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.
Reader Scott Van Vleet sends in a couple more V-Day NHL candy hearts.
Preview: New York Rangers at Boston Bruins, 7 p.m. EDT. Tim Thomas vs. Henrik Lundqvist. Brian Boyle of the Rangers, a Hingham, Mass. native, hates the Bruins. "I'm a big Red Sox and Patriots fan, but I hate the Bruins. I hate them with a passion. That's how it's supposed to be, I think, and that's how it's been for a while. Last year they won and its congratulations to them, but it really made me upset. I was pretty angry about it." In a related story, Brian Boyle just announced his candidacy for mayor of Vancouver …
Preview: New Jersey Devils at Buffalo Sabres, 7 p.m. Lindy Ruff's back behind the bench, wearing a flak jacket. Interesting profile of Pat Kaleta from Mike Harrington: "A lot of people have said I'm just a mutt, a fourth-liner, and I'm just going to run around and hit," a smiling Kaleta said after practice Monday. "I take that personally and I take that as a challenge. I love challenges and having people say that about me. It motivates me to do even more and be even better." Meanwhile, Travis Zajac's status could affect what the Devils do at the deadline.
Preview: Dallas Stars at Detroit Red Wings, 7:30 p.m. The Wings go for their NHL record 21st straight win at home with Joey McDonald between the pipes. Dallas is 13-13-1 on the road. Mike Babcock, via Nick Cotsonika, on the Wings' streak vs. those that have come before them: "Things have changed, so I don't know how you compare that. All I know is that anytime you can win 20 games in a row, you've done something. That's just the facts."
Preview: Chicago Blackhawks at Nashville Predators, 8 p.m. After eight straight losses, Chicago returns to the origin on their slide in Nashville. Coach Joel Quenneville: "We need one badly. It started here right before the All-Star break (Jan. 21). We were gong along pretty good then and we have to recapture that feeling and what it took to win. We need more pace to our game. That's the one thing that's maybe not where it needs to be." Never fear: John Scott is in the lineup! Nashville has dropped three straight.
Preview: Toronto Maple Leafs at Calgary Flames, 9 p.m. Carl Gunnarsson is out for the Leafs, as Keith Aulie moves up to the defense from the Marlies. Dion Phaneuf on playing in front of Flames fans: "I get booed in a lot of buildings. … It's not me against them, it's the Toronto Maple Leafs against the Calgary Flames."
• Tuomo Ruutu is out three weeks with an upper body injury for the Carolina Hurricanes, and Jim Rutherford believes it'll have "no impact" on a decision about his future near the trade deadline. [Canes Now]
• Ryan Malone is back for the Tampa Bay Lightning tonight against the Senators. [Lightning Strikes]
• Eric Staal no longer has the worst plus/minus in the League, which means he'll get Dale Hunter's Selke vote. But who does? [The Puck Stops Here]
• Jordan Nolan on whether papa Ted Nolan has given him any feedback on his NHL debut: "Not yet. He has watched a few games. He's just trying to make me feel good about myself, saying I worked hard out there, and just to keep it going.'' [LA Kings Insider]
• Ales Hemsky on free agency vs. re-signing with the Edmonton Oilers: "You can't just stay here if you will be on the fourth line or third line. It's got to make sense for me, too, in the end. I'd like it to make sense for both sides, but, in the end, for me it's got to make sense, too." [Global]
• Great piece on Alex Stalock's comeback with the Sharks. [Mercury News]
• Interesting take by Ted Leonsis on NBC: "If the network is serious about how it broadcasts and presents the games — it must show games with regularity — later in the day on weekends — or in prime time; it must promote the games with more vigor as to tune in; it must produce the games with a more 'event' like feel; it must 'reimagine' its game day presentation to have a more relevant and youthful feel; it is NOT taking advantage of how wired our fan community is — and the broadcasts do not embrace Twitter — Facebook; social video sharing; real time and interactive platforms. It must also celebrate the game and its stars. It must present in a more embracing and friendly main stream and youthful and modern manner." [Ted's Take]
Puck Daddy Reader Comment of the Day: Josh Hoffman from Sherman Oakes on putting the red line back in:
The game is faster because the players are faster. If you put the redline back in then you decrease the amount of vertical space in which players can make plays and effectively decrease the overall playing area by half the neutral zone. You end up with more bodies in a smaller space, meaning more collisions, not less.
Bold Prediction: The Red Wings set the record … in the shootout, of course.