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Weekly Primer

Bruins-Lightning showdowns highlight week ahead

Panthers retiring Luongo's No. 1 among can't-miss events

by Jon Lane @JonLaneNHL / Staff Writer

The Boston Bruins and Tampa Bay Lightning, the top two teams in the Eastern Conference, play each other twice this week. But there are more stories to watch. Here are the top five along with fantasy can't-miss players.


1. Bruins, Lightning play twice in matchup of top two teams

The Boston Bruins will play the Tampa Bay Lightning twice beginning at Amalie Arena on Tuesday (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SNE, SNO, SNP, TVAS, NHL.TV). The rematch is at TD Garden on Saturday.

The Bruins (41-13-12) lead the Atlantic Division by seven points over the Lightning (41-19-5) and have been defeated by them twice this season, 4-3 in the shootout in Boston on Oct. 17 and 3-2 at Tampa Bay on Dec. 12. Forward David Pastrnak leads the NHL with 47 goals, two ahead of Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews and Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin.

The Lightning have lost four of five since an 11-game winning streak and will be without center Steven Stamkos (core muscle surgery) for 6-8 weeks.

Video: BOS@NYI: Pastrnak beats Varlamov with slap shot 


2. Coyotes, Canucks vie for playoff positions in Pacific

The Arizona Coyotes and Vancouver Canucks each will try to take a big step toward ending their Stanley Cup Playoff drought when they play at Rogers Arena on Wednesday (10:30 p.m. ET; SNP, FS-A, FS-A PLUS, NHL.TV).

The Canucks (34-25-6) hold the first wild card into the playoffs from the Western Conference and trail the Calgary Flames by one point for third place in the Pacific Division. They've missed the playoffs in four straight seasons and five out of the past six (2014-15).

The Coyotes (32-27-8) have not made the playoffs since 2011-12, when they reached the Western Conference Final, and are in a three-way tie with the Nashville Predators and Winnipeg Jets for the second wild card in the West.

Vancouver defeated Arizona 3-1 at Gila River Arena on Jan. 16.


3. Flyers-Capitals highlights 'Wednesday Night Hockey' doubleheader

A tight race for the top spot in the Metropolitan Division continues when the Philadelphia Flyers visit the Capitals at Capital One Arena (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TVAS) in the first of a "Wednesday Night Hockey" doubleheader.

The Flyers (38-20-7) have won six in a row and are 16-5-2 since Jan. 7 to climb from 15 points out of first place in the Metropolitan Division to one behind the division-leading Capitals. Their 86 goals are first in the NHL during that stretch.

The Flyers are 2-0-1 against the Capitals this season. They won 7-2 in their most recent game in Washington on Feb. 8.

The Colorado Avalanche (39-18-7) play the Anaheim Ducks in the second game at Pepsi Center (9:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN). They've won six in a row and trail the St. Louis Blues by three points for first in the Central Division.


4. Pageau faces Senators for first time with Islanders

Jean-Gabriel Pageau will play for the New York Islanders against the Ottawa Senators at Canadian Tire Centre on Thursday (7:30 p.m. ET; TSN5, RDS2, MSG+, NHL.TV) for the first time since Ottawa traded the forward to New York on Feb. 24.

Pageau has scored two goals in three games for the Islanders after he had 40 points (24 goals, 16 assists) in 60 games for the Senators. His 26 goals are an NHL career high.

The Islanders (35-21-8) are 0-1-2 since the trade and are tied with the Columbus Blue Jackets for the first wild card in the East. 

Video: NYI@STL: Pageau nets Barzal one-timer for PPG


5. Luongo to have No. 1 retired by Panthers

Roberto Luongo will be the first player to have his number retired by the Florida Panthers when they raise his No. 1 before the game against the Montreal Canadiens at BB&T Center on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; CBC, SN, SN360, TVAS, FS-F, NHL.TV).

The 40-year-old retired June 26, 2019, after 19 seasons in the NHL. He is second in NHL history in games played by a goalie (1,044), third in wins (489) and ninth in shutouts (77). He is one of three goalies to have played 1,000 NHL games (Martin Brodeur, 1,266; Patrick Roy, 1,029).

The Panthers initially acquired Luongo in a trade from the New York Islanders on June 24, 2000. He was traded to the Vancouver Canucks on June 23, 2006, and traded back to Florida by Vancouver on March 4, 2014.

Video: Panthers to retire Roberto Luongo's No. 1 in March


Fantasy can't-miss picks

Kevin Fiala, MIN: The forward was named the NHL "First Star" for the week ending March 1 and is having a breakout season for the Minnesota Wild with an NHL career-high 49 points (20 goals, 29 assists) in 60 games. He had 48 points in 80 games for the Nashville Predators in 2017-18. Fiala, who's playing on Minnesota's top line with veteran center Eric Staal, has added fantasy appeal with four games this week, including three against noncontending teams (San Jose Sharks, Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks). He has four goals and five assists during a four-game goal streak. -- Pete Jensen

Nathan MacKinnon, COL: He's due for more production with one assist in his past five games. He has 26 shots on goal over the span, indicating a potential breakout this week against the Detroit Red Wings, Ducks, Canucks or Sharks. -- Rob Reese

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