How will the Blackhawks respond to losing?
Here we are. Halfway through the NHL season. Obviously the lockout has shortened things, but still this year seems to be flying by.
The Chicago Blackhawks finally lost in regulation and now the longest winning streak in the league is just three games. Don't look now, but the Washington Capitals are just one win away from a .500 record. They are starting to respond under first-year head coach Adam Oates.
Upcoming is a big week as the second half of the season begins. Now it really is a sprint. Here are seven games to watch, one for every day of the week.
Does Joel Quenneville's group get right back on the horse or slump a little bit?
It had to end eventually. The Blackhawks were not going to play 48 games without losing in regulation. Hats off to the Avalanche for putting a six spot on the board against the NHL front runners.
On Sunday, the Oilers look to send the Blackhawks streaking in the opposite direction. It will be interesting to see how Chicago comes out, whether they are emotionally burnt out from that run or hungry for more.
L.A. recently regained their playoff form.
Out of the cellar before the door was locked.
Carolina has been a pleasant surprise in the NHL so far this year. They are leading the Southeast, but have to feel threatened by the Capitals awakening.
This will be a big division game.
Two teams that do not like each other
The Turnpike Rivalry. These two teams have a lot of history, recently favoring the Devils. New Jersey has beaten Philadelphia six straight times, including their meeting in the Eastern Conference Semifinals last year.
Always chippy, always physical and always entertaining. It's a must watch when there is a chance to see Ilya Kovalchuk fight.
Sidney Crosby is always must see TV.
Toronto is another surprise so far this year. They score a lot of goals, and the league is better when they are in the playoff mix. It'll be fun to see these two teams square up.
The Red Wings are, as always, steady.
The Edmonton Oilers look like they want another first overall pick in the NHL entry draft. Year after year they get a fresh influx of blue-chip talent and just can't seem to put it together.
The Red Wings are solid as they usually are. But do they need a trade to get over the hump? Maybe inject some youth in a team with an aging core?
Mull these story lines as two iconic franchises face off.
The Ducks hot start has been shadowed by the Blackhawks dominance.
Shadowed by a historic run by the Chicago Blackhawks, the Anaheim Ducks are off to an incredible start as well. This team is really, really good. The Ducks may boast the best offensive corps in the game.
St. Louis isn't playing the stout defense that made them so successful last season. They are teetering on the brink of the playoffs.
Your Saturday night is now booked. After this one I recommend watching Timberlake host SNL. JT was pure gold last time.