanes are looking to snap a 9 year playoff drought. The Hurricanes do have 2 games in hand against Pittsburgh so could chase them down for the 3rd spot.
3/19 Colorado at Minnesota Just like Montreal & Philadelphia in the Eastern Conference both teams sit 9th and 10th. Minnesota trails Arizona by 1 point with Colorado 3 points behind. The Wild are going in the wrong direction losing 4 of their last 5 and have played 1 more game than all of the playoff teams they are chasing.
3/19 Columbus at Calgary The Flames were the 2nd team to clinch a playoff spot but still in a battle with San Jose for the Pacific Division. The Blue Jackets right now have the last playoff spot and are trying to fend off Philadelphia & Montreal. Their last 7 of 10 are on the road and start a crucial 3 game Canadian swing this week against Calgary, Edmonton, and Vancouver.
3/21 Colorado at Dallas The 2nd of two crucial road games this week for the Avalanche and desperately need points to stay within shouting distance. As of today the Stars would be in the playoffs but they have lost back to back home games. Their next 3 are at home but play their last 5 of 7 to finish on the road. The good news for the Stars is that backup goalie Anton Khudobin has played well in the absence of Ben Bishop.
3/23 Nashville at Winnipeg The Jets lead the Central Division and have 2 games in hand against the Predators but are only 1 point clear so this Saturday night showdown will possibly determine the division winner. The Predators next 6 games are against playoff teams but close the last 3 against non playoff teams.