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Tonight's 'other' big games

Mar 18, 2010, 6:15 PM EDT

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Yes, we are aware that there are 10 games other than Pittsburgh-Boston tonight. Previewing all 11 of tonight’s games might be a bit much, though, so let’s take a look at some of the “bigger” ones.

San Jose Sharks (43-16-10, 96 pts) at Vancouver Canucks (43-24-3, 89 pts) 10:00 PM ET

It would be a colossal surprise, but the Sharks need to at least pay some mind to the fact that the Coyotes are only five points behind them right now. It’s still a big gap to close in such a small amount of games, but the two teams are going in different directions. Considering their crazy road trip and 25-8-1 home record, Vancouver has every reason to distance themselves from Colorado for the NW division lead (and therefore, more home cooking).

Chicago Blackhawks (44-19-6, 94 pts) at Los Angeles Kings (40-23-5, 85 pts) 10:30 PM ET

The Blackhawks are a considerably different team from the one that recently beat the Kings in overtime. They’re shorthanded with three injured defensemen and are on a three game losing streak. Meanwhile, having played 68 games to Colorado’s 70, Los Angeles is in a great position to break the Avs’ one point lead and climb to fifth place in the West.

Minnesota Wild (34-29-6, 74 pts) at Nashville Predators (39-26-5, 83 pts) 8:00 PM ET

This game doesn’t quite have the starpower of the other two listed in this post, but there’s still some serious playoff implications. Nashville is on a three game winning streak but they need every point with Detroit, Calgary – and, to an extent  Minnesota – breathing down their necks. Then again, how much damage would a lowly seeded Wild do with that horrible 11-20-3 road record, anyway?

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