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Around the Rink - Super Bowl Sunday Edition

Steven Stamkos, Barret Jackman

Tampa Bay Lightning’s Steven Stamkos, left, chases a loose puck as St. Louis Blues’ Barret Jackman, right, defends during the third period of an NHL hockey game Friday, Dec. 18, 2009, in St. Louis. The Lightning won 6-3. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)


Believe it or not, there are hockey games going on during a day in which almost every American who isn’t a sports contrarian will be watching the Pittsburgh Steelers face the Green Bay Packers. By now you should have a pretty good idea about NBC’s Game of the Week between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Washington Capitals (start time: 12:30 pm ET), but there are two other contests that will take place before the world is captivated by swirling pigskins and occasionally witty commercials.

As always, these start times are according to Eastern Standard Time (ET).

3:00 pm

New Jersey @ Montreal

The Devils have earned at least one point (and eight wins) in their last 11 games, yet the question is: why? The best comparison I can think would be an employee giving his or her two weeks notice and then working twice as hard during those 14 days.

Montreal comes into this game on a three-game winning streak with a chance to go into a virtual tie with Boston atop the Northeast Division if they earn a win. (The Bruins will have game in hand once this game ends though) You have to wonder if the Habs are a bit peeved that they’re facing the re-animated Devils in this one, but they need to get it done either way.

St. Louis @ Tampa Bay

After winning six games in a row and the first three games of their 12-game homestand, the Lightning finally lost to the Washington Capitals on Friday. The Bolts have a great opportunity to get their home ice mojo back, though, because they are hosting the Blues (probably the NHL’s worst road team with a league-low seven away wins).

Whether the Capitals get to within a point of the Lightning’s Southeast Division lead or not, Tampa Bay should have some serious regrets if they drop this game.