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.
Cody Hodgson is sad
I will always, always, always preview these two teams if I get the opportunity, just because we now know they're capable of a 17-goal game. But there are other reasons this one's worth your time: Ilya Bryzgalov gets the start, which is enough to make us cackle with churlish glee; It's Eric Wellwood vs. Kyle Wellwood in the battle of the two least cared-about brothers in the NHL; and the Jets are in the thick of the playoff hunt, capable of stealing either the Southeast Division or the 8th seed in the Conference, neither of which anyone else seems interested in winning. They should like their chances against the Flyers: Philadelphia has lost 6 of 8 and Jets have won all three contests between the two clubs this season.
Two of the Eastern Conference's best teams, two more brothers in Jordan and Marc Staal, and two likely Hart candidates in Evgeni Malkin and Henrik Lundqvist do battle. So who's got the edge? In this case, the road team. Did you know the Rangers have never lost at Consol Energy Center? They're 5-0-0 there. Clearly, they find the visitors' locker room far more inspirational than it was at Mellon Arena, where they only won 12 of 47 games. Pittsburgh needs to keep the score down in this one: they've surrendered 10 goals in their last 2 games, and porous defense like that won't work against the stingy Rangers.
As amazing as the Detroit Red Wings have been at home, they're only a .500 road team, a fact that likely has the Blackhawks quite excited. Mind you, Chicago might also be excited by the fact that their 9-game losing streak is a thing of the past and their 3-game winning streak is a thing of the present. Pavel Datsyuk will miss the game and the next two weeks to undergo arthroscopic knee surgery. But, on the bright side for the Wings, Jimmy Howard returns.
If it's goals you hate, this tilt between the offensively-starved Kings and the anti-offense Coyotes should do the trick. The Kings haven't scored in two games, falling to both the Coyotes and the Calgary Flames 1-0 last week. The Coyotes haven't allowed more than one goal in regulation in their last 7 games. In other words, brace yourself for 60 minutes of sudden death overtime!
Preview: Vancouver Canucks at Nashville Predators, 8 p.m. ET
Last season, contests between the Canucks and the Predators were insomnia-curers. This season? Scoring is the new boring. In 3 games, a total of 23 goals have been scored. The Sedins have 12 points in the season series. Pekka Rinne has been pulled twice and Roberto Luongo once. If you're going to this one, get there on time: the season series has seen 13 first-period goals.
• Take a look at Carey Price's new mask. [Backhand Shelf]
• Jordan Bowman on Alex Burrows' 500th game. [Legion of Blog]
• Washington Capitals' owner Ted Leonsis on his team's performance Monday: "Worst game of the season. [...] We came up small when we needed to come up big and win a game on the road. Another wasted opportunity to get two points and move up in the standings. An unacceptable performance." [Postmedia]
• If Dean Lombardi trades for Rick Nash, then he should be fired. [Battle of Cali]
Puck Buddy Comment of the Day: A Yahoo! User, on Bryzgalov's injured hand:
Bryzgalov isn't used to taking a puck to the hand. Nothing but net.
Bold prediction: Just after Adrian Aucoin wins it for Phoenix 1-0 in the 19th round of the shootout, half the audience at Jobing.com Arena realizes somebody robbed them while they were asleep.
- Detroit Red Wings
- Philadelphia Flyers
- Winnipeg Jets