Puck Previews: Preds vs Kings; Raymond skates with team

Harrison Mooney
November 8, 2011

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.

After the referee said he didn't like 'Firefly', Carlo Colaiacovo skated away in disgust.

Preview: Dallas Stars at Washington Capitals, 7 p.m. ET.

Two of the league's top teams do battle as the Stars ride into the Verizon Center with the top record in the Western Conference, looking for their fourth straight win. The Capitals, meanwhile, are coming off a 5-3 loss to the New York Islanders, after which coach Bruce Boudreau said, "We started to become a little individualistic, and turnovers kill you." I assume he was referring to apple turnovers. He should switch to phyllo dough. Less fatty.

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

This one won't be nearly as fun to watch without frequent shots of Davis Payne and that tiny patch of hair that was obviously covering a unicorn horn removal scar, but all eyes will be on Ken Hitchcock, whose era in St. Louis begins with the Blues kicking off a five-game homestand versus the Chicago Blackhawks. But don't expect the advent of Hitchcock to be the most impactful return: Duncan Keith is also expected back after missing the past three games following a shot to the hand versus Nashville. The Blackhawks allowed 13 goals over that span.

Preview: Nashville Predators at Los Angeles Kings, 10 p.m. ET.

Did you know that Pekka Rinne posted a 4.68 GAA and .821 save percentage versus the Kings last season? I bring it up because he just signed a massive $7 million contract, and there's nothing more entertaining than the crap that gets written about high-paid goaltenders after they have a bad game. If Rinne struggles versus the Kings continue into this year, especially considering how terrible Los Angeles is currently playing (they're 0-3-2 in their last five) the first wave of many such columns could come tonight. Oh my God. So excited. (Of course, the Predators could also ruin everything by starting Lindback. Oh, look, they did.)

Evening reading:

• The 10 best bodychecks of Dion Phaneuf's career. Better hurry up and watch it, because according to Don Cherry, no one does this anymore. [Backhand Shelf]

• After breaking his back in game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final, Mason Raymond practiced with the Canucks for the first time today. Also: Sami Salo didn't. Who would have thought that, by November, Mason Raymond would be healthier than Sami Salo? Actually, everybody, I guess. [Canucks]

• Stop the presses. The Rangers have acquired F Francois Bouchard from Washington in exchange for D Tomas Kundratek. [Rangers]

• Tampa Bay Lightning forward Mattias Ritola would rather play in Europe than Norfolk. The Lightning have placed him on unconditional waivers with the intention of terminating his contract. [St. Petersburg Times]

• On Jerred Smithson's leadership for the Nashville Predators. Apparently, when he speaks, players listen. [The Tennessean]

• Leahy gave us a picture of Dale Weise lounging on an invisible couch a couple nights back. I spliced in the couch. And also put him on ski lift. [PITB]

Puck Buddy Comment of the Day: From Nukes, on Dustin Penner:

Dustin Penner: we'd trade him, but he's the only one who knows how to fix the Wi-Fi when it goes out.

He's super good at the Internet.

Bold Prediction: The Blues play exactly the same, but they have this one really good penalty kill shift and the St. Louis commentators chalk it up to improved coaching.