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NCAA hockey tournament under way; Ducks visit Blackhawks (Puck Previews)

Sean Leahy
Puck Daddy

Here are your Puck Previews: Spotlighting the key games in NHL action, news and views as well as general frivolity. Make sure to stop back here for the nightly Three Stars when the games are finished.

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Preview: New Jersey Devils at Tampa Bay Lightning, 7:30 p.m. ET. There will be at least one debut tonight for the Lightning, maybe two. New head coach Jon Cooper takes the reins for his first game behind the bench as he attempts to, in his words, ruin GM Steve Yzerman's draft pick. The other debut for the Lightning could happen on their blueline if Andrej Sustr, their recent signing from the University of Nebraska-Omaha, is not scratched. Cooper said Sustr will participate in warm-ups. For the Devils, Alexei Ponikarovsky will return from injury, while Mark Fayne will replace Adam Larsson in the back.

Preview: Minnesota Wild at Dallas Stars, 8:30 p.m. ET. The Wild enter tonight's game against the Stars trying to extend a 7-game winning streak after defeating them on Monday 7-4 in Dallas. It'll be Matt Hackett versus Kari Lehtonen, with the Stars trying to gain ground and remain in the picture for one of the Western Conference's final playoff spots. Minnesota would tie Vancouver atop the Northwest Division with a victory.

Preview: Anaheim Ducks at Chicago Blackhawks, 8:30 p.m. ET. These two met just nine days ago with the Ducks coming out on top 4-2. Since that win, however, Anaheim has dropped four straight, but hope to continue their success against Chicago this season. In their two wins over the Blackhawks, the Ducks have completed comebacks to do so. Anaheim is the reason why Chicago has two losses when taking leads entering third periods this season. Ray Emery will be in net this time for Chicago facing off against Jonas Hiller.

Preview: Columbus Blue Jackets at Calgary Flames, 9 p.m. ET. The official Post-Jarome Iginla Era will begin tonight at the Saddledome as the Flames play their first game since their now-former captain was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins. Calgary will attempt to win for the ninth straight time at home going up against a Columbus team looking to snap a three-game skid.

Check out previews and updated scores for all of today's games on the Y! Sports NHL scores and scheds page. For tonight's starting goalies, check out Goalie Post.

Evening Reading

• Flyers GM Paul Holmgren announced today that defenseman Braydon Coburn is out indefinitely after suffering a separated shoulder against the Islanders. Meanwhile, Andrej Meszaros will undergo surgery on April 2 for a torn rotator cuff and he'll be out for the season. Can anyone spare a defenseman for the Flyers? [Flyers]

• Gordie Howe turns 85 on Sunday and before their game against the Chicago Blackhawks, the Red Wings players will wear No. 9 jerseys during warmups. [MLive]

• The NCAA men's hockey tournament is under way and ESPN has already muffed something up. [Western College Hockey Blog]

• In the opening game, Yale upset Minnesota after scoring 9 seconds into overtime. [New Haven Register]

Puck Buddy Comment of the Day: Richard R. on the news that Marty St. Louis won't be traded by the Tampa Bay Lightning:

"Challenge Accepted" - Ray Shero

Bold Prediction: Blackhawks and Ducks take it to OT with Patrick Kane playing hero.

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