Monday: Kings at Leafs
Darryl Sutter is not supposed to take over as the Los Angeles coach until Tuesday, so the Leafs have a chance to grab two points while the Kings are still spinning their wheels. Monday, 7 p.m., Sportsnet Ontario.
Monday: Wild at Canucks
Minnesota is no mirage – the Wild is at the top of the NHL and is the first opponent for Vancouver’s four-game homestand. Monday, 10 p.m., Sportsnet Pacific.
Tuesday: Blackhawks at Penguins
The Penguins were doing well when Sidney Crosby was forced out with concussion issues. Now they’ve cooled off and have to face one of the league’s hottest teams in Chicago. Tuesday, 7:30 p.m., TSN2.
Wednesday: Canadiens at Blackhawks
This will be Randy Cunneyworth’s third game as head coach of the Canadiens since Jacques Martin was thrown over the side by GM Pierre Gauthier. That’s long enough for the Habs’ fanatics to call for his head if he loses this one. Wednesday, 7:30 p.m., TSN, RDS.
Friday: Leafs at Islanders
This is our helpful hint to the hockey fan in the family. Tell the spouse you’re doing last-minute Christmas shopping, grab your laptop and hit the nearest sports bar. Quickly surf the retail-store websites and download the appropriate number of gift certificates. Then turn your attention to this game, followed by Flames-Canucks at 10 p.m. or Kings-Sharks at 10:30. Friday, 7 p.m., TSN.