Monday: New York Rangers at Detroit Red Wings, 7:30 p.m. ET
The Wings have been shut out twice in a row but are expected to welcome Pavel Datsyuk back to the lineup for this Original Six tilt. Meanwhile, the Rangers are winless in four and are looking for MIA forward Marian Gaborik to appear and start helping the Rangers secure a playoff berth.
Prediction: The Red Wings get the offense going with Datsyuk's return.
Tuesday: Carolina Hurricanes at New Jersey Devils, 7 p.m. ET
This is the first of three meetings between these two teams within the next two weeks. It seems ludicrous to think playoffs for the Devils, who began the week 16 points out of eighth place in the Eastern Conference, especially given that they will likely be without netminder Martin Brodeur, who tweaked a knee in Sunday's win over Montreal. Still, they are 9-1-2 in their last 12. The Canes, meanwhile, will be anxious to strengthen their hold on eighth place in the conference after jumping over slumping Atlanta.
Prediction: The Devils remain hot, even without Brodeur.
Wednesday: Anaheim Ducks at Vancouver Canucks, 10 p.m. ET
Good test for a Ducks team that has defied skeptics by settling into the middle of the playoff bracket in the tough Western Conference and has its eyes on the top spot in the Pacific Division. Still, the Canucks are deadly at home and can play run-and-gun or shutdown.
Prediction: The Canucks are too much for the Ducks.
Thursday: Los Angeles Kings at Pittsburgh Penguins, 7 p.m. ET
Stop No. 4 on a 10-game road trip that could determine whether the Kings are a playoff team. The Penguins are the No. 2 team defensively in the NHL and the No. 1 penalty-killer. No Evgeni Malkin for the rest of the season. No Sidney Crosby for the foreseeable future. City in mourning after Super Bowl loss to Green Bay. Kings couldn't hope for a better scenario in the Steel City.
Prediction: The Penguins find a way, as they have for most of this season.
Friday: Chicago Blackhawks at Dallas Stars, 8:30 p.m. ET
Both teams need to get some solid footing under them, as the Stars have lost three in a row and five of six and are starting to leak defensively, allowing San Jose and Anaheim to close in on them at the top of the Pacific Division. The Blackhawks, meanwhile, began the week outside the playoff bracket.
Prediction: Guessing Marty Turco gets a shot against his former team and makes good, as the Hawks win on the road.
Last Week: 3-2