The NHL has hit it’s stride and technically we are approaching mid season. The matchups are becoming more intense as some teams are becoming clear-cut favorites in the east and west.
There are some teams that are showing no signs of weakness and others that look like they are planning for the NHL entry draft this summer. There is nothing like the NHL playoffs and there are some games this week that could match the intensity of the postseason.
Every game really does matter a little bit more in a shorter season so there is more than just pride on the line when these teams meet later this week.
5. Nashville at Anaheim, Wednesday-The Predators head to Orange County for a date with the streaking Ducks of Anaheim. By streaking I don’t mean they are naked and headed to the quad. I mean they have would be the hottest team in the NHL if Chicago wasn’t on an even bigger unbeaten march.
4. Montreal at Toronto, Wednesday-Two of the NHL’s Original Six square off in the Air Canada Centre in the middle of the week. The rivalry seems like it has stepped up with intensity since both teams seem to be playoff bound this year. With potential eastern conference seedings at stake, look for Montreal to avenge an embarrassing 6-0 home defeat to Toronto.
3. Washington at Philadelphia, Wednesday-What was once the best rivalry in the old Patrick Division no longer has the bite of yesteryear. However the Capitals and Flyers have both been hot lately, looking to turn around their seasons after slow starts. Alexander Ovechkin and Claude Giroux are looking like the players we expected them to be, leading their clubs upward in the standings
2. Montreal at Boston, Sunday-The best rivalry in hockey is renewed Sunday night when the Canadiens invade TD Gardens with the Northeast Division lead on the line. Both clubs are playing great hockey right now, which is great for the NHL and even better for this classic rivalry.
1. Chicago at Detroit, Sunday-Though the rivalry may not be as heated as the Montreal and Boston battles, the Blackhawks and Red Wings have a pretty storied rivalry of their own. What makes this matchup even more dynamic is the potential unbeaten streak that could be at stake. The Red Wings have had a rough start to the season and would like nothing more than to end the Hawks’ NHL-record streak.