Welcome back to HNIC Coast To Coast! After a bit of time off for the holidays, we’re back with Canada’s favourite National Hockey League weekend preview post, as voted on by no one. All seven Canadian NHL teams are in the mix this weekend, so let’s take a journey across the game list and see what’s on tap!
7:00 p.m. ET HNIC Matchup: Vancouver Canucks @ New Jersey Devils
Kicking us off is a second edition of the Hughes Bowl, which features Quinn’s Canucks against Jack and Luke’s Devils. The first edition, a month ago today, did not disappoint. Fans were hoping for a close game with all three brothers in the mix, and that’s exactly what we got, as the Devils stormed out to a 4-1 lead in the first, slowly saw it evaporate into a 5-5 tie, and then, with 34 seconds remaining in the third, New Jersey pulled away once more.
For that game, I proposed a “Triple Hughes Special” which saw all three brothers hit their point lines at a combined +1000. Sure enough, the night ended with all three hitting the mark (Jack 3, Quinn 2, Luke 1). Could we see that again on Saturday? It’s not likely… but it would be entertaining.
Vancouver comes into this game having split their results this week, beating Ottawa 6-3 on Tuesday and losing 2-1 to St. Louis on Thursday. The Devils will face the Blackhawks on Friday before coming into this game, and beat Washington 6-3 on Wednesday. This is a rest disadvantage for them, being the second half of a back-to-back and their third game in four nights.
Bet on Canucks vs. Devils
10:00 p.m. ET HNIC Headliner: Ottawa Senators @ Edmonton Oilers
Our lone double-Canadian game of the weekend includes two teams that made big decisions behind their benches in hopes of turning things around. For the Edmonton Oilers, their biggest issue was getting saves at a close-to-league-average level, so this transition has been relatively seamless. The Oilers are 14-6-1 in the Chris Knoblauch era and come into Saturday having won six in a row.
On Ottawa’s end, the shift from D.J. Smith to Jacques Martin and Daniel Alfredsson, with a particular focus on tightening up defensively, hasn’t gone quite as well. The team is 3-5 since the change, giving up 33 goals over those eight games. Alas, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither was Kanata, so the Senators are treating this like a process. Thankfully, they don’t have a high-flying offensive team on the other side of this g… well, I guess they make sense as heavy underdogs, then.
Bet on Senators vs. Oilers
Other Canadian NHL Games On Saturday
There are four other games in Canadian NHL action on Saturday:
Calgary Flames @ Philadelphia Flyers, 1:00 p.m. ET – The Flames kick off the Canadian action this weekend with an afternoon game in Philadelphia. Calgary is pretty hot of late, finally turning a corner after a tough start. They’ve won three in a row going into Saturday and have a 6-2-2 record in their last 10. The Flyers are no slouches, shockingly hanging in the Metropolitan Division sweepstakes, but the Flames have an edge in the season series having won 4-3 against them earlier this week.
New York Rangers @ Montreal Canadiens, 7:00 p.m. ET – The Rangers are one of just three teams in the east that the Habs have yet to go up against this year, and it’ll be no easy challenge. New York’s aspirations remain high and with a 7-3 record in their last 10, they still have plenty of momentum. Montreal continues to yo-yo around the .500 mark like they have all season, and a win would bring them back there for at least a few more days.
Toronto Maple Leafs @ San Jose Sharks, 7:00 p.m. ET – Ladies and gentlemen, it’s the Leafs’ worst nightmare – a bottom-feeding team on a 10-game losing streak. Somehow, these games always feel less attainable than the ones against legitimate Stanley Cup contenders. We’ll have a separate breakdown for this one on Saturday morning.
|New York Rangers
|New Jersey Devils
|Toronto Maple Leafs
|San Jose Sharks
Sunday Canadian NHL Action
There are two games in Canadian NHL action this Sunday:
Calgary Flames @ Chicago Blackhawks, 3:00 p.m. ET – A night after going up against the Flyers, the Flames immediately get back at it against Connor Bedard and the Blackhawks. Chicago will be a little tired too, though, as it’ll be their third game in four nights, taking on the Rangers last night and the Devils tonight.
Winnipeg Jets @ Arizona Coyotes, 7:00 p.m. ET – It’s always a fun time when the current Jets and the former Jets face each other, and the current Jets currently have the bragging rights, with 5-3 and 5-2 wins in November securing them the season series already. The Coyotes had an impressive mid-December run where they went 6-1, but are 0-2 in January. Winnipeg has gone 12-1-2 in their last 15, making them one of the hottest teams in the league, though that could be disrupted (or extended) with a