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.
This will be Jaroslav Spacek's first return to Montreal since he was traded for Tomas Kaberle earlier this season. That's... interesting... Hey! Remember when the Catholic Church took out an ad urging Montrealers to pray for their team? The Habs are undefeated since then and Scott Gomez has scored. The unbeaten streak predates the prayer, mind you -- the Canadiens have won 4 straight, outscoring opponents 15-4 over that stretch. They're rolling.
After clawing their way back into contention in the Southeast (which may not be challenging enough for the verb clawing", but I digress), the Capitals have fallen off, going 3-4-3 in their last 10. They'll be in tough to turn things around versus the Sharks, who have taken 15 of the last 16 contests between the two clubs. On the plus side, the Capitals may be getting Tomas Vokoun back, and his record versus San Jose is much better: he's 10-1-1 with a 2.29 GAA in his last 12.
How much has Mike Smith's stock risen in the past 5 months? The Canucks may have breathed a sigh of relief upon learning he would be sitting this one out. Jason LaBarbera gets the start for the Coyotes, who are riding a 5-game win streak and have vaulted back into 8th in the Western Conference. They have a good chance to take this one too, even with their backup in goal. Vancouver is just returning from a four-game road trip and haven't been playing all that well of late anyway.
• The NHL has rescinded Maxim Lapierre's 5-minute major for spearing Brad Staubitz in the third period of last Thursday's game with the Minnesota Wild. [Canucks]
• After someone stole all the cell phones from his son's hockey team while they were on the ice, this hockey dad set up a sting operation to catch the thief. Badass. [National Post]
• On the importance of blocked shots. [NY Times]
• The Sedins do creepy self-portraits. [PITB]
• If you hate joy, you'll like Bruce McCurdy asterisking the Hell out of the Detroit Red Wings' record home-winning streak. You'll never believe it: it doesn't [Edmonton Journal]
Puck Buddy Comment of the Day: RP, on Gretzky in a Blackhawks' jersey:
That Gretzky picture either negates about 100 jersey fouls or inspires 100 more.
Bold prediction: At some point, someone in Montreal goes, "Hey, didn't Spacek used to play here?"
- Montreal Canadiens
- Tomas Kaberle
- Jaroslav Spacek
- Carolina Hurricanes
- Vancouver Canucks
- Washington Capitals
- San Jose Sharks