Puck Previews: Panthers, Rangers rematch; Iginla still after goal 500

Harrison Mooney
January 5, 2012

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.

Please caption this photo. Also, someone needs to rotate it 90 degrees and photoshop  Rupp and Repik dangling from a rope bridge.

Preview: Calgary Flames at Boston Bruins, 7 p.m. EST

Since December 10, the Bruins have lost only once. It stands to reason that they're pretty good, and that you're not going to beat them unless you're on top of your game. The Flames are... not that. They've lost four straight and, to make matters worse, they'll be without Rene Bourque for the next five. Lucky for Flames fans, there's more to cheer for than just the upset: Jarome Iginla's still sitting on 499 goals in his career.

Preview: Florida Panthers at New York Rangers, 7 p.m. EST

The last time these two teams met, the game ended with Michael Del Zotto crosschecking Tomas Kopecky in the head, Kopecky responding by sucker punching Del Zotto, and Mike Rupp responding by giving Kopecky a pounding. That in mind, it's the Panthers' turn to respond, and Krys Barch implied that he was planning on it. However, he was conveniently suspended for this game for his "racial slur" on P.K. Subban. Will the game still be heated without him? Probably.

Preview: Chicago Blackhawks at Philadelphia Flyers, 7 p.m. EST

The Flyers are struggling right now. They're 2-4-1 in their last seven, they're without Jaromir Jagr for a week and change, and Ilya Bryzgalov (who should get the start Thursday night) is beginning to seem less quirky and more insane. But, if they're looking for a little motivation to right the ship, their first home game versus the Blackhawks since they were defeated in game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final should do it.

Evening reading

• Karl Alzner lost a bet and had to wear a Russian jersey at Washington Capitals practice. Ovechkin's troll face here is money. [Washington Post]

• How quiet is First Niagara Center? According to Ville Leino, "Married couples fighting upstairs, you can hear that on the ice." [Boston Herald]

• Montreal Canadiens prospect Louis LeBlanc has been returned to junior. [Montreal Gazette]

• Kevin Smith announces that Hit Somebody, his proposed two-part film, will now be combined into one epic hockey movie. "Smith said he hoped to begin filming in June, and anticipated a 150 minute "max" running time. He wants to have a finished film ready for next year's Sundance Film Festival, the place where he broke into Hollywood with his homemade Clerks in 1994." [Inside Movies]

Bold prediction: Four goals in the first period for the Bruins.