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.
Preview: Columbus Blue Jackets at Boston Bruins, 7 p.m. ET. Columbus hasn't won a road game since March and the odds of that streak getting snapped tonight is low given the way the Bruins have turned things around of late winning their last six. The Blue Jackets blew a 2-0 first period lead to the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday and with each loss, head coach Scott Arniel gets a step closer to losing his job. Despite a 2-0-1 record and 1.30 goals against average against the Bruins in his career, Steve Mason will watch from the bench as Curtis Sanford gets his first start of the year.
Preview: Pittsburgh Penguins at Tampa Bay Lightning, 7:30 p.m. ET. Tampa's power play has struggled going 0-for-11 in their last two games and sits 19th in the NHL currently. Facing the NHL's top penalty kill in the Penguins and sixth-best offense will make for a tough task for the Lightning. The Penguins as 8-2-1 in their last 11 games and have scored at least three times in every one of them. Tampa has scored just twice in their last two games, both losses, and begin a stretch tonight with four of their next five at home.
Preview: Toronto Maple Leafs at Nashville Predators, 8 p.m. ET. Matthew Lombardi's career as a Predator lasted less than 30 minutes. He returns to Music City for the first time as a Maple Leaf as Toronto goes for their fourth straight win on the road. Missing from the lineup will be Mikhail Grabovski who is out for the next two weeks with a lower-body injury. Clarke MacArthur, who was also hurt in Tuesday's loss to Phoenix, will also be out. Pekka Rinne is 4-0-1 for the Predators since signing his 7-year, $49 million extension on Nov. 3.
Preview: Detroit Red Wings at San Jose Sharks, 10:30 p.m. ET. Who owns da Wings? It appears the Sharks do of late. In their last 18 meetings, playoffs included, San Jose is 13-5-0 against Detroit. The Sharks are wrapping up a six-game homestand looking for their fourth win.
• According to Sportsnet, Wayne Gretzky has been approached by the American equity firm kicking the tires on Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment. "Two independent sources told Sportsnet that Gretzky has been approached by multiple groups interested in purchasing the majority stakeholder of MLSE, owner of the Toronto Maple Leafs, the latest being the Providence group." [Sportsnet]
• Paul Lukas on the Islanders' new third jerseys: "The Isles' look isn't fun or classy or badass or any of the other good things that a uniform design can be -- it's just ridiculous. Truly one for the ages." [Page 2]
• Mike Colligan on Sidney Crosby: "Hockey is a tough man's sport where players are encouraged to show off their physical wounds and suppress the mental ones. The psychological hurdle of taking that first hit is one Crosby will likely have to quietly fight within himself. And just like some players can return from knee injuries months ahead schedule while others take longer to return, it's impossible to predict how an individual will respond to the mental factors that accompany a concussion." [The Hockey Writers]
• In praise of Claude Giroux. [Polished Puck Press]
• Former NHLer Stephane Quintal has joined the Department of Player Safety as a Manager. [NHL]
Puck Buddy Comment of the Day: From Jason on Paul Maurice's job security:
"Fire Paul Maurice... so you can bring him back in a year and a half when your team is stinking it up again."
Bold Prediction: Detroit gets the better of San Jose with a 3-2 overtime win. Put me down for Pavel Datsyuk with the GWG.
- Columbus Blue Jackets
- Toronto Maple Leafs
- Boston Bruins
- Tampa Bay Lightning