Mar 21, 2014, 11:56 AM EDT
A quick look ahead at some of the narratives at play this weekend…
Detroit and Minnesota go back-to-back
Two teams in the thick of their respective playoff chases will square off twice this weekend — the Wings will take on the Wild in Minnesota on Saturday, then host ’em at the Joe on Sunday (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN).
Improbably, Detroit has rallied to win three of its last four and move within one point of the Rangers for the final wild card spot in the East. The rally is improbable given their rash of injuries — in Thursday’s 5-4 OT victory over Pittsburgh, the Wings were without the services of (deep breath) Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, Stephen Weiss, Justin Abdelkader, Joakim Andersson, Dan Cleary, Jonathan Ericsson, Tomas Jurco, Darren Helm and Mikael Samuelsson (phew).
Minnesota, meanwhile, is trending in the opposite direction — the Wild have lost six of eight, though did manage to accumulate eight points over that stretch. That’s left them with 83 going into the weekend, good enough to hold the first of two wild card spots in the Western Conference.
St. Louis to take on Philly, Pittsburgh
The Keystone State will get a good look at the NHL’s No. 1 team this weekend, as the Blues — first in the league with 101 points — take on the Flyers in Philadelphia on Saturday, then face the Penguins in Pittsburgh on Sunday.
Boasting an 8-1-1 record since acquiring Ryan Miller and Steve Ott at the NHL trade deadline, St. Louis has looked like a legit Cup contender in recent weeks, but did suffer a setback on Wednesday with a disappointing 4-0 loss in Chicago (y’know, the reigning Cup champ.) With that it mind, the Blues will head into this weekend looking to rebound from the Chicago loss and test itself against two of the East’s most talented teams — Pittsburgh sits atop the Atlantic Division with 45 wins and 95 points while Philly remains one of the hottest teams in the league, going 7-2-1 over its last 10 games.
- Habs sign Petry to a six-year, $33 million extension 17
- ‘Home-grown talent’ a staple of Blackhawks and Lightning 4
- A holdover from the ‘dark days,’ does Sharp have a future in Chicago? 51
- Bishop: ‘Taller guys…can be just as athletic as the smaller guys’ 6
- Tire pump? Yzerman says Toews is ‘bigger, stronger, better’ than he was 21
- Devils officially announce John Hynes, becomes youngest NHL coach 9
- PHT arrives in Tampa, gets soaked (oh, and today is Media Day) 6
- Ex-Leafs goalie Pogge eyeing North American return 5
- Poll: Should the Ducks fire Boudreau? 86
- Zuccarello (brain contusion, skull fracture) was unable to speak after injury 28
- ‘Hawks rise to occasion in Game 7, head to SCF for third time in six years (95)
- Poll: Should the Ducks fire Boudreau? (86)
- Bolts strike Stanley Cup Final berth thanks to Game 7 win over Rangers (76)
- Is it fair to hold cap teams to old dynasty standards? (74)
- Duchene slams Russian players for storming off after Canada’s 2015 WHC win (65)