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Puck Previews: NHL’s No. 1 vs. No. 2; Gretzky for Alumni Game?

Sean Leahy
Puck Daddy

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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Jamie Benn uses Ryan O'Reilly for a quick cat nap on the ice.

Preview: Dallas Stars at Pittsburgh Penguins, 7 p.m. ET. We went from tonight being "Hey, Sidney Crosby is coming back!" to "Oh, hey, Alex Goligoski is coming back to Pittsburgh and James Neal is facing his old team". Sorry, assembled media who spent this entire week in Pittsburgh. Crosby news aside, it's still a matchup of No. 1 in the East versus No. 1 in the West.

Preview: Edmonton Oilers at Detroit Red Wings, 7:30 p.m. ET. Detroit's five-game winning streak over Edmonton is on the line and they'll be facing a red-hot Nikolai Khabibulin, while potentially missing Henrik Zetterberg, who's a game-time decision with a "middle-body injury". Elbow-height expert Andy Sutton will return to the lineup for the Oilers after serving a five-game suspension for elbowing Gabriel Landeskog.

Preview: Vancouver Canucks at Anaheim Ducks, 10:30 p.m. ET. As Detroit looks to extend a winning streak, Anaheim is trying to snap a six-game losing streak and begin their rise out of the bottom of the Pacific Division. Vancouver's six-game road trip comes to an end and they're going for their third straight win. Odds are good for the Canucks if they can score as the Ducks are 30th in the NHL at 1.87 goals per game.

Check out previews and updated scores for all of today's games on the Y! Sports NHL scores and scheds page. For tonight's starting goalies, check out Left Wing Lock.

Evening Reading

• Jarome Iginla is a wise, wise man. His thoughts on getting rid of the loser point: "It would be a little more stressful when you're in a shootout but be more fun. You'd have more riding on each game," Iginla said. "I'm sure I'm in a minority in that, but it would be exciting." [Calgary Sun]

• LeBrun on Wayne Gretzky warming up to playing in the Winter Classic Alumni Game, Tampa GM Steve Yzerman responding to the 1-3-1 "controversy" and the GMs meetings agenda. [ESPN]

• "Gone are the days of his electric spirit engulfing the other eleven players on the ice. Gone are the days where his celebrations alone are highlight worthy. The youthful smile and bottomless pit of energy has escaped him. Nowadays, we see a more calm and composed Alexander Ovechkin. An unstoppable force of a player has been reduced to just another All-Star caliber player. The difference between the two types of players in this nit-picking analysis is very clear. Alexander Ovechkin no longer has his mental edge." [Puck Drunk Love]

• Guillaume Latendresse is out for indefinitely with a concussion. [Russo]

Puck Buddy Comment of the Day: Andrew on possible retribution on Eric Staal:

"As a Rangers fan I don't want the distraction. The hit was a clean hit and players need to learn to keep their head up at all times especially along the boards. As some have said the best way to get back at them is to beat them every time you face them this year. Sending Deveaux or Avery out after him does no one any good, especially because it was a clean hit."

Bold Prediction: Patrick Kane hat trick as the Blackhawks rout the Flames 5-1.

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