With the trade deadline’s new car smell starting to wear off, NHL teams can go back to what is usually on their minds: the playoffs and vengeance (one can also imagine women being on their minds a bit too).
Anyway, let’s take a look at the league’s five for Friday.
Vancouver Canucks (39-22-2, 80 pts) at Chicago Blackhawks (42-16-5, 89 pts) – 8:30 PM ET
Though their rivalry lacks the history of Red Wings – Blackhawks, last year’s brutal second round series instilled plenty of snarl. The bout holds the added advantage of hockey’s favorite “nature versus nurture” argument: will Chicago’s borderline All-Star team win despite its much maligned goalies or will all-world netminder Roberto Luongo shut them down?
New Jersey Devils (38-21-3, 79 pts) at Calgary Flames (30-24-9, 69 pts) – 9:00 PM ET
The Devils are seeking revenge against former coach and champion frowner Brent Sutter tonight. Sutter fled the team to work with his brother (and Flames GM) Darryl. Unfortunately, the Devils are known for wreaking revenge by boring people to tears.
Rest of the games after the jump
Philadelphia Flyers (33-26-3, 69 pts) at Buffalo Sabres (33-20-9, 75 pts) – 7:30 PM ET
Although Buffalo has a (fairly) comfortable grip on the fifth spot in the East, they’re 0-2 since coming back from Vancouver and are 2-6-2 in their last 10 games. Time for them to shape up.
Nashville Predators (35-23-5, 75 pts) at Detroit Red Wings (29-22-12, 70 pts) – 7:30 PM ET
Before Chicago gained new life, the Predators carved out an existence as the Susan Lucci
of the Central division; they seemingly always ended up second to Detroit. Now they finally have the chance to make it difficult for the Red Wings to even make the playoffs.
Minnesota Wild (31-27-4, 66 pts) at Edmonton Oilers (19-38-6, 44 pts) – 9:00 PM ET
What’s the perfect remedy for an awful defense? A game against the Wild! Edmonton is probably going to lose anyway, though. Sorry, Oilers fans.