Believe it or not, there are actually two games that will take place as the league sorts itself out after a relatively tepid trade deadline. The best part is that both of these contests have serious playoff implications to boot. It’s unclear if the two biggest trade acquisitions from the four teams (Dustin Penner for the Los Angeles Kings and Chris Campoli for the Chicago Blackhawks) will play, so we’ll make an educated guess that the two teams will be without those additions.
(Note: Penner might have the best chance of playing because the Wings-Kings game starts late, but all we know right now is that he will wear No. 25 in Los Angeles.)
As always, all start times are according to Eastern Standard Time (ET).
Chicago @ Minnesota
The Blackhawks are coming off an impressive and emotional win at home against the Phoenix Coyotes, but this game is even bigger. In fact, this contest is huge for both teams, as both the Hawks and the Wild hold identical 33-23-6 records for 72 points. With two games in hand and only one less point, both teams could actually pass the Calgary Flames if it ends up being a three-point contest.
The Hawks come in red-hot, having won four in a row. Jonathan Toews has been playing especially well this month, notching an impressive 18 points in 12 February games. These are the kind of moments that great players seize, so can Captain Serious lead what might be a tired Chicago team past the pesky Wild?
Detroit @ Los Angeles
As hot as the fifth place Kings have been, they are only two points ahead of the teams racing for eighth and only three in front of the hated 11th-place Anaheim Ducks. The Red Wings have less to lose being that their current focus is catching the Vancouver Canucks for the top spot in the West.
Something must give for Detroit though, as they’re hoping to maintain a five-game road winning streak and snap a four-game losing skid against Los Angeles. One of those trends will be broken tonight.