Dallas Stars at San Jose Sharks: The first of two straight games these division rivals will play at the Shark Tank this week. Dallas currently holds a Western Conference playoff spot, but cracks are beginning to show – coach Dave Tippett again called out goalie Marty Turco for his play over the weekend and Brendan Morrow, Mike Modano and Matthew Barnaby are still recovering from injuries. Two losses in San Jose would only add to that pain.
Edmonton Oilers at Vancouver Canucks: The Canucks enter the week with only one regulation loss in their past 10 games, making them one of the league’s hottest teams. That doesn’t bode well for the Oilers. Edmonton is currently outside the top eight in the West and must feel like every game against a division rival like Vancouver is one they need to win.
Buffalo Sabres at New Jersey Devils: A clash of best on best. New Jersey (Atlantic) and Buffalo (Northeast) lead their respective divisions despite using completely different styles – no team has scored more than the Sabres this year while no team has allowed fewer goals than the Devils. Martin Brodeur has been key to New Jersey’s success with nine shutouts and 30 wins already and will get a good test from Buffalo’s high-octane offence.
Anaheim Ducks at Nashville Predators: Another matchup of division leaders. Ducks defencemen Chris Pronger and Francois Beauchemin and goalie J.S. Giguere are off the injured list, but they’ll still have their hands full with the Predators. Nashville has scored more goals than any other team in the Western Conference and enters the week having won nine of its past 10 games.
Pittsburgh Penguins at Montreal Canadiens: Super Sidney visits the Bell Centre for a Super Bowl Sunday matinee. The Kid starts the week with a 10-point lead in the scoring race and has his Pittsburgh Penguins in an Eastern Conference playoff position. Crosby grew up cheering for the Habs – the team that once drafted his father Troy – and will have a chance to strut his stuff in front of a national audience on CBC.