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Puck Previews: Sens shoot for top of division; NHL Europe games cancelled for 2012-13

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.

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This is a Chicago Blackhawks Shamrock Plush Monkey ($15.99) available from Shop NHL. It's based on an actual outfit Patrick Kane wore during a pub crawl last season (unconfirmed). [s/t Vanessa Crandall]

Preview: Colorado Avalanche at Buffalo Sabres, 7:30 p.m. As Leahy noted, the Sabres are working on a playoff comeback that would make history, as "no team in under this current NHL playoff format has ever made the postseason after being in last place in their conference in February." The Avs, meanwhile, begin a quirky and potentially horrific three-game East Coast swing at the Sabres, Devils and Rangers.

Preview: Dallas Stars at Winnipeg Jets, 8:30 p.m. Richard Bachman spells Kari Lehtonen for a night, as the Stars play the second of back to back games … where they are 1-9-2. Winnipeg has lost two straight, but now it's time for home cookin'.

Preview: Ottawa Senators at Montreal Canadiens, 7:30 p.m. The Sens can earn a share of the Northeast Division lead with a victory, since the Bruins have apparently forgotten how to be the Bruins. Meanwhile, from the Kicking A Guy When He's Down Dept.: "Unproductive Gomez out with a concussion."

Preview: Detroit Red Wings at Anaheim Ducks, 10 p.m. The Red Wings look to sweep the Ducks, having won six of the last seven meetings between the teams. Todd Bertuzzi's back in the lineup. Nicklas Lidstrom … well, that's a bit more of a concern.

Preview: Phoenix Coyotes at Vancouver Canucks, 10 p.m. Henrik Sedin hasn't scored a point in eight games. Daniel Sedin hasn't scored a point in five games. The solution? Play them with Mason Raymond, of course. Instant offense. If you want to know what's up with the Yotes, this handy roundtable will fill you in.

Preview: Columbus Blue Jackets at Edmonton Oilers, 10 p.m. Sometimes, the key to victory is simply who wants it less.

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

The NHL has called off its European vacation to start next season, as the CBA uncertainty has caused the cancellation of the NHL Premiere Series and exhibitions. [Globe & Mail]

To the shock of no one, the Sabres and Habs see the Tyler Myers suspension a shade differently. [Post Media]

"As the victim, a 25-year-old Fraser man, was skating away from a scuffle during a game about 10 p.m. that night, he later told police that he thought the referee bumped him from behind, knocking him to the floor and causing him to temporarily lose consciousness, Diamond said." [Patch]

The THN Top 50, sans No. 1; Alex Ovechkin still ranks highly. [THN]

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