What to watch: NHL Week 17


Calgary Flames (25-16-6) at Edmonton Oilers (21-23-3)

Connor McDavid leads the Oilers as they take on the Flames in the Battle of Alberta.

The Oilers have been struggling this season, but they currently sit on a three-game winning streak as they go into their game against Buffalo tonight before taking on the Calgary Flames.

Johnny Gaudreau leads the Flames with 55 points and will look to add some to that against Cam Talbot, who has allowed 104 goals against this season.

Historically, this matchup has always been a physical one, involving fights and big hits. But don’t expect as much this time, because both teams have very skilled players who don’t need to throw their bodies around to get stuff done in the game.

The Oilers will not be at 100 percent however, as Ryan Nugent-Hopkins will miss the next five to six weeks after suffering cracked ribs in the game against the Vegas Golden Knights. Nugent-Hopkins has scored 16 goals this season.

Calgary currently holds the third playoff spot in the Pacific Division, while the Oilers are 11 points out of playoff contention. If the Oilers want to extend their season, this game will be a must-win for them.

For Calgary, every game matters since the Los Angeles Kings are only one point behind them.

These two teams will face off Thursday at 8 p.m.

Colorado Avalanche (27-16-3) at St. Louis Blues (28-18-3)

The St. Louis Blues have had a rough stretch of games ever since losing Jaden Schwartz. Schwartz is still the third-leading scorer of the Blues, despite missing the last 18 games.

On the other hand, the Colorado Avalanche are red-hot. Since trading Matt Duchene to the Ottawa Senators, the Avalanche has been an incredible team.

Led by Nathan MacKinnon with 59 points, the Avalanche will try to keep adding wins and take the third Central Division playoff spot from the Blues.

This game is a must-win for both teams, being one of the most important of the season in a very closely contested Central Division.

Vladimir Tarasenko and Brayden Schenn are the ones who will need to come up big in this game for the Blues to keep that spot, and goalie Jake Allen will need to be a brick wall.

This game will be physical as both teams will have something to prove. The game will start Thursday at 7 p.m.

All-Star Weekend

Tampa Bay will host the 2018 NHL All-Star Game.

Rosters were announced last week, and the events at the skills competition were announced on Monday.

On Saturday night, the Skills Competition will be in full swing, including old favorites such as the Hardest Shot challenge, Fastest Skater challenge, an improved Accuracy Shooting challenge and the Puck Control Relay, which is being brought back for the first time since 2008.

There will be two new competitions this year as well, including the Passing Challenge and the Save Streak.

The Passing Challenge will test players’ ability to pass in certain situations. There will be three parts to this competition: Target Passing, Give and Go and Mini Nets. Each part needs to be completed before the skater can move on to the next.

The Save Streak will include goalies playing in a shootout scenario against a different division’s skaters. Each goalie will face at least nine shots, and all shots will be officiated using official NHL shootout rules. If the ninth shot is saved, the goalie will get to keep going, until a goal is let in.

The main event, the All-Star Game, is Sunday night. The Western Conference teams will play each other and the Eastern Conference teams will play each other. The winner of each game will play at the end of the night to decide the champion.

While the All-Star Game means little compared to the rest of the season, it is always entertaining to watch the best players in the league play in a constant three-on-three for an entire game.