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Tonight’s games: Quality over quantity

The nice thing about tonight’s games is that they’re spread apart pretty nicely. You can watch the Atlantic division heavyweight title match of Pittsburgh and New Jersey, catch the beginning of Flames-Avalanche, flip between that game and Chicago-Anaheim and then finish it with the last game. Hockey fans cannot ask for it to get much better than that. And, really, even though the Ducks are flopping (or should I say waddling their way to mediocrity?), they still have talent. In other words, all three games are decent and can be watched fairly easily.

Pittsburgh Penguins (41-23-5, 87 pts) at New Jersey Devils (41-24-3, 85 pts) 7:00 PM ET

This one isn’t necessarily for all the marbles, but it sure is for a lot of them. Check out my “fun with numbers” post for more on this important match and the Devils’ stark domination of the Penguins this season.

Calgary Flames (34-26-9, 77 pts) at Colorado Avalanche (40-23-6, 86 pts) 9:00 PM ET

Calgary doesn’t have any time to lick their wounds from a heartbreaking loss to the Red Wings. With Minnesota on a three game winning streak, the Flames might not even have a strong hold on ninth place. Colorado, however, looks like a playoff team despite the worrisome numbers some are sharing.

Chicago Blackhawks (44-18-6, 94 pts) at Anaheim Ducks (31-29-8, 70 pts) 10:00 PM ET

Perhaps as soon as next year, these teams should be much closer. The Blackhawks will have to shed some of their considerable depth to comply with the salary cap. Anaheim can transition from a mixture of young and old to whatever their future will hold. With the talent on both sides, this could still be a compelling game today, though.