A possible first-round playoff preview. Detroit has just two wins in its last seven games and has Phoenix and Dallas nipping at its heels for the final playoff spot in the West. Among the Red Wings’ recent losses: they got absolutely smoked on home ice, 7-1, by the ‘Hawks on March 31.
Saturday (7 p.m. ET) — NY Rangers at NY Islanders
The hottest Islanders ticket in ages. At last glance, the cheapest single on StubHub was $175. The Isles have won eight of their last 10 and have an 86.3 percent chance of making the playoffs, according to Sports Club Stats. With the Rangers in town, the atmosphere in the rink should be awesome.
Saturday (7 p.m. ET) — Montreal at Toronto
Another potential first-round match-up. And what a story that would be. The last time the Habs and Leafs met in the playoffs was 1979, when a powerhouse Montreal side swept Toronto on the way to a fourth consecutive Stanley Cup title.
Saturday (7 p.m. ET) — Tampa Bay at Washington
Alex Ovechkin and Steven Stamkos go head-to-head in pursuit of the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy. Both players have 26 goals, tied for the most in the NHL. Ovechkin is the hottest of the two though, with 17 goals in his last 16 games. Plus, he’s got his team headed towards the playoffs.
Sunday (12:30 p.m. ET) — Chicago at St. Louis
A battle between two of the top sides in the Western Conference. Blues goalie Brian Elliott hasn’t allowed a goal in 189:29. He’s getting Friday night off, leaving him fresh to start versus the ‘Hawks (on NBC!).
Bolland back in, Bjugstad out with injury for Panthers
The Los Angeles Kings lost one of their most veteran defensemen on Tuesday, as the club announced Matt Greene would be out indefinitely following shoulder surgery.
Greene, 32, had only appeared in three games this season, missing extensive time with the ailment. He had recently resumed skating with teammates and looked to be on the way back to a return, but never got to the point where he was participating in drills, or taking contact.
If Greene misses extensive time, L.A. could be in the market for a defenseman come trade deadline day, like they were last year before acquiring Andrej Sekera from Carolina. Greene is one of the most playoff-tested players on the L.A. roster, with 79 games and two Stanley Cups on his resume (and another Stanley Cup Final, with Edmonton in 2006).
Looks like the Canucks will have an interesting lineup tonight
But hold on, that doesn’t necessarily mean Pedan will make his NHL debut tonight. This morning, the Canucks announced they’d called up d-man Alex Biega from AHL Utica. Theoretically, inserting Biega could allow the offensively inclined Yannick Weber to move up to forward. Biega and Weber both shoot right. Pedan shoots left.
But wait, there exists another possibility — that both Pedan and Biega could play. That will depend on Chris Tanev‘s status. He got banged up yesterday as well, though he was able to skate this morning.
Weber likely to skate as a forward tonight. Biega may play instead of Pedan. If Tanev can't go, both will play. #Canucks
The Hockey Hall of Fame selection committee added some big names on Tuesday — most notably, a pair of Hockey Hall of Famers.
Ron Francis (inducted in 2007) and Jarri Kurri (2001) have been appointed to the committee, the Hall announced. Longtime hockey scribe and hockey insider Bob McKenzie was also named; together, he and Francis and Kurri will replace an outgoing trio of Lanny McDonald, Mike Emrick and Peter Stastny.
Francis currently serves as the GM in Carolina while Kurri holds the same title with Jokerit of the KHL.
McDonald resigned his spot on the committee to become chairman, while the terms of Stastny and Emrick expired.
The Hall also announced Eric Duhatschek, Michael Farber and Bill Torrey were reappointed to the selection committee for a further three-year term.
The next big meeting for the new members of the selection committee comes in late June, when everyone gathers to consider candidates for the 2016 Hockey Hall of Fame.
The announcement for new inductees will be made on June 27. As we’ve written about in the past, the list of first-time eligible entrants isn’t exactly overwhelming, so this could be the year some “passed over” candidates get in.
Among those in that category? Eric Lindros, Dave Andreychuk, Mark Recchi and Jeremy Roenick, to name a few.