Tuesday: Blackhawks in town
Chicago comes to town for the first time since January 2012, a game the Flyers squeaked by 5-4 thanks to a last minute power play goal by James van Riemsdyk. The big news for the Blackhawks will be the impending arrival of Teuvo Teravainen, the 2012 draft pick who just finished his final season in Finland and is expected to come to North America (assuming he wants to play for a Stanley Cup instead of a World Championship). Chicago needs to get clever with the salary cap to fit him in, but it'll probably work out.
In time for the Flyers on Tuesday? That seems doubtful, but we don't need to explain why/how the Blackhawks are a dangerous team without him. They're the damn Blackhawks. Beating them will be very difficult.
Thursday: Dallas sucks
Okay, so the Stars don't suck, but they have been extremely up-and-down lately. They're in the same precarious playoff positioning as the Flyers, sitting with 75 points in the final Western wild card spot with Phoenix right on their heels.
Goaltender Kari Lehtonen is back for the Stars after missing time with a concussion, which should help as Dallas is coming off a 7-2 drubbing against Winnipeg and a loss to Calgary in which they blew a two-goal third period lead. Before those two losses, they won three straight.
The Stars play Pittsburgh Tuesday before coming to Philly.
Saturday: the league's best
The St. Louis Blues are currently the best team in hockey. They're in Philly for an afternoon game on Saturday. The Blues score with the best: three players with 50 points, four players with at least 20 goals. They have a deep blueline, and as a Ken Hitchcock-coached club, you know they play team D well. Ryan Miller is their goalie.
The Blues have points in all eight games so far in March, seven of them wins. They are very good.
The playoff picture and your weekly rooting guide
It's tight. Here are the games that matter this week. Root for the teams in italics, even if it makes you want to vomit.
- Monday: VAN at TB.
- Tuesday: BOS at NJ, CAR at CBJ, COL at MTL, NYR at OTT, TOR at DET (tough call, but go Leafs), WSH at ANA.
- Wednesday: TBL at TOR (oof).
- Thursday: MIN at NJ, CBJ at MTL, TB at OTT, PIT at DET (ugh), WSH at LA.
- Friday: NYR at CBJ (oof)
- Saturday: TBL at PIT (ugh), DET at MIN, MTL at TOR (whatever), NYR at NJD (another tough one), WSH at SJ.
- Sunday: CBJ at NYI, TOR at NJ (shrug), MIN at DET.