This week's NHL in-demand matchups

Detroit Red Wings' Dylan Larkin, left, and Brian Lashoff stand on the ice for the singing of the national anthem before an NHL hockey game against the Chicago Blackhawks in Chicago, Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

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Here’s a look at the best matchups in the NHL this week.

New York Rangers at New York Islanders 

Thursday, Jan. 16 at 7:00 p.m. ET

This is the second of a home-and-home between the two New York teams this week, with the New York Rangers (21-19-4, 46 points) visiting the New York Islanders (27-12-4, 58 points) after Monday’s game at Madison Square Garden. The Islanders have been the better of the teams in the Big Apple this season, hanging on to the third spot in the Metropolitan Division, while the Rangers are way outside the playoff picture. After not meeting yet this season, the two teams will play each other three times in the next two weeks. Perhaps it may serve as a spark for the Rangers. 

Pittsburgh at Boston 

Thursday, Jan. 16 at 7:00 p.m. ET

This high-octane matchup between two of the Eastern Conference’s elite teams will not be one to miss. The Pittsburgh Penguins (28-12-5, 61 points) should be getting Sidney Crosby back this week from injury but are rolling nonetheless, winners of seven of their last nine games. Meanwhile, the Boston Bruins (27-8-11, 65 points) continue to dominate the Atlantic Division and enter the week tied for the league lead in points. Both teams come into the week on three-game winning streaks ahead of Thursday’s matchup.

Los Angeles at Philadelphia

Saturday, Jan. 18 at 7:00 p.m. ET

The Los Angeles Kings (18-25-4, 40 points) wrap up an East Coast road trip with a date with the Philadelphia Flyers (23-16-6, 52 points). Both teams come into this week struggling, though the Flyers are in the mix for a playoff spot while the Kings have been floundering all season, sitting near the bottom of the Western Conference and with trade rumors swirling around Tyler Toffoli. The streaky Flyers, meanwhile, are in a rough patch right now as losers of five of six entering the week. This will be the Kings’ only trip to Philadelphia this season. 

St. Louis at Colorado 

Saturday, Jan. 18 at 3:00 p.m. ET

This Central Division tilt is sure to live up to the hype, with the defending champion St. Louis Blues (29-10-7, 65 points) traveling to Denver to take on the Colorado Avalanche (25-15-5, 55 points). Both teams sit in playoff positions, but are in different directions entering the week. The Blues are on a tear, having won three straight following an eight-game win streak last month. The Avalanche have just three wins in their last 11 games, but still hold the third spot in the division. They’ll have to bring their A-game with the red hot champions coming into town.  

Winnipeg at Chicago 

Sunday, Jan. 19 at 7:00 p.m. ET

The Winnipeg Jets (24-18-4, 52 points) begin a three-game road trip at the end of this week in the Windy City against the Chicago Blackhawks (20-20-6, 46 points) in a Central Division showdown. The Jets are neck-and-neck for one of the two Wild Card spots and still in the race for the division, while the rebuilding Blackhawks need to stack up some wins if they are to contend for a playoff spot.