1. Can the Red Wings finally beat the Blackhawks?
The Chicago Blackhawks have beaten the arch-rival Detroit Red Wings five straight times, dating back to Jan. 14, 2012. Not that it matters much, but the Red Wings haven't beaten Chicago in regulation since April 10, 2011. These two meet in the NBC Game of the Week this afternoon, and the Red Wings could use a win to move up a spot in the Western Conference, and avoid the line between eighth and ninth even further. The Blackhawks just want to beat the Wings again, and keep those pesky Ducks from getting any closer, and keep Minnesota and Vancouver back to 10-plus points away from them.
Two weeks, even a week ago, even four or five days ago, the Caps and Flyers were pretty much left for dead. Hell, this game was originally scheduled for NBC Sports Network, but flexed back to local television a couple of weeks ago so the network could show Bruins-Sabres. But here the Capitals are, capable of tying the eighth-place Rangers and ninth-place Islanders with a victory. The Flyers, meanwhile, can move ahead of the Capitals and come within two points of eighth place with a 60-minute win. What on earth is going on here?
3. How will Dallas start its odd California-only streak?
Here's a schedule quirk: after their home game against the Kings tonight, the Dallas Stars play three consecutive games against the Anaheim Ducks. They follow that with a game in San Jose, and another home game against Los Angeles. Six games in a row against the three California teams, all of whom currently hold postseason spots and all of whom are ahead of the Stars. Will this streak be the sort of thing that decides Dallas's season?
4. Is there still any rivalry spark between the Sabres and Bruins?
These two teams haven't met in a while, and to be quite honest, the months away after the lockout (coupled with the Sabres being bad) really kind of smushed the momentum of this rivalry, to me at least. However, the Sabres took two of three from Boston earlier in the season, and a win keeps them somewhat on the playoff bubble, and the Bruins could really use a win now that they've lost five of seven. It might not see any Miller-on-Lucic-type violence, but it could definitely be an interesting game?
5. Who will take the final two spots in the Frozen Four?
Congratulations to UMass-Lowell and Yale, the first two winners of NCAA Regionals who will head to Pittsburgh for the Frozen Four on April 11. Yale has shocked the West regional, beating Minnesota and North Dakota to make it to the Steel City. Yale's win over NoDak was pretty convincing, too, beating They Who Shall Not Be Nicknamed with four goals in a span of 6:35 to win 4-1. UMass-Lowell played a grind-it-out-style defensive game, beating the New Hampshire Wildcats 2-0 to take the Northeast region.
Today, we see the East and Midwest regional finals. Quinnipiac came back late to beat Canisius, and they'll take on Union College in an all-ECAC Final, as two teams from the conference will make the Frozen Four. Out in Toledo, St. Cloud State -- who took down No. 1 seed Notre Dame -- will face off with Miami, as the Redhawks beat Minnesota State.