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Puck Previews: Glass on casual homophobia; Fiddler, Bieksa name-calling; Hawks-Blues

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.

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Preview: Boston Bruins at Toronto Maple Leafs, 7 p.m. ET

Randy Carlyle looks to move to 2-0 as the coach of the Leafs and get the Leafs back into the playoff race, while the Bruins try to avoid their first 3-game losing streak since October. The Bruins should have the upper hand here, having won all 4 meetings between the two teams this season, but they're a different team now. For instance, fans are currently hoping Marty Turco clears waivers so he can join them, which is perilously close to rock bottom.

Preview: Chicago Blackhawks at St. Louis Blues, 8 p.m. ET

The Hawks are playing some streaky hockey these days. They lost 9 straight, then they won 4 straight, then they lost 3 straight, and now they're looking for their 4th straight win  again. (This is likely why they enter this game a full 10 points behind the Blues.) Keep an eye on Jamal Mayers, who has been on the ice for 3 straight powerplay goals for the Blackhawks. He has Joel Quenneville looking like a genius for predicting that he could ice his worst players in 5-on-4 situations and it wouldn't prevent the eventuality of the Blackhawks breaking their 0-for-39 powerplay slump.

Preview: Dallas Stars at Vancouver Canucks, 10 p.m. ET

The Pacific Division once again has a new leader and this time it's the Stars, who are 6-0-1 in their last 7 and have overtaken both the Sharks and the Coyotes at the top. (Seriously, if the Sharks finish 3rd in the Pacific, does Todd McLellan keep his job?) Matchups between division leaders are always fun, but here's an added wrinkle. Remember when Vernon Fiddler made his Angry Bieksa face? Bieksa called him a loser on Saturday. Then, today, Fiddler called Bieksa a caveman. The battle of these two grown adults will be watched closely.

Evening Reading

• Tanner Glass doesn't just fight bears. He fights casual homophobia, too. "A hockey locker room is a place to be accepting. The fact there are no openly gay athletes in our sport is not right. If you look at the numbers, statistically there's got to be a few guys. Anything we can do to make it more comfortable for them, the better." [Toronto Sun]

• Mark Chipman predicted that Randy Carlyle would be the coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs. All hail Mark Chipman... [Winnipeg Sun]

• On the system Kirk Muller is trying to install in Carolina. [Washington Times]

• Brian McGrattan speaks about being three years clean and sober. [Section 303]

• Alain Vigneault talks about Chris Higgins being plus-5 in scoring chances, validating all the thankless work Thomas Drance and Cam Charron do. [PITB]

Puck Buddy comment of the day: Zeus2you sees the upside in today's huge Nicklas Grossmann reveal:

So does this mean my Grossman sweater is a priceless misprint like that upside down plane stamp???? oh please, oh please...


Bold prediction: 5 of tonight's 12 games see shutouts, leading to ever more doomsday columns about the return of the Dead Puck Era. While the other games have high scores, they are ignored.

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