Friday's NHL schedule lists only five games, but there's no shortage of rivalries -- or contests that are key to the playoff race.
The action begins at 7 p.m. ET when Montreal visits Ottawa in the back end of a home-and-home series. The Canadiens won 3-2 in a shootout at the Bell Centre on Wednesday. A victory by the Senators will move them into first place in the Northeast Division. The game can be seen in Canada on CBC and RDS.
Two games with big playoff implications begin at 8:30 p.m. ET. Eighth-place Washington can put a severe dent in Winnipeg's hopes of making the postseason when it visits the MTS Centre. The Caps come to town four points ahead of the Jets, who routed Dallas 5-2 on Wednesday. In Dallas, the Stars are back home to host Chicago, which has been off since beating St. Louis 4-3 in a shootout on Tuesday. The Stars lead the Pacific Division with 83 points; if the playoffs started today, they would face the Hawks, who are sixth with 84.
The last two games of the night are among the NHL's fiercest rivalries. The Battle of Alberta heats up again when Calgary visits Edmonton at 9:30 p.m., and this season's final edition of the Freeway Faceoff gets under way a half-hour later when Los Angeles visits Anaheim.
I remember the first time at Wrigley Field all of us had the long johns, the turtlenecks and the extra equipment because we were afraid of being cold. Halfway through the first period everybody's ripping everything off and we just ended up wearing what we would normally wear for a game at the United Center.
— Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp on the 2009 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic