Tag: Tonight on NBCSN

Dallas Stars v Phoenix Coyotes

Tonight on NBCSN: A Pacific Division battle royal featuring Coyotes-Stars and Sharks-Kings


If you’re not infected with playoff fever yet, perhaps tonight’s doubleheader will do the trick. Four teams from the Pacific Division all battling for the lead there while also duking it out for the final two playoff spots in the Western Conference. Saddle up and get ready for a wild finish.

Dallas Stars vs. Phoenix Coyotes (8:00 p.m. ET on NBCSN)

These two teams are tied atop the Pacific with 83 points and the winner gets to steer clear of the pack for at least a night. The Stars got back into the thick of things thanks to a run that saw them win 10 of 11 games. Since then they’ve dropped their last two games putting them straight into the quagmire with everyone else. Led by Loui Eriksson, Michael Ryder, and Jamie Benn the Stars have the scoring talent up front to make you pay. What keys them to victory, however, is how well Kari Lehtonen is playing in goal. If ever there’s a slightly off night, the Stars’ climb uphill gets a bit steeper.

The Coyotes are in much the same spot as how Mike Smith goes in goal, so go the Coyotes. Lately, things have been alternating between hot and cold as the Coyotes have alternated wins and losses in their last five games. With that kind of run coming off a five-game losing streak, frustration is there. While the Coyotes offense goes through the motions at times, the guy they’ve been banking on lately is Ray Whitney. “The Wizard” has a four-game points streak with a goal and five helpers in that span. They might have it tough tonight, however, as Radim Vrbata is questionable to play.

Los Angeles Kings vs. San Jose Sharks (10:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN)

source: APThese two sit tied for third in the Pacific just one point behind both the Stars and Coyotes. While they won’t be able to catch up for the divisional lead tonight, they can help make their case stronger for either the seventh or eighth spot in the West.

For the Sharks, they’re coming off an ugly loss to the Ducks last night that saw them get dumped 5-3 and unable to beat backup goalie Jeff Deslauriers. After seeing Antti Niemi get chased in favor of Thomas Greiss last night, confidence cannot be high. At the very least the Sharks have Joe Pavelski and Martin Havlat playing well recently. They could stand to see Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau do a lot more. It’s stunning to see the Sharks even in a position where they have to fight for the playoffs. So much for being Stanley Cup hopefuls.

The Kings, on the other hand, are in the midst of an era of good feelings. Since acquiring Jeff Carter, the Kings offense has picked up dramatically averaging over three goals a game. That might not sound huge to you, but considering they were barely averaging over two a game before he arrived, it’s an immense improvement. The Kings’ record since Carter’s arrival? 8-3-0.

Keying their resurgence are two Kings fixtures in Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown. Brown has points in 10 of his last 11 games and Kopitar has points in nine of his last 10 including six goals and five assists. It’s taken almost the entire season, but with how the Kings are playing now this is the team we expected to see all year long. That’s bad news for the Sharks and everyone else in the playoff hunt out West.

Tonight on NBCSN: Doubleheader action with Rangers-Devils and Sharks-Ducks

New York Rangers v New Jersey Devils

You can’t ask for more when it comes to the excitement of playoff season and there’s a pair of games with postseason jockeying in mind tonight on NBCSN.

New York Rangers vs. New Jersey Devils (7:30 p.m. ET)

The Rangers are in a bit of a funk and while they’ve finally got their lineup back in order after a few injury hiccups, they’re in need of some wins. Meanwhile, the Devils are looking to get into the hunt with the Penguins and Flyers for the fourth and fifth seeds.

The Rangers have dropped five of their last seven and sit just one point ahead of Pittsburgh. They’ve taken two tough losses in a row at the hands of the Pens and Avalanche but with Henrik Lundqvist back from a bout with the flu and Ryan Callahan and Michael Del Zotto feeling healthy again, it should only be a matter of time before they’re all back into form. New York could stand to see a bit more out of Brad Richards as it’s been Marian Gaborik who’s done most of the offensive heavy lifting for them of late.

New Jersey, meanwhile, is seeing Martin Brodeur look more like the goalie we’ve been accustomed to seeing over the years. While he was lit up by the Penguins on Saturday in a 5-2 loss, he was New Jersey’s best player. That’s saying a lot considering how great Ilya Kovalchuk and Zach Parise have been this season but even Brodeur is giving Kovalchuk tips on how to score in the shootout. Opposite of the Rangers, New Jersey has won five of their last seven games and sit five points behind the Flyers for fifth. Finishing sixth wouldn’t be so bad seeing how you get to face the Southeast Division champion. Maybe the Devils want to cool it on that whole “winning” thing.

source: Getty ImagesSan Jose Sharks vs. Anaheim Ducks (10:30 p.m. ET)

The Sharks are in a Mexican standoff of sorts with Los Angeles, Calgary, Dallas, Colorado and Phoenix for the final two spots in the Western Conference and getting hot at any time now means taking control of a playoff spot. As it is, San Jose is tied in ninth with the Kings at 82 points, one back of Pacific leading Dallas as well as Colorado and Phoenix who sit in seventh and eighth.

Perhaps the Sharks are rounding into form. Martin Havlat is back healthy and he got his goal scoring touch back against the Red Wings potting two goals including the overtime winner. With the amount of talent the Sharks have, there’s no reason for them to miss out on the playoffs.

The Ducks, meanwhile, are virtually toast in the playoff race but they would enjoy playing the spoiler for everyone. If Bruce Boudreau can keep his temper down when it comes to officiating, having their top players run roughshod on opponents can make anyone’s life hell. From Teemu Selanne to Bobby Ryan to Ryan Getzlaf to Corey Perry, that’s a lot of high-end talent to help make everyone else miserable. The Sharks are hoping they can accept their lot in life for at least one night.

Tonight on NBCSN: Capitals look to rebound against streaking Blackhawks

Alex Ovechkin, Dylan Olsen

The Washington Capitals are in quite the fight to make the playoffs and the Chicago Blackhawks would like nothing more than to add to their misery when the two face off at United Center (7:00 p.m. ET on NBCSN). The Hawks have some motivation of their own as they’re just four points back of the Predators for fifth in the West and five back of fourth.

The Caps were cruising along on a hot streak that saw them win four in a row until they ran into the Winnipeg Jets on Friday. The Caps are just two points up on the Jets and Sabres for eighth and getting back on track with a win would be huge. Leading the way of late for the Caps are Brooks Laich and Marcus Johansson. Laich has four goals in the last six games and Johansson has three assists in the last two games.

What about Alex Ovechkin though? In the Caps’ last five games, Ovechkin has three goals and an assist with two of those tallies coming against the Islanders. It’s decent production, but if the Caps are going to make the postseason they’ll need more out of Ovechkin than just his ability to pick stunning upsets in the NCAA tournament.

One guy the Caps will be going without today is Tomas Vokoun as he’s got a nagging injury. Michal Neuvirth and Braden Holtby will hold things down in the meantime.

Chicago, on the other hand, has started to figure themselves out even without Jonathan Toews in the lineup. While Toews is still battling a concussion, guys like Marian Hossa, Patrick Kane, and Patrick Sharp have all elevated their games. The Hawks have been getting solid goaltending as well with Corey Crawford doing his job and it has paid off as Chicago has won six of their last eight games.

Later tonight on NBCSN: Sharks look to continue Red Wings’ road misery

Justin Abdelkader, Ryane Clowe

It’s the final game of a four-game road trip for the Detroit Red Wings, and they couldn’t be happier to see it ending. The San Jose Sharks, however, would like to see them head back home winless after the two square off at the Shark Tank (10:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN).

Detroit’s road trip has been a nightmare. From not having stars like Pavel Datsyuk and Nicklas Lidstrom already to dropping three in a row to playoff rivals and hopefuls alike in Nashville, Los Angeles, and Anaheim, you couldn’t ask for things to be any worse. While they’ll get Datsyuk back in the lineup tonight, they’ll lose Johan Franzen in the process. Meanwhile, Lidstrom’s prognosis continues to get murkier as he’ll be out at least another week.

The Wings have dropped five of their last six games and are just one point ahead of Nashville for fourth in the Western Conference. With the Blues pulling away in the Central (they lead by seven on Detroit), the Wings’ focus for now should be on making sure they get home ice in the first round.

San Jose, meanwhile, is in the perilous position of just trying to get into the playoffs. The Sharks are one point back of both Phoenix and Colorado for seventh and eighth in the West, but they’re also tied with Los Angeles and Calgary. It’s not the wild, wild, west without a reason after all.

San Jose is starting to get things turned around. They’ve won two of their last three after suffering through a five-game losing streak. Given that it’s the West and everyone seems to make a run at some point, the Sharks are hoping that time is now for them so they can secure a playoff spot.

Now that Martin Havlat is back in action, San Jose is hopeful that he’ll be the key to sparking their slumping offense. After all, since they traded Jamie McGinn to Colorado, things haven’t gone too well. While the offense has been rough, they could stand to use a better effort out of Antti Niemi in goal while they’re at it. Then again, with how Jimmy Howard and Joey MacDonald have played in goal of late, maybe Niemi won’t need to be a superstar for just this game.

Tonight on NBCSN: Hockey East tournament semifinals

Parker Milner, Cason Hohmann

It’s college hockey’s tournament season and a pair of games come your way tonight with the Hockey East semifinals taking place in Boston at TD Garden. One thing that won’t be lacking is history between the four teams remaining who are vying for the conference title and a secured spot in the NCAA tournament.

Providence College vs. No. 1 Boston College (5:00 p.m. ET on NBCSN)

Providence earned their spot in the semifinals by stunning the conference’s second seed UMass-Lowell, beating them in three games last week. Coach Nate Leaman’s team was buoyed by the stellar play of goalie Alex Beaudry who shut out Lowell in Game 3 stopping 29 shots in doing so.

The Friars don’t pack a lot of offensive punch with Ross Mauermann, Tim Schaller, and Derek Army handling the bulk of their goal scoring with Schaller leading the way with 14. If they get a lead, they’ll do their part to burrow in and protect the lead. Providence has but one NHL draftee on the roster with junior defenseman Alex Velischek being a Penguins product.

Boston College we’ve seen plenty out of this season and their dynamic offense led by Rangers prospect Chris Kreider and buoyed by Flames prospect Johnny Gaudreau and senior Barry Almeida make the Eagles more than dangerous. Junior defenseman Brian Dumoulin (Carolina) is the top scoring defenseman in Hockey East and is a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award. Getting scoring from all areas is something BC does well.

What’s made their story in the tournament interesting is while they had fits with UMass last week it was goalie Parker Milner who stood tall. If Providence’s defense makes life hard on BC, Milner will need to be more on point to help the Eagles make the finals. Expect coach Jerry York’s team to be inspired by playing in the Garden where they’ve had tons of success over the years.

No. 5 Boston University vs. No. 11 Maine (8:00 p.m. ET on NBCSN)

source:  Boston U. is coming off a weekend that saw them pull off an incredible comeback in Game 3 against New Hampshire winning 5-4 in double overtime after being down 4-1 as late as the second period. After what’s been a tumultuous season for the Terriers, they’re back in a familiar place in the tournament semifinals.

With Stars prospect Alex Chiasson providing the heroics and Sharks prospect Matt Nieto lending support, BU has a lot of weapons. Add in 2009 national championship-winning goalie in Avs prospect Kieran Millan and BU shapes up to be a very dangerous team. With 13 NHL draftees on the roster, while BU may not have impressed last week, they’re more than capable of making a deep run.

Maine is no slouch either and their success in getting through a nasty, physical three-game series with Merrimack last week sets them up well for what should be war with BU. The Black Bears are led by Hobey Baker Award finalist Spencer Abbott (pictured), the nation’s leading scorer. With 20 goals and 59 assists, Abbott brings the punch on offense with guys like Joey Diamond, Brian Flynn and Matt Mangene following suit.

Goalie Dan Sullivan will need to hope his defense plays as tough as they did against Merrimack to make his life easier. If the Terriers get rolling, he could be in for a long night. One thing’s for sure between these two teams, there will be penalties. Maine was the second-most penalized team in Hockey East while BU was third.