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.
The Nuge For Calder campaign begins!
Preview: Los Angeles Kings at Calgary Flames, 9:30 p.m. ET. The Flames have five games left and trail the No. 8 seed Phoenix by two points. The Kings trail the Yotes by a point and have a game in-hand. The Flames' season is on the line here … and Darryl Sutter is on the opposite bench. Said Brent Sutter: "It's a storyline for everyone outside both teams' dressing rooms. This is the Kings and the Flames. That's what it's about. It's not about Darryl and I, at all." OK then.
Preview: Detroit Red Wings at Columbus Blue Jackets, 7 p.m. ET. The Mule returns for the Red Wings, which is bad news for anyone that might face them in the postseason. The Jackets will try and avenge a 7-2 loss to the Wings. The rest of the hockey world waits to see if Shawn Hunwick can find a way into the game. The Chief offers the preview headline of the day.
Preview: New York Rangers at Winnipeg Jets, 7 p.m. ET. The Rangers try to expand their lead on the Penguins for the conference top spot. Nice piece by the New York Times on the impact Jets fans have had this season. Said Chris Mason: "I've played in front of some pretty lively crowds, but this is something different." In pre-playoff Nashville and Atlanta?
Preview: Dallas Stars at Edmonton Oilers, 9:30 p.m. ET. Reilly Smith, who has a similar "excitement level" for Stars fans to Jamie Benn when he was a prospect, makes his debut for Dallas. The Oilers shot rates are less crummy then they were, but still sorta crummy.
Preview: San Jose Sharks at Anaheim Ducks, 10 p.m. ET. Jonas Hiller should go for the Ducks. From Daily Ducks Blog: "If the Ducks win in regulation, the Sharks will stay at 88 points. Which means, if Dallas wins, Dallas will take the top spot in the division and the third seed in the conference. The Sharks would then drop to seventh. They couldn't drop farther than that tonight because of Phoenix not playing tonight with 87 points and if Colorado won and got to 88 points, the Sharks would hold the tiebreaker over them."
Preview: Colorado Avalanche at Vancouver Canucks, 10 p.m. ET. The Avs begin with 86 points and four games left, one in back of the Coyotes (who have five games left). Semyon Varlamov starts; Peter Mueller is back in the lineup after a pair of scratches; and Milan Hejduk is on the fourth line. Cory Schneider gets the nod for the Canucks, despite the fact that Luongo has been awesome.
Dave Shoalts says give Brian Burke more time: "Getting both an elite goalie and an elite centre is a little much to expect but the goaltender should be the priority. Finding a couple of big, tough forwards is a bit easier. A good goalie will go a long way toward rebuilding the team's confidence and that is the first step. Then perhaps the noise level will subside and Burke can get on with the rest of the job." [G&M]
Expect it to be Tuukka time in the playoffs. [WEEI]
Vince Gill wants you to have his Nashville Predators tickets. [Country Weekly]
The goalie conundrum for the St. Louis Blues. [STL Game Time]
Puck Daddy Reader Comment of the Day: Tyler Olsen on nuance:
A dangle is a subset of the more broad undressing category. A dangle must be an undressing but an undressing does not have to have been a dangle. I'd define a dangle as a move in which the offensive player holds the puck in one constant position for at least a definable moment, before quickly moving it past the (often lunging/incompetent/out of position) defender. Often the player with the puck will move the puck far from his body, sometimes with one hand, before yanking it past or through the defender. It's called a dangle because the offensive player dangles the puck in front of the defender before swiftly yanking it away. Malkin is a master dangler. Datsyuk tends to keep the puck in constant movement, often close to his body, although you could define his forehand-deke to the right-forehand shootout move as a dangle. The Forsberg, Bure and Yzerman goals in the TSN video are debatable dangles. The rest are definite dangles.
Bold Prediction: The Ducks upset the Sharks, because they're jerks like that.
- Calgary Flames