This is the Weekend Watch. It’s a guide of what to watch this weekend.
Saturday: Montreal at New York Rangers, 7pm ET
This will be Sean Avery’s season debut at MSG. (The small print on that banner reads “Send Torts To The Whale”, in case you were wondering.) I honestly have no idea what to expect — the demotion to Connecticut might’ve humbled Avery, but the quick recall and show of support from the Ranger faithful might’ve neutralized it. Avery could play 11 very ordinary minutes against the Habs, or he could incite a riot. Anything is possible. (Or as Kevin Garnett would say, ANYTHING IS POSSIBLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLE!)
Saturday: Boston at Toronto, 7pm ET
The Leafs are atop the Northeast division. The Bruins are in the basement. The Leafs haven’t lost in regulation at home. The Bruins have just one win on the road. Up is down. Left is right. The new NHL and different and scary and I don’t like it.
Saturday: Anaheim at Detroit, 7pm ET
A very sneaky “both teams are pissed, this could get ugly” game. Detroit’s scoring woes and six-game losing streak are well documented, but the Ducks aren’t in much better spirits. This will be the finale of Anaheim’s seven-game road trip (one that hasn’t gone especially well) and the Ducks have already participated in two testy, fight-filled affairs with the Predators and Blue Jackets this season.
Saturday: Edmonton at Phoenix, 10pm ET
I’m officially moving Edmonton into “must-watch” territory. Can you blame me? The Oilers have won six straight and sit atop both the Northwest Division and Western Conference — and the team’s average age is like 15 years old. I’m also super curious to see how this game plays out for Nikolai Khabibulin. The last time he was in Arizona, it was to serve hard time at Maricopa County Jail. That kind of thing sticks with a man.
Sunday: Vancouver at Chicago, 7pm ET
That is all.
For two periods, the Dallas Stars seemed to say, “Are you sure the Washington Capitals are the best team in the NHL?”
They chased Braden Holtby and built a 4-0 lead through those first 40 minutes, and that was enough … but barely. The Stars beat the Capitals 4-3 on Saturday, which accomplished the following:
- Dallas ended Washington’s winning streak at five games. The Stars have now won three straight.
- This win slides the Stars ahead of the Chicago Blackhawks for first place in the highly competitive Central Division. While both teams sit at 77 standings points, Dallas holds three games in hand.
- By passing Chicago, the Stars now lead the Western Conference as a whole.
Impressive stuff. Some might even call it a statement game, although others may hold that nail-biting ending against them (possibly arguing that the Stars’ flaws may come back to haunt them in the playoffs).
Dallas’ biggest concern likely has little to do with doubters. Instead, they must monitor the statuses of forwards Tyler Seguin and Cody Eakin.
Long story short, the Stars are red-hot, yet bigger challenges likely lie ahead.
The Chicago Blackhawks are on edge on Saturday, and it’s not because of what’s currently a close game against the Anaheim Ducks.
(Not that they’re indifferent toward a match against their opponents from last year’s conference final match, mind you.)
Instead, the Blackhawks are quite concerned about the health of Marian Hossa, who needed help off of the ice following an awkward, scary-looking crash into the boards. (Hampus Lindholm delivered the hip check that sent Hossa sprawling, in case you’re wondering.)
You can see that moment in the video above, while My Regular Face’s GIF also captures that troubling moment:
It’s too early to tell if Hossa will bounce back or miss some time from this. Stay tuned for potential updates.
Update: Joel Quenneville seems optimistic about Hossa, broadly speaking:
Ryan Getzlaf scored the overtime game-winner as the Ducks won 3-2 (OT).
If it weren’t for Mike Yeo and the Minnesota Wild, you could argue that the Florida Panthers suffered from the worst night so far.
You can see that Saturday was unpleasant merely from looking at the scoreboard: the Nashville Predators pummeled the Panthers by an unkind score of 5-0.
The pain goes beyond that … literally so.
For one thing, Quinton Howden suffered an upper-body injury and did not return. That’s no good, but if you want to feel sick to your stomach, footage of Brandon Pirri‘s likely lower-body injury (ankle maybe?) may do the trick.
(Seriously, you may be happier if you don’t look.)
The Panthers didn’t make an announcement about Pirri one way or another, so we’ll see if he somehow avoided anything significant.
Either way, it was a night this team would like to forget.
It’s unlikely that Chris Stewart will generate another 30-goal season in the NHL, but he still might be missed by the Anaheim Ducks.
The team announced that the ornery forward is expected to miss four-to-eight weeks with a fractured jaw. If that’s the recovery window, Stewart may go into the playoffs a little rusty (if he can get in any regular season games at all).
The Ducks didn’t elaborate, but the Columbus Dispatch’s Aaron Portzline believes that the injury happened during a fight with Dalton Prout of the Columbus Blue Jackets. You can see that brawl in the video above.
One bright side for Anaheim: if they believe that they need to replace what Stewart brings to the table (rugged play with a dash of offense), then at least this injury happened before the the Feb. 29 trade deadline.