TOP 3 NHL MATCHES TO LOOK OUT FOR THIS WEEK

As we complete the first week of March, and with only a few weeks left in the NHL’s 2017-2018 regular season, we’ve highlighted three of the most important games in the league for this week:

Thursday, March 8th: Philadelphia vs. Boston

The Philadelphia Flyers were perhaps the hottest team in the NHL in February, losing only three of the 13 games they played all month, though they’ve cooled off a bit with three straight losses to start the month of March. The thing that makes this team so lethal is the fact that they’re deep. They have three guys with 20+ goals in Sean Couturier, Claude Giroux, and Wayne Simmonds. Jakub Voracek has tallied 56 assists this season as well. The defensive pairing of Shayne Gostisbehere and Ivan Provorov has been terrific.

Meanwhile, the Boston Bruins have their sights firmly set on making a deep run in the NHL postseason, as evidenced by their acquisition of Rick Nash from the New York Rangers. With a young cadre of players like ace defenseman Charlie McAvoy and forwards Danton Heinen and Jake DeBrusk, they’ve got a mix of talent and depth that could be scary for any opponents to deal with in a seven-game series.

Friday, March 9th: Anaheim vs. Dallas

The Anaheim Ducks will welcome back John Gibson to the team, as they’ve gone through a rough stretch of losses as the most critical part of the season. Even with their rough start to the season, Anaheim remains one of the better teams in the league, thanks to a stingy defense and even better penalty kill on special teams. The question is, having not made any definitive move to get that much better at the trade deadline, what’s the upside for this team?

The Dallas Stars don’t boast the same fire power as we’ve been accustomed to seeing in years past, but they’re still a formidable team up front, with guys like Tyler Seguin, Jamie Benn and Alexander Radulov. The key thing, however, is that they may be better defensively than most people realize. After acquiring goaltender Ben Bishop and defenseman Marc Methot last summer, they have the fourth-best goals-against average (2.61) in the NHL.

Saturday, March 10th: Washington vs. San Jose

For the Washington Capitals, while games in March are important because they’ll ensure this team gets to the postseason, the truth is that it’s really all about what this team does when it gets to the playoffs. There will be pressure on this team like no other in the NHL, to simply get out of the second round. The spotlight will shine brightest on Alex Ovechkin, because for all the goals he scores, his one last career-defining moment will be to fulfill the promise of this once-dominant franchise.

With the addition of Evander Kayne at the 2018 NHL trade deadline, the San Jose Sharks actually got better on offense, and added another weapon to their sixth-ranked power play. Once Joe Thornton returns to the lineup, San Jose will boast great depth up front, along with a dynamic pair of goaltenders in Martin Jones and Aaron Dell. This team is deep and has experience, meaning they could be one of the more interesting teams in the postseason.