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NHL weekend preview: March Madness

The Red Wings have a big home-and-home with the Wild.
The Red Wings have a big home-and-home with the Wild.
Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images

College hoops isn't the only sport with exciting stuff going on right now. The NHL season is headed down the wire, and there is so much left up in the air. The picture will get clearer after this busy weekend. There are 11 games Saturday and seven games Sunday. Here's a look at the biggest, most intriguing games.

There are a lot of afternoon games this weekend, even with all the March Madness games going on. But there are a lot of good games, so that's cool. St. Louis and Philadelphia both have a lot to play for, and both are quite good, and they square off. Tampa plays Pittsburgh. Steven Stamkos vs. Sidney Crosby! Detroit, who are fighting through a million injuries to try and extend their playoff hopes, are in Minnesota. On Sunday, the Wild are in Detroit. That's a nice home-and-home with major playoff implications.

The Senators take on the Stars. Ottawa is out of it, but Dallas still has playoff dreams. Also, sorry if you are holding out hope for Ottawa. It's not happening. Montreal plays Toronto, which is always fun, especially when both are vying for playoff spots. The Rangers play the Devils, which is slightly less fun, but still interesting. Boston, who is trying to secure the top seed in the East, visits Phoenix, who need wins, and the day ends with Washington in San Jose.

Sunday is not great, even with the aforementioned game between Detroit and Minnesota. There are still a couple good ones, though. The Blues move from Philly to Pittsburgh for an even better game than Saturday's, even if it means less. Toronto faces New Jersey, which has some playoff implications. That's about it. The Canucks are more or less in must win mode, but they get to host Buffalo. Chicago is without Patrick Kane now, and they are trying to hold off the Avalanche, but they are at home against Nashville.

What will the playoff picture look like come Monday? The intrigue is high.