WEEKEND WATCH LIST
SATURDAY: Detroit at N.Y. Rangers
The Red Wings are battling Boston and Philadelphia for the last Wild Card spot in the East, while the Rangers are trying to stay in front of the Islanders in the Metropolitan. Or are they? Playing the Atlantic Division champion Panthers looks like a better option compared to facing red-hot Pittsburgh to open the playoffs.
SATURDAY: Nashville at Dallas
The Predators are locked in to facing the Pacific Division champion in the first round, but this game could be huge for the Stars. Tied with St. Louis atop the Central, Dallas would love to win the division and face the fading Wild to open the postseason. A loss here could give the Blues the edge and pit the Stars against the Blackhawks.
SUNDAY: Philadelphia at N.Y. Islanders
As we noted above with the Rangers, the Islanders might be best off sitting right where they are and not moving up to face Pittsburgh in the first round. The Flyers need every point they can get just to get into the playoffs. Philadelphia has won its last two meetings with the Isles by a combined 8–1, so this is a nice matchup to close the season.
SUNDAY: Anaheim at Washington
The final game of the NHL’s regular season could very well end up being a Stanley Cup Final preview. The question is, will the Caps rest their best players to get them ready for the postseason? The Kings, tied with the Ducks atop the Pacific, won’t be happy if they do. Los Angeles holds the tiebreaker, so Anaheim needs to with the division outright.