NBC Sports Network Wednesday Rivalry Night: Spot On OR A Stretch?


Sidney Crosby (87) – Henrik Tallinder (20) – Ryan Miller (30) Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Last night the Pittsburgh Penguins gave the Buffalo Sabres a shellacking, beating them by a score of 5-1. Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin both had one goal and one assist – James Neal also added a goal, and Marc-Andre Fleury made 24 saves. Not to mention, this game was part of the Wednesday night rivalry night televised on NBC Sports Network.

Which brings us to the question, are the Penguins and Sabres really rivals? Ever since the 2008 Winter Classic at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Buffalo, NY, it seems that this match-up has become known as a rivalry. The sad thing, Pittsburgh has beaten Buffalo in all three meetings this season – convincingly by the way, they outscored them 12-2. Maybe next season NBCSN should reconsider this particular rivalry. This may be more about two players than it is the two teams, Crosby vs Miller – it seems that battle is what is really intriguing.

Nikita Zadorov (61) – Milan Lucic (17) – Ryan Miller (30)

Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Upcoming Wednesday games do include some heated rivalries though. The Sabres will hit the ice once again on rivalry night, but this time facing the Boston Bruins. That sounds more like it NBCSN, nailing this rivalry right on the head. Not only have the Sabres and Bruins been divisional rivals for quite some time now, but I can personally proclaim that Sabres fans don’t like the Bruins – and this feeling was obviously escalated when Milan Lucic wrecked Ryan Miller outside of the crease. Is the feeling mutual, I am not exactly sure, but one thing is for sure, Bruins vs Sabres is ten times the rivalry the Penguins vs Sabres will ever be.

Ray Emery (29) – Braden Holtby (70)

Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Wednesday March 5th, the Washington Capitals head to the city of brotherly love, Philadelphia. On November 1st this match-up became interesting, the Capitals strolled onto Broad Street and crippled the Flyers, on the scoreboard that is, 7-0. If you count the beat-down that Ray Emery gave Braden Holtby, then the Flyers were victorious. Either way, these two teams could erupt at any moment, which makes each game between these two teams exciting.

Here is another perplexing rivalry, the Boston Bruins against the Detroit Red Wings on April 2nd. These two teams are now in the same division since the realignment, so an interesting game it has become, but has it really become a rivalry. As I nonchalantly mentioned above, I am a Sabres fan (unfortunately), so I am not 100% familiar with the fan-bases of the Bruins and Red Wings – so maybe there is more than meets the eye when these two teams hit the ice together.

The rest of the Wednesday night rivalry games this season are as follows:

  • February 26th – Los Angeles Kings at Colorado Avanlanche
  • March 12th – Boston Bruins at Montreal Canadiens
  • March 19th – St. Louis Blues at Chicago Blackhawks
  • March 26th – Philadelphia Flyers at NY Rangers
  • April 2nd – Phoenix Coyotes at Los Angeles Kings
  • April 9th – Detroit Red Wings at Pittsburgh Penguins
  • April 9th – San Jose Sharks at Anaheim Ducks

There you have it, the rest of the Wednesday night rivalry games, also keep in mind, there have been several rivalry nights already since the beginning of the season. I think the data, and my own personal opinion is inconclusive, so you be the judge.