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.
Patrick Kaleta's next task: Convincing this man that it wasn't a penis he had scribbled on the Buffa-slug, but rather his signature.
Preview: Dallas Stars at San Jose Sharks, 10:30 p.m. The Stars will get a boost with the return of Brenden Morrow and Alex Gologoski from injury. The Sharks, meanwhile, will be without Douglas Murray and Jim Vandermeer, while Brad Winchester is expected to skate with Joes Thornton and Pavelski. From David Pollock: "Winchester's appearance on that line means Patrick Marleau drops down to the third, of course. Demotion? Check his minutes at the end of the night and you'll probably have the answer."
Preview: Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Philadelphia Flyers, 7 p.m. Ilya Bryzgalov gets the start as Jaromir Jagr and Max Talbot face the Penguins for the first time as Flyers. Marc-Andre Fleury was 1-4-0 with a 2.98 goals-against average against the Flyers last season. Here's our setup for this rivalry game.
Preview: Tampa Bay Lightning at New York Rangers, 7 p.m. Anton Stralman replaces the injured Michael Sauer, as the Rangers duo or Dan Girardi and Ryan McDonagh prepare to eat up some ice time. Marty St. Louis's consecutive games streak ends at 499; more importantly, he won't be around to help a struggling Tampa Bay team as one of their key leaders. Mathieu Garon gets the start.
Preview: Chicago Blackhawks vs. New York Islanders, 7:30 p.m. Why give Ray Emery the start against the Isles? Oh, how about this reason: Emery is 5-0-1 in his career against the Islanders, with a 1.64 goals-against average.
Preview: Florida Panthers at Boston Bruins, 7 p.m. Hey, whoever's responsible for Seguin, make sure sleepyhead gets his ass out of bed for this one. The Panthers are 6-2-1 in their last nine games; the Bruins have collected 29 out of a possible 32 points in their last 16 games. Jose Theodore vs. Timmy Thomas. Good times.
Preview: Vancouver Canucks at Montreal Canadiens, 7:30 p.m. The Canucks have won seven of their last eight games. The Canadiens … haven't. The Habs are 3-4-3 in their last 10. Normally, starting Roberto Luongo on the road in an arena where's he's 0-3 in his last three starts might be an issue; luckily for them, the Canadiens are pretty terrible on home ice.
Preview: Minnesota Wild at Los Angeles Kings, 10:30 p.m. Big changes in the visitors' lineup: Cal Clutterbuck and Devin Setoguchi are out, with Jeff Taffe making his Wild debut on a line with Koivu and Heatley. Meanwhile, rookie goalie Matt Hackett gets his first NHL start for the injured Josh Harding. (Backstrom backs up.) Terry Murray is unimpressed with all the talk about the Wild's defense because everyone in the League is playing the trap.
• Is NBC Sports Network trying to poach a big name from ESPN? (This is us hoping that Buccigross can be considered a "big name.") [SMW]
• The Boston Bruins sign the reason they'll eventually be seen as having fleeced the Leafs in the Kessel trade. [Stanley Cup of Chowder]
• Game No. 1,200 for Jason Arnott. [STL Today]
• Why Ryan Miller keeps flipping his lid: "I've tried putting extra padding in my mask this year and apparently it's not keeping it on my head." [Buffalo News]
• The Winnipeg Jets are creeping closer and closer to playoff contention. [Jets Nation]
• How the Minnesota Wild became the best team in the NHL. [Yahoo! Sports]
• Twenty-four years ago today, Ron Hextall became the first NHL goalie to score a goal. Five days later, he became the first NHL goalie to murder an opponent in cold blood behind his own net (unconfirmed). [CSN Philly]
Puck Daddy Reader Comment of the Day: Here's Marc Erickson on the Marek vs. Wyshynski question of the day about who your team's "Jagr" is (within the context of Pens fan animosity):
I think I speak for every Wild fan and our 11 years of history when I say Marian Gaborik. He wouldn't resign with the Wild (10 years, $80 Million) and then goes down due to his Glass Groin completely ruining his trade value. Offseason rolled around, Gabby disappears. We get nothing. Weasel.
Just like Bobby Heenan …
Bold Prediction: Jagr has a 3-point night.
- San Jose Sharks
- Jaromir Jagr
- Boston Bruins
- Dallas Stars