Washington Capitals at Toronto Maple Leafs: The Maple Leafs enter the week two points out of a playoff spot with games in hand on the teams above them. But those extra games are only meaningful if you win them and non-playoff teams like Washington always seem to be a lot tougher to beat at this time of year.
Calgary Flames at Nashville Predators: One of the toughest tests of the season for Calgary. Nashville is locked in a battle with Detroit and Buffalo for the Presidents’ Trophy and enters the week with a record of 5-1-2 since acquiring Peter Forsberg from Philadelphia. Plus, few teams are better than Nashville at home or worse than Calgary on the road.
Minnesota Wild at Buffalo Sabres: You only get to see this matchup once every three years. While it doesn’t look sexy on paper, it might end up being one of the better games of the week. Buffalo continues to roll without seven regulars in its lineup while the Wild are currently among the NHL’s hottest teams – they enter the week having gone 6-1-3 in their past 10.
Montreal Canadiens at St. Louis Blues: These teams seem to be headed in opposite directions. The Habs have been in a tailspin since January but are still in the hunt to make the top eight in the Eastern Conference. St. Louis has improved as the season has gone on and has even posted some wins after dealing away Bill Guerin and Keith Tkachuk before the trade deadline.
Vancouver Canucks at Anaheim Ducks: The Canucks seem like they’ll only go as far as Roberto Luongo will take them, which is OK because he’s a pretty good horse to attach your cart to. Anaheim offers an interesting test for him and the Canucks because the Ducks boast one of the Western Conference’s best offences. It’s also a potential playoff matchup.