TUESDAY AT PHOENIX
On paper at least, it sure looks like the Phoenix Coyotes are in tough this season. They’ll be in a dogfight to make the playoffs, with top-quality teams like the Los Angeles Kings, San Jose Sharks and Anaheim Ducks looking to snap up the three divisional slots. And that doesn’t even include second-tier Pacific squads like the consistantly contending Vancouver Canucks and the Edmonton Oilers, who are way, way overdue for a breakout campaign. And yet, it seems like the Coyotes always find a way to get into the post-season conversation. Their 5-3 win over the Hurricanes Sunday improved their record to 4-2 this young season. Can they keep it up? At the very least it’ll be nice to play a year without ownership questions hanging over the team.
10 p.m., TV: Sportsnet East, TVA. Radio: TSN 1200 AM
THURSDAY VS NEW JERSEY
Speaking of troubled franchises under new ownership, the Devils will travel to the capital for the Senators’ home opener Thursday night. Unlike the Coyotes, however, the Devils aren’t experiencing the same level of success on the ice. In fact, Jersey has been one of the worst teams in the league so far. Following Sunday night’s 3-0 loss to the Winnipeg Jets, they were struggling in goals per game (24th), goals against (23rd), power play percentage (27th) and penalty kill percentage (17th). Add all those poor numbers up and you get an 0-3-3 record to start the year. They have an opportunity to make some waves in a very flawed Metropolitan Division, but they’ll need to avoid getting into too deep a hole early.
7:30 p.m., TV: Sportsnet Ottawa, Radio: TSN 1200 AM
SATURDAY VS EDMONTON
The Oilers are stacked with former No. 1 overall picks — all forwards — so natural talent up front isn’t their problem. Defence and goaltending? Eep. Through five contests, the Oilers had given up five goals per game. No, not five goals total. Per game. The second coming of Wayne Gretzky would have a hard time keeping an Oilers squad competitive with numbers like that. The good news is the Oilers have the league’s ninth-best power play and average more goals per game than 20 other squads. If ever they find a way to keep pucks out of their own net, they’ll be a force. The solution just might be to go out at the trade deadline and bring someone in to replace Devan Dubnyk as the No. 1 netminder. He’s been atrocious, posting an 0-3-1 record and 5.43 GAA.
2 p.m., TV: Sportsnet East, TVA, Radio: TSN 1200 AM