Top 5 in-demand NHL matchups this week

(AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

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

Colorado at New York Rangers

Tuesday, Jan. 7 at 7:30 p.m. ET

The Colorado Avalanche (25-13-4, 54 points) take on the New York Rangers (19-17-4, 42 points) in the back-end of a New York back-to-back, a night after playing the Islanders. Regardless, the Rangers — who are barely in the playoff picture — will face a tough test against the Avalanche, who enter the week second in the Central Division. The game will be nationally televised on NBCSN. 

Winnipeg at Boston 

Thursday, Jan. 9 at 7:00 p.m. ET

The Winnipeg Jets (22-16-4, 48 points) and Boston Bruins (24-8-11, 59 points) are among the better teams in their respective conferences, but both teams are scuffling heading into this week. Winnipeg has five losses in its last six games while Boston has suffered three straight defeats. Still, Boston leads the Atlantic division and with the New England Patriots exiting the playoffs early, more eyes will be focused on the Bruins in the second half of the season. 

Anaheim at Chicago 

Saturday, Jan. 11 at 8:30 p.m. ET

Both the Anaheim Ducks (16-20-5, 37 points) and Chicago Blackhawks (18-18-6, 42 points) are in rebuilding mode, meaning the youth will be on display in this matchup at the United Center. The Blackhawks have found their groove of late, though, and have become a candidate for a longshot playoff spot with five wins in their last seven games. They’ll look to continue their roll against the struggling Ducks, who are in the basement in the West. 

New Jersey at Washington  

Saturday, Jan. 11 at 7 p.m. ET

There’s no slowing down the Washington Capitals (28-9-5, 61 points), who became the first NHL team to reach the 60-point mark and continue to lead the race for the Presidents’ Trophy. They host the New Jersey Devils (15-20-6, 36 points) on Saturday; the Devils have not had a superb year but are playing better of late, winning three of four games heading into the week. 

Tampa Bay at Philadelphia

Saturday, Jan. 11 at 7 p.m. ET

This matchup features two teams that could be fighting for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference down the stretch, with the Tampa Bay Lightning (23-13-4, 50 points) and Philadelphia Flyers (22-15-5, 49 points) neck-and-neck in the standings. The Lightning are on a roll, though, as winners of six straight. The Flyers, meanwhile, have lost four of five and wrap up a six-game road trip on Tuesday. Perhaps a big home game with potential playoff implications will serve as a spark for Philadelphia.