This week's top 5 in-demand NHL matchups

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The Winter Classic highlights this week's NHL matchups. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
The Winter Classic highlights this week's NHL matchups. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

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Here’s a look at the best matchups in the NHL this week.

Islanders at Washington

Tuesday, Dec. 31 at 1 p.m. ET

This Metro division showdown features the best team in the Eastern Conference in the Washington Capitals (27-8-5, 59 points) and New York Islanders (23-10-3, 49 points). The Capitals lead the division by a long shot, while the Islanders enter the week hanging on to the third spot with Carolina and Philadelphia on their heels. The Islanders have been on a mini-slump, losing four of five going into Sunday. They’ll have to bring their A-game against the NHL’s best on Tuesday.

Winnipeg at Colorado

Tuesday, Dec. 31 at 8 p.m. ET

Both the Winnipeg Jets (21-15-3, 45 points) and the Colorado Avalanche (23-12-4, 50 points) come into Tuesday’s division game struggling. The Jets have one win in their last six contests while the Avalanche have one victory in their last five. Winnipeg is chasing Colorado in the Central Division; the Jets hold the first Wild Card spot, but are five points behind the second-place Avalanche in the division.

Nashville at Dallas

Wednesday, Jan. 1 at 2 p.m. ET

The city of Dallas will play host to the annual Winter Classic as the Dallas Stars (21-14-4, 46 points) welcome the Nashville Predators (18-14-6, 42 points) into Cotton Bowl Stadium. It should be a spectacle in the historic Texas stadium. The Stars hope to build upon a good season thus far after recovering from a 1-7-1 start, sitting third in the Central Division. The Predators, meanwhile, are near the bottom of the standings in the West. Both teams will play in their first outdoor games, and it should be a memorable experience regardless of result.

Edmonton at Boston

Saturday, Jan. 4 at 1 p.m. ET

The Edmonton Oilers (20-17-44, 44 points) and Boston Bruins (23-7-9, 55 points) battle it out in this cross-conference matchup. The Oilers have just five points in their last 10 games and sit fifth in the Pacific, but are only four points behind the first-place Vegas Golden Knights in a tight division. The Bruins, meanwhile, are still rolling atop the Atlantic Division. After a rough patch to start the month of December, Boston has won three straight games going into the week.

Detroit at Chicago

Sunday, Jan. 5 at 7:30 p.m. ET

This Original Six matchup isn’t exactly one that has a lot of ramifications, but the rivalry between the Detroit Red Wings (9-27-3, 21 points) and Chicago Blackhawks (17-17-6, 40 points) still stands. Both teams enter the week at the bottom of their respective divisions. The Blackhawks have been playing better late, winning four of five entering the week. The Red Wings, though, have really been scuffling, with just two wins since Nov. 12.

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