NHL schedule: Avalanche, Penguins kickoff exciting week of games

Jamie Sabau

A look at this week's NHL schedule. Who are you looking forward to seeing?

The third week of the NHL season begins on Monday night with a three game slate of compelling contests. Two of the three matches include first-place teams, while the final matchup features a division meeting between the Calgary Flames and Los Angeles Kings.

The Detroit Red Wings and San Jose Sharks have met on several occasions over the years, but Monday marks the first time they'll meet outside of the Western Conference. Both clubs enter the night as division leaders, with the Sharks claiming ownership to the most points in the NHL.

However, the game will take a backseat, as Cole Harbour takes center-stage on Monday.

Colorado Avalanche vs. Pittsburgh Penguins, 7:30 p.m. ET (NBCSN, TSN 2, RDS 2)

Sidney Crosby and Nathan MacKinnon will face each other for the first time as the Avalanche challenge the Penguins. Both players are products of Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia and trained together this summer. Beyond that fun little caveat, the Avalanche have jump started their season with a surprising 7-1-0 record and enter the night in first place in the Pacific Division. Pittsburgh also has a 7-1-0 record, with Crosby opening the year with an eight-game point streak that has cumulated in 17 points over that span.

Tuesday
Anaheim Ducks vs. Toronto Maple Leafs, 7 p.m. ET (Prime, Sportsnet-Ontario)

The Ducks lost their first game of the season but haven't stopped winning since. Entering Tuesday night on a seven-game winning streak, Anaheim will look to push that mark to eight games against the Maple Leafs. Toronto has dropped two straight and will be looking to end the slide.

Wednesday
Ottawa Senators vs. Detroit Red Wings, 7:30 p.m. ET (TSN)

Daniel Alfredsson was supposed to play the entirety of his career with the Ottawa Senators and his ability to test unrestricted free agency was merely a formality. On Wednesday night, the Red Wings and Alfredsson will face the Senators for the first time since that formality became a reality. You're probably going to be hearing about this game a lot in the coming days.

Thursday
Vancouver Canucks vs. New Jersey Devils, 7 p.m., ET (Sportsnet-Vancouver, MSG-Plus)

Cory Schneider v. Roberto Luongo Part Deux? Yeah, it could be. Luongo was supposed to be gone and Schneider was supposed to lead the Canucks into a new era. Didn't quite workout that way, as the Canucks shipped off their goaltender of the future to New Jersey at the draft. Luongo and the Canucks came out victorious in the first meeting, will Schenider have a shot at revenge?

Friday
New York Islanders vs. Pittsburgh Penguins, 7 p.m. ET (RDS 2, MSG Plus, ROOT)

Pittsburgh almost didn't make it out of the first round in last year's playoffs because of the Islanders. These two teams will meet for the first time since that matchup on Friday night. The occasion could be an opportunity for the Islanders to further establish their identity as a contending team.

Saturday
Minnesota Wild vs. Chicago Blackhawks, 8 p.m., ET (FS-N, WGN)

The Central Division is shaping up to be one of the most competitive in hockey, with all seven teams separated by eight points. Chicago and Minnesota met in the first-round of the playoffs and will meet for the first time since on Saturday night. Chicago is picking up where they left off, while the Wild have limped out of the starting gate.

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