Every Tuesday, The New York Times will look at the week ahead in the N.H.L., highlighting hot — or not so hot — teams and players. (All times Eastern.)
Games to Watch
Oilers at Devils, Tuesday, 8 p.m.
The Devils will honor their longtime goalie Martin Brodeur in a pregame ceremony that begins at 6 p.m. A statue of Brodeur was unveiled at Prudential Center on Monday. On Tuesday night, he will become the fourth Devils player to have his number retired, after his former teammates Ken Daneyko, Scott Stevens and Scott Niedermayer. “It’s closure for my hockey career, an exciting time, but an emotional time as well,” Brodeur, who retired last year, said.
Rangers at Penguins, Wednesday, 8 p.m.
Fifty-three games into the season, the Rangers are finally playing the Penguins for the first time. But the Rangers may wish they had caught Pittsburgh earlier, when the Penguins and their star Sidney Crosby were slumping. Crosby is riding an 11-game point streak, with 12 goals and 10 assists in that span. The Penguins (27-18-7), who have won seven of 10, passed the Islanders and the Devils in the Metropolitan Division standings, and are 4 points behind the second-place Rangers (30-18-5). The Rangers are once again grappling with major injuries, with Rick Nash and Ryan McDonagh out indefinitely. J.T. Miller, who grew up near Pittsburgh, has nine goals in his last 10 games, and has 17 for the season, one behind the team leaders, Mats Zuccarello and Derick Brassard.
Kings on the Road
The Kings entered the week on top of the Pacific Division by 7 points, but with the Grammys at Staples Center, they embarked on a seven-game trip, their longest of the season. It begins with Milan Lucic’s return to Boston on Tuesday night. Next they head south for games against the Islanders, the Rangers, the Devils and the Capitals before making stops in St. Louis and Nashville on the way home. The Kings have one of the best road records in the N.H.L., at 16-7-2.
Ducks on the Road
Like its Southern California rival, Anaheim is amid a seven-game trip, one that could make or break its season. Mired in last place as late as the Christmas break, the Ducks are 13-4-1 since and have won six of their last seven. They have worked their way into playoff position, sitting precariously in eighth place in the West. This trip, which covers four time zones and 6,000 miles in 13 days, did not get off to a good start, with a 6-2 loss in Pittsburgh on Monday. But the Penguins and the Blackhawks, whom the Ducks play on Saturday, are the only opponents on the trip with winning records.
Stars vs. Blackhawks and Capitals
A 5-1 loss to Chicago last Saturday did not sit well with Dallas. “They were ready to go and embarrassed us in front of our fans and in our own building,” the Stars’ captain, Jamie Benn, said. The Stars, who began the week 5 points behind the Blackhawks in the Central Division, have a chance to reassert themselves with a rematch against the Blackhawks on Thursday in Chicago and a home game against East-leading Washington on Saturday. Dallas beat Washington, 3-2, on Nov. 19, but the Capitals have only four regulation losses since.
In Case You Missed It
On Friday night, Amanda Kessel returned from a nearly two-year absence from the hockey rink, playing for the University of Minnesota. A leading scorer for the United States Olympic team at the Sochi Games, Kessel is one of several top women’s hockey players who have been sidelined long term by a concussion.
Get to Know…
The Second Six
On Tuesday, the N.H.L. is commemorating the 50th anniversary of its first expansion, growing from the Original Six to 12 teams by adding franchises in Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, Minneapolis-St. Paul and St. Louis.
Eight cities presented their cases to the N.H.L. in February 1966, including Vancouver, Buffalo and Baltimore. The league also received interest from Cleveland and Louisville.
The expansion fee back then was $2 million. With the league now considering expansion bids from Las Vegas and Quebec City, the reported expansion fee is $500 million.
Potential investors were a who’s who of the sports world at the time. N.F.L. owners like Ralph Wilson, Art Rooney, Jack Kent Cooke and Jerry Wolman were competing for a piece of the N.H.L. pie.
St. Louis did not have an ownership group in place, but was selected for its location and arena. The N.H.L. set an April 5 deadline to find investors, or else the expansion team was going to go to Baltimore. Sid Salomon Jr. and his son, Sid Salomon III, stepped up in St. Louis, and Baltimore still does not have an N.H.L. team.
The California Seals, the Los Angeles Kings, the Minnesota North Stars, the Philadelphia Flyers, the Pittsburgh Penguins and the St. Louis Blues began play in the 1967-68 season.