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Puck Previews: Southeast Division battle; Ryan Miller on preseason expectations; NCAA tourney under way

Sean Leahy
Puck Daddy

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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• A member of the St. Paul SWAT team dropped the puck on the ceremonial face off last night in Minnesota. [Getty Images]

Preview: Buffalo Sabres at New York Rangers, 7 p.m. ET. When the Sabres come off the ice after their shifts, you can't blame them if they peer at the Madison Square Garden scoreboard and check out what's happening in the Winnipeg-Washington game. With eight games left in their season, Buffalo trails the Capitals by one point and hope to continue their late push towards a playoff spot. New York has won all three meetings between the sides this season. Ruslan Fedotenko is expected to be a healthy scratch for the second straight game.

Preview: Winnipeg Jets at Washington Capitals, 7 p.m. ET. Every game from here on out is a "must-win" for the Jets. Five points behind Washington for the No. 8 seed, losing their last two put a large dent in their playoff hopes. Facing six of their final nine games away from MTS Centre where they've been so successful, the Jets face a tough task in trying to reach the postseason for the first time since 2007. The Capitals begin a short three-game homestand after picking up five points in five road games.

Preview: Edmonton Oilers at Florida Panthers, 7:30 p.m. ET. Despite winning five of their last six, the Panthers still have a ways to go to clinch the Southeast Division title. Only four points ahead of the Capitals with eight games remaining, Florida will try for a franchise-record sixth straight win at home against an Oilers team that's long forgotten about playing postseason hockey.

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

• Ryan Miller talking with Pierre LeBrun about Buffalo's preseason expectations: "This is by no means an excuse, but I think being labeled as "Cup Contenders" simply because of hype and our change in ownership hurt our mentality and approach. Instead of building toward smaller goals as a team and creating the culture and identity of a championship-caliber team, we skipped major steps in an our approach. ... Plus, we didn't earn or deserve the label at all, so instead of growing and building in a positive light toward being contenders by playing the games and going through the challenges, we were constantly viewed as failing in every situation in the fans' eyes and in the media, and we had to constantly answer for something that I don't think we should have been labeled." [ESPN]

• The NCAA men's hockey tournament is under way and the opening game of the weekend saw Union defeat Michigan State 3-1. [Times Union]

• A major charge against former Boston University player Corey Trivino has been dropped. Trivino will now not have to face a grand jury and is still charged with three counts of indecent assault and battery and three counts of breaking and entering in the nighttime. [BU Today]

• Sean Avery played seven games for the Connecticut Whale of the AHL. His jersey from his minor league tenure is up on eBay for auction. [eBay]

• Finally, from the NHLPA's Players' Playbook, here's Scott Hartnell backstage at the NHL All-Star Fantasy Draft:

Puck Daddy Reader Comment of the Day: John P. with a solution for the University of North Dakota:

"I hope they come out with 'Fighting Sue' across the front of the jerseys."

Johnny Cash would be smiling.

Bold Prediction: Washington gets a little separation in the No. 8 seed with a 3-1 win over Winnipeg coupled with a Buffalo 4-2 loss to the New York Rangers.

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