Phoenix Coyotes at Edmonton Oilers: It’s safe to assume that there will be a few damp eyes at Rexall Centre as the Oilers fete Mark Messier and send his No. 11 to the rafters. Few players have played the game with more emotion than Messier and that will be reflected in the tribute that will be taken in by former teammate and current Coyotes coach Wayne Gretzky. Plus, Edmonton is ninth in the Western Conference and will be looking to make up ground in its first home game since Feb. 11.
Nashville Predators at San Jose Sharks: The Western Conference powerhouses meet for the final time this season but feature different looks this time around. Centre Peter Forsberg is now in Nashville while Craig Rivet will be patrolling the Sharks blue-line after being acquired from Montreal. The Predators have taken two of three games from San Jose this season and will be looking for another meaningful win as they try to prove they’re the best in the West.
Ottawa Senators at Atlanta Thrashers: These teams are jostling for position in the Eastern Conference. The Thrashers believe they finally have the depth they need after acquiring Keith Tkachuk and will be looking to get on a roll after making that big deal. Also, Atlanta’s Marian Hossa and Ottawa’s Dany Heatley were traded for one another before last season and remain two of the best players in the league. They’re always eager to put it to their old mates.
Buffalo Sabres at Toronto Maple Leafs: The Sabres enter the week as the league’s top team and will be playing their second game at Air Canada Centre in five days. The Maple Leafs continue to stay in the tight race in the Eastern Conference and will need a big effort against Buffalo. These teams have played some exciting games this season and its hard to imagine this won’t be another one.
Minnesota Wild at Vancouver Canucks: The Northwest Division seems destined to be decided on the final weekend of the season. Vancouver is on top entering the week but Minnesota and Calgary are only three points back, which makes a divisional game like this one even more important. The Wild have won four of six meetings so far this season.