With the Super Bowl decided, and the celebrations underway, many sports fans are often briefly stunned when the season ends. Thankfully, the sports universe is kind to the fans, and many sports run simultaneously with another. So for those who have been watching football all season, I’d like to welcome you to the NHL hockey season.

This week begins to sketch the playoff picture around the league, but it is a very rough sketch indeed, as every team has between 28-32 games left, and anything could still happen. As teams continue the push toward the playoffs, and others look to rebuild and make possible personnel changes, it appears to be now or next season for some teams.

With fan favorite Sidney Crosby still on the bench but making efforts to return, it will remain with Evgeni Malkin to continue to fill the void in Pittsburgh. With 28 goals, and 32 assists, Malkin is certainly making a convincing statement to be a potential MVP candidate. Coming off a loss to New Jersey over the weekend, the Pens should handle the last place Canadians on Tuesday, by a pair of goals or better.

Also on Tuesday night, the Capitals will look for redemption, as they face division rival Florida for the second time in eight days. With Nicklas Backstrom and Mike Green out for some time now, the Caps will be glad to have Ovechkin back after he was suspended for the last game. However, Washington has been sliding, and Florida has been playing well, going with the Panthers in this one, 3-1.

For Wednesday, the Ducks meet the Carolina Hurricanes, in a meeting of two non-contenders at the moment, as both have struggled and are already looking to next season: Ducks edge Carolina here 3-2.

Thursday, look for the Blues to shut down the recently surging Devils, 2-1, as well as the Blackhawks to take down the Sharks at home on Friday night in a physical game, 4-3.
Finally, looking ahead to the weekend, the Flyers have it rough with another against the Rangers and then traveling to Motor City on Sunday, expect two close games, and for the Flyers to potentially drop two games to two of the league’s best.
Dave’s record from last week was 3-2.