For those of you not feeling watching the NFL on Sunday, or looking for something to watch until Sunday gets around, here are a few hockey games worth watching this weekend. There are some good ones to keep an eye on.
New York Islanders (3-3-3) at Pittsburgh Penguins (7-2-0). This matchup has become an underrated rivalry. A few years back, if you can remember, these two teams had 2 games in 9 days resulting in several hundred penalty minutes, and bitter feelings ever since. Last year, they skated to one of the more entertaining first rounds, where Pittsburgh won 4 games to 2, in a series much closer than the final count. This year, the Islanders retooled for success, with pickups of Cal Clutterbuck and Pierre-Marc Bouchard, as they take on the always dangerous Penguins for the first time this season.
Anaheim [Mighty] Ducks (7-3-0) at Ottawa Senators (4-3-2). This is the second matchup of these two teams who made one of the bigger trades in the off-season, with the teams swapping Bobby Ryan to Ottawa for young stud Jakob Silfverberg. The first matchup was in Anaheim, where the [Mighty] Ducks won 4-1, putting a team record 56 shots on poor Craig Anderson. It remains to be seen how the Sens will respond.
San Jose Sharks (8-1-1) at Montreal Canadiens (6-4-0). San Jose just tasted regulation defeat for the first time this season last night in Boston. With a team as strong as they seem to be, they should be back with a vengeance Saturday. However, the Sharks have been notoriously streaky the last few years, hitting slides where they seem stuck in a funk with no way out. Montreal is coming off of a great showing against Anaheim, winning 4-1, and look to keep that rolling Saturday night at Le Centre Bell. Michael Bournival is the player to keep an eye on, with 2 points against the strong [Mighty] Ducks, and seems to be emerging early in the season.
Minnesota Wild (5-3-3) at Chicago Blackhawks (6-1-3). This is another first round of the playoffs rematch, but unlike the Isles-Pens series, this one wasn’t as close, with the Hawks taking the series 4-1. The Wild have tinkered with their team since, adding young talents of Nino Niederrieter and Mikael Granlund. The Hawks are defending Cup champs, and haven’t changed their team much. Look for a tough grudge match.
Winnipeg Jets (4-5-2) at Colorado Avalanche (8-1-0). This matchup features two very young cores, in different stages of development. The Jets have a great nucleus of young players, but are still growing, and showing signs of it. The Avs have an even better young team, with a couple top 3 draft picks and other top tier offense. The Jets have a good offense, starting with Evander Kane and Dustin Byfuglien, but look out for the Avs’ Gabriel Landeskog, Matt Duchene, and Nathan MacKinnon among other guys to tear apart the Winnipeg D, and also for Winnipeg to strike back in this divisional matchup.
It’s gonna be a fun weekend in hockey, so happy watching everyone!