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What's On This Weekend in TV Sports (Jan. 15-Jan. 18)

Patrick Mahomes celebrates the Kansas City Chiefs' Super Bowl LIV victory on Feb. 2, 2020.
Patrick Mahomes leads the Kansas City Chiefs in an NFL Playoff game (Image credit: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

The return of the National Hockey League and the continuation of the National Football League playoffs highlight a busy three-day Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend in TV sports.

The National Hockey League will drop the puck on the first weekend of its truncated 2020-21 season with NBC offering a national Sunday telecast of the Washington Capitals-Pittsburgh Penguins game. The NHL Network will telecast six NHL games from Friday to Sunday, while NBCSN will offer four live league games on Monday. 

The NHL debuted its shortened 56-game season on Wednesday, three months after the league completed its COVID-19-shortened 2019-20 season within bubble environments in Toronto and Edmonton. While this season will not be played in a bubble, the league has altered its divisions -- including creating a division featuring all seven of the league’s Canadian franchises -- in an effort to mitigate the challenges of the pandemic.

The NFL will continue its march towards the Super Bowl with four Divisional playoff games. On Saturday the Los Angeles Rams will face the top-seeded Green Bay Packers in an afternoon NFC Divisional Playoff game on Fox, while the Baltimore Ravens will meet the Buffalo Bills in an AFC Divisional Playoff matchup airing on NBC. Sunday’s games include the AFC’s top-seed and defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs against the Cleveland Browns on CBS, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers-New Orleans Saints NFC Divisional Playoff game on Fox.

TNT will showcase three live NBA games as part of the league’s annual Martin Luther King holiday celebration. The Phoenix Suns will play the Memphis Grizzlies in a late afternoon game, followed by the primetime Milwaukee Bucks-Brooklyn Nets game and the Golden State Warriors-Los Angeles Lakers late-night telecast.

NBC and NBCSN will offer live coverage of the 2021 U.S. Figure Skating Championships for both the men’s and women’s divisions Friday through Sunday. On Friday NBCSN will provide live afternoon coverage while NBC offers live primetime coverage. NBC on Saturday afternoon picks up live coverage while NBCSN carries primetime coverage. NBC will offer live Sunday afternoon coverage of the championships. 

On Saturday ABC will air its first-ever live UFC mixed martial arts telecast, highlighted by the Max Holloway-Calvin Kattar featherweight fight. 

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.