The Dallas Stars, following a surprising start to the 2015/16 NHL season, have emerged as one of the toughest teams to notch a point in the standings against. Currently in the midst of a four-game winning streak, Dallas have 32 points in the standings, they have a little bit of a lead in the Central Division, and they are rated first in Dan Rosen’s power rankings at NHL.com. Other division leaders include the New York Rangers, the Montreal Canadiens, and the Los Angeles Kings, teams that will all be in action this weekend.
Dallas have a game that should lead to two points in the standings. The Stars will host Buffalo on Saturday evening in a game that starts at 8 pm ET. The Sabres themselves aren’t playing all that badly lately, at least compared to what was expected of them. Buffalo, who were considered the worst team in pre-season rankings by many, have put together a mediocre string of games, going 5-3-2 in their last ten. However, the Stars are 7-2 from home this season while Buffalo are just 4-3-1 on the road. Look for the Stars to keep their momentum going on Saturday as they look to increase their lead in the Central Division.
The New York Rangers will also play on Saturday night as they travel down to Florida to take on the Panthers. New York recently saw their huge 9-game winning streak stopped, but they still have a comfortable 5-point lead in the Metropolitan Division over Washington. The Panthers are going through a bad patch at the moment, with just a 3-5-2 record in their last ten. Coach Gerard Gallant wants to get more pucks to the net. However, New York starting goalie Henrik Lundqvist has posted a .946 save percentage so far this season. Accordingly, Florida look outmatched at home as New York appear poised to return to their winning ways.
Montreal played on Friday night as Carey Price made his return to the lineup, helping his side to a 5-3 road win over the New York Islanders. Both teams are off on Saturday, but they will meet again in a game from the Bell Centre on Sunday evening (7 pm ET). Montreal have already won two games in their season series, outscoring the Islanders 9-4 in the process. The Habs were not at their very best without Price. However, they still have a very comfortable lead in the Atlantic Division, currently ahead of second place Ottawa by nine points.
Los Angeles also played a Friday, in a game that the Kings lost 3-2 against the Detroit Red Wings. LA are in the midst of a road trip, one that will bring them through Carolina on Sunday. That’s a team that the Pacific Division leaders should bounce back against as the Hurricanes are just 6-10-3 on the season and currently last in the Metro.
Lastly, television viewers in Canada will see, as always, the Toronto Maple Leafs featured on Hockey Night in Canada. The Leafs will travel to Boston to take on the Bruins in a game that starts at 7 pm ET. The late game on Saturday night will see a much more interesting match-up as the Vancouver Canucks host the Chicago Blackhawks (10 pm ET).