NHL schedule 2013: League's best go head-to-head on Thursday

Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Hockey Hall of Fame induction week is full of impressive match-ups including a blockbuster Thursday night slate.

Hall of Fame induction day is upon us as five new members shall formally be enshrined into hockey's most esteemed club on Monday night. Brendan Shanahan, Chris Chelios, Geraldine Heaney and Scott Niedermayer will have a moment to reflect on the dedication, passion and support it took to reach the heights of their careers, while the memory of Fred Shero will receive the respect it rightfully deserves with the addition of the Hall of Fame moniker.

While the game will have an opportunity to pay tribute to its past, the present is full of intriguing match-ups in the week ahead.

Monday

Tampa Bay Lightning at Boston Bruins, 1 p.m. ET (NHL Network, SUN, NESN)

Day game hockey, y'allll. It always seems like the Bruins have the weekday game schedule on lockdown, but nevertheless, Tampa Bay has been a wonderful surprise and Boston is the defending Eastern Conference champions. They both play in the Atlantic Division and are separated by three points. The Lightning enter the day with the most points in the East.

Best (only) game on Monday? Ohhhhh yeah.

Tuesday

Phoenix Coyotes at St. Louis Blues, 8 p.m. ET (NBCSN)

This game stands to be an exciting one. Phoenix has emerged as one of the league's hottest teams, while St. Louis has lived up to the early season hype as one of the league's best. Tuesday night will be the first meeting between the two clubs this season.

Wednesday

Philadelphia Flyers at Pittsburgh Penguins, 8 p.m. ET (RDS, TSN 2, NBCSN)

Regardless of where you live in North America, this contest will be nationally televised. Unfortunately, Philadelphia's play this season might not make it worth your time. Goaltender Steve Mason has played well but the Flyers are struggling to generate offense. On the plus side, the team scored four goals on Saturday...of course it came against the Edmonton Oilers. Pittsburgh has currently lost two straight but still lead the miserable Metropolitan Division.

Thursday

Hockey fans, Thursday night is going to bring you a plethora of quality action. Normally, this is supposed to be a highlight of the week, you know, a game per day kind of thing. Well, Thursday's bringing the heat and you will probably wanna have multiple games going at once.

Anaheim Ducks at Tampa Bay Lightning, 7:30 p.m. ET (PRIME, SUN)

The top team in the West (as of Monday), will be taking on the top team in the East (as of Monday) on Thursday. Any other reason to watch?

Phoenix Coyotes at Chicago Blackhawks, 8 p.m. ET (CSN Chicago)

Two of the Wests best teams meet at the home of the defending Stanley Cup champions.

Colorado Avalanche at St. Louis Blues, 8 p.m. ET (RDS, ALT, FS-MW)

The Central Division might be the most competitive grouping in hockey and two of its best teams meet on Thursday night.

San Jose Sharks at Vancouver Canucks, 10 p.m. ET (CSN-CA, SNET-Van)

Of course, one could make the argument that the Pacific is the best division in hockey. Two of its best teams meet on Thursday.

Friday

Washington Capitals at Detroit Red Wings, 7:30 p.m. ET (NHLN-US, CSN-DC, FS-D)

There is some serious star power in this game as Alex Ovechkin challenges Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk in a meeting of Eastern Conference foes (Yeah, their teammates will be playing, too). All three players are capable of doing amazing things, so you might be doing yourself a favor by checking out this contest.

Think there is a game we missed? Another meeting you're excited in seeing? Let us know in the comments section.

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