NHL

NHL Upcoming Games Of The Week

Each week, we will be previewing the top three upcoming NHL games. This week, we have a Western Conference Final rematch and some big East Coast rivalries.

L.A Kings vs. Phoenix Coyotes
Saturday, January 26th 5:00pm PST (TONIGHT)

THUUZ rating: 94/100

This will be the first meeting between the two teams since the Western Conference Finals, which ended bitterly to put it mildly. After a heartbreaking overtime loss in Edmonton, the winless Kings are desperate to get the season going and prove that they still have that magic that led them to the Stanley Cup. The Coyotes have a handful of injured players including Martin Hanzal, Rostislav Klesla, and goaltender Mike Smith, but the surge of offense from Steve Sullivan is making it a little easier for them. Kings shutdown defensemen Matt Greene and Willie Mitchell are also out with injuries, making way for Davis Drewiske and Jake Muzzin in the lineup. This should be a spirited battle. The Coyotes were very unhappy with the way that their season ended, as was seen at the end of Game 5 and in the infamous handshake line:

New York Rangers vs. Philadelphia Flyers
Tuesday, January 29 7:00pm EST

THUUZ rating: 96/100

Expectations are extremely high for the New York Rangers this year as their Stanley Cup run was just barely cut short by the New Jersey Devils last season. These two divisional opponents met last Thursday, where the Flyers managed to stifle one of the best top lines in hockey (Rich Nash – Brad Richards – Marian Gaborik) and come out with a 2-1 victory. The Rangers were majorly outplayed early on, but Henrik Lundqvist made several brilliant saves to keep his team in the game. This Broadway vs. Broad Street rivalry dates all the way back to the 70’s but was most recently heightened by their 2011 Winter Classic match-up where the Rangers won 3-2. The Flyers will have a little added bonus with Danny Briere returning to the lineup, but the key for each of these teams is scoring first. Look for the Rangers to be more aggressive early on. Their Coach John Tortorella expressed his displeasure with his team’s play on Thursday, telling the NY times, “We’re certainly not getting enough big plays from our top guys…[they] didn’t play well tonight.”

New York Rangers vs. Pittsburgh Penguins
Thursday, January 31 7:00pm EST

THUUZ rating: 100/100

A match-up between arguably the two most talented teams in the Eastern Conference—this is a game you don’t want to miss. These two teams met on opening weekend, where the Penguins dominated by a score of 6-3. Something was certainly off for the Rangers that day as Vezina Trophy winning goaltender Henrik Lundqvist was pulled in the second period after giving up 4 goals. Now that the teams have had some more playing time, this game should be more indicative of what each team really has to offer. This could very easily be a preview of the Eastern Conference Finals. Right off the opening faceoff last Sunday, Arron Asham and Tanner Glass dropped the gloves and went at it. If both are in the lineup on Thursday, we may get to witness a rematch: