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Tonight's best: Atlantic, Pacific races take spotlight

Mar 25, 2010, 6:10 PM EDT

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Considering the fact that eighth place in the Eastern Conference isn’t really much to brag about, I’d say that the two most interesting tug-o-wars going forward are for the Atlantic and Pacific divisions. Today’s best games feature bouts that will affect those intriguing races. Since the remaining eight games vary from bland to lighting candles and listening to Enya, I’ll just discuss the three best of the night.

Phoenix Coyotes (46-23-5, 97 pts) at Nashville Predators (42-27-5, 89 pts) 8:00 PM ET

If you went three months back in time and told me that the Coyotes would regularly be involved in the most intriguing games of any given night in March, I either would have directed you to the nearest AA meeting or wondered if something drastic happened with their tortured fan base. Thankfully, the answer to that imaginary multiple choice is “none of the above.” Can the Coyotes really out-last the Sharks and win the Pacific, though?

New York Rangers (32-32-9, 73 pts) at New Jersey Devils (43-25-4, 90 pts) 7:00 PM ET

The Rangers will need to get their voodoo dolls out for Montreal, Boston and Philadelphia, but they’re also going to have to win some games to sneak into the playoffs. Unfortunately for the Rangers, the Devils have every reason to win this one as they continue their neck-and-neck race with the Penguins for the Atlantic Division.

Dallas Stars (32-27-14, 78 pts) at San Jose Sharks (44-19-10, 98 pts) 10:30 PM ET

The Stars are in full-on wishful thinking mode. They will need a staggering winning streak and probably a minor miracle or two to make the playoffs. Don’t expect bitter rival San Jose to do them any favors, either, since they have those pesky Coyotes to deal with. You may find this game on NHL Network tonight, by the way.

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