Back by popular demand, 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.
Montreal could get a boost tonight, as Michael Cammalleri is a possibility to return from that nasty leg laceration he suffered two weeks ago. The Penguins could get a boost as well, as Brooks Orpik is set to make his season debut. Sure, Pittsburgh will still be without Kris Letang, Evgeni Malkin, and Sidney Crosby, but, dude, Brooks Orpik! My money's on the Penguins.
Stanley Cup hangover or not, the Bruins are 2-4-0, and they're beginning to get frustrated. Meanwhile, the Maple Leafs have had nearly 40 years to recover from their last hangover, so they're 4-0-1. Boston will be grouchy, but the Maple Leafs are built for just such a mood. I'm setting the over/under on fights at a billion.
If the Maple Leafs and Bruins isn't your must-watch game of the evening, this one is. The combined record of the Capitals and Flyers is 9-0-1. These are two very good teams, with plenty to play for early in the season. Will either leave with a 1 in the middle column? The Capitals are likely feeling confident. They've gone nine straight games without a regulation loss to Philadelphia.
Meanwhile, from the much-less-enticing-game files comes this tilt between the 1-3-1 Jets and the 1-5-0 Senators. As far as I know, one team has to win, but if anyone could find a way around that eventuality, it'd be these two. Seriously, if you're neither a Jets fan nor a Sens fan and you choose to watch this game instead one of the previous two, you hate yourself.
Preview: New York Islanders at Tampa Bay Lightning, 7:30pm E.T.
After opening the season with a win, the Lightning have gone 0-3-2 over their next five. They're reeling. They've allowed 23 goals over those five games, not to mention 7 goals in their last 15 penalty kills. Worse, this year's Islanders don't appear to be the slump-curers they used to be. Mathieu Garon gets the start for the Bolts, while Al Montoya is the guy for the Isles.
Preview: Buffalo Sabres at Florida Panthers, 7:30pm E.T.
The Sabres have won both games thus far in their four-game road trip, and they look it make it three when they visit the Panthers. If they're serious, I would recommend Buffalo avoids the penalty box. The Florida powerplay is operating at a 29.6 clip, second best in the NHL. Keep an eye on Christian Ehrhoff and Brian Campbell. Though the two no longer play for Vancouver and Chicago, I'd hazard a guess that they still don't care much for one another.
Preview: Chicago Blackhawks at Colorado Avalanche, 9:00pm E.T.
Two teams having solid starts to the season kick off a home-and-home series in Colorado, where the Avalanche have yet to win a game this season. Granted, they've only played one and it came five games ago. Speaking of five, Chicago scored five times Tuesday's win over Phoenix, and both teams are in the top ten in the league in goals scored, so expect offense.
Preview: NY Rangers at Calgary Flames, 9:30pm E.T.
The Flames went after Brad Richards hard in the offseason, but he chose instead to sign with the New York Rangers. Now the Rangers have come to town to gloat. While they're there, the two teams will also play a hockey game.
Preview: Minnesota Wild at Edmonton Oilers, 9:30pm E.T.
Mike Yeo's top line Tuesday night featured Dany Heatley, Pierre-Marc Bouchard, and Mikko Koivu, and he'll likely keep that group intact tonight. Can they outplay the Oilers' kid line? Perhaps. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, that skinny god, was only held pointless once in his first four games, and the Wild were the team to do it.
Preview: Los Angeles Kings at Phoenix Coyotes, 10:00pm E.T.
Jonathan Quick has had a fantastic start to the season, and now he looks for his 100th career win as the Kings visit Glendale. The Coyotes will counter with either Mike Smith or Jason LaBarbera, which is a little depressing because, while Quick's after win 100, the Yotes tandem has only 85 combined wins since he entered the league.
Preview: Nashville Predators at Vancouver Canucks, 10:00 pm E.T.
The Predators and Canucks meet for the first time since they came together to stage the most boring playoff series in the history of the world last May. The Predators are averaging only 23 shots per game this season, 29th worst in the NHL, but don't assume that means they won't score a lot of goals. The Rangers are 30th in the category, and they put four past Luongo on Tuesday.
• Nevermind where the teams are placed, these power rankings include a Simpsons quote for each team! The Red Wings' quote is one of my favorites. [Fox Sports]
• You thought concussions were the only epidemic in the NHL? Claude Lemieux speaks out on the rise of bone spurs and lace bites. [The Good Point]
• The Anaheim Ducks work on their Finnish, even though their 27th-ranked offense indicates they should work on their finish. [Youtube]
• The Canucks are struggling to find the right mix with their defensive pairings. [PITB]
Puck Buddy Comment of the Day: Straight Six, on the Johnny Canuck video:
That. Was. Awesome! Get 'em Johnny! Wonder how long til he battles a panther.
Probably a while.
Bold Prediction: Roberto Luongo will make history as the first goaltender to go into the stands and fight a fan of his own team.
- Toronto Maple Leafs