With the shortened 2021 NHL season set to get underway on Wednesday, January 13 with an opening salvo featuring four games, it’s time to take a look at the must-see TV matchups on this week’s schedule. A handful of legitimate Stanley Cup hopefuls are in action, headlined by the defending champion Tampa Bay Lightning. Now, let’s find out which matchups fit the bill as must-see TV so you can get all set to make your bets against their NHL odds!
NHL Betting – Top Hockey Games to Watch this Week
Pittsburgh at Philadelphia
- When: Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021 at 5:30 PM ET
- TV: NBCN
Pittsburgh went 40-23-6 last season to finish third in the Metropolitan Division and fifth in the Eastern Conference standings with 86 points. The bad news is the Penguins had their postseason cut way to short by getting swept out of the qualification round by Montreal. Still, Pittsburgh has star power in Evgeni Malkin and, to a lesser degree these days, Sidney Crosby.
Philadelphia recorded an impressive 41-21-7 record last season to finish second in the Metropolitan Division and fourth in the Eastern Conference standings with 89 points. The Flyers has a fantastic run in the postseason and got the top seed in the conference playoffs by winning the four-team round robin tournament. While Philadelphia’s postseason came to an abrupt halt against the New York Islanders in the east semis, things are looking up in the City of Brotherly Love heading into 2021.
Chicago at Tampa Bay
- When: Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021 at 8:00 PM ET
- TV: NBCSN
Chicago went 32-30-4 last season to finish last in the Central Division and 12th in the Western Conference standings with 72 points. The Blackhawks then upset Edmonton 3-1 in the Qualification round before falling to top-seeded Vegas in five games in the first round. Chicago finished 18th in scoring (3.0 gpg) and 16th in goals allowed (3.1 gpg).
Tampa Bay went 43-21-6 to finish second to Boston in the Atlantic Division and overall Eastern Conference standings with 92 points. The Lightning then got the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs by going 2-1 in the four-team round robin series. Tampa Bay dispatched Columbus, Boston and the New York Islanders in six games in the conference finals before beating Dallas in six games in the Stanley Cup Finals. Tampa Bay finished first in scoring (3.5 gpg) last season.
NY Islanders at NY Rangers
- When: Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021 at 7:00 PM ET
The Islanders went 35-23-7 to finish sixth in the Metropolitan Division and seventh in the conference standings with 80 points. The Islanders made a stunning run to the Eastern Conference Finals before falling in six games to the eventual Stanley Cup champions. The Rangers went 37-28-5 to finish seventh in the Metro, but ninth in the conference standings. While the Rangers were bounced out of the postseason via a three-game sweep at the hands of Carolina, this pairing of Big Apple teams is must-see TV.
St. Louis at Colorado
- When: Friday, Jan. 15, 2021 at 9:00 PM ET
2019 Stanley Cup champion St. Louis went a stellar 42-19-10 to finish atop the Western Conference standings with 94 points. Unfortunately, the Blues had their postseason come to a swift end by falling to seventh-seeded Vancouver in six games after going 0-2-1 in the four-team round robin series.
Colorado went 42-20-8 to finish second to St. Louis in the Central Division an Western Conference overall standings. The Avalanche went 2-1 in the four-team round robin series and dispatched No. 11 Arizona in five games before getting beaten by eventual conference champion Dallas in a seven-game thriller!
Vancouver at Calgary
- When: Saturday, Jan, 16 2021 at 10:00 PM ET
This matchup features a pair of Western Conference Stanley Cup hopefuls that won an identical 36 games a year ago. Vancouver (36-27-6) finished seventh in the Western Conference standings while Calgary (36-37-7) finished one spot back. The Canucks got past No. 10 Minnesota 3-1 in the qualification round and No. 4 St. Louis in six games in the first round. The Canucks even took top-seeded Vegas a thrilling seven games before bowing out. The Flames dispatched Winnipeg in the qualification round before falling to Dallas in six games in the first round.