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.
In preparation for a match against the Devils, Rangers assistant coach Mike Sullivan does an impression of a devil.
Last year's Eastern Conference Final is now a battle on the playoff bubble in the East, with the Devils sitting just two points ahead of the Rangers for eighth. Neither team is playing good hockey right now, although the Rangers are coming off a win, and the Devils will be without one of those for three straight if they lose this contest. Johan Hedberg gets what might be his last start for awhile with Martin Brodeur almost ready to return, so he'll have to make it a good one.
This could be a good draw for the Blue Jackets, who are looking to extend their point streak to 11 games. The Predators are losers of three straight. Plus they aren't known to pepper goaltenders, so maybe the Blue Jackets can win their second in a row despite not scoring a single goal?
This matchup doesn't carry the cachet it used to, not with the Caps and Penguins at opposite ends of the Eastern Conference standings, but not only will the Penguins will be without Evgeni Malkin, but it would appear they're down Kris Letang as well. That might give the Capitals the opportunity to eke out a win.
After a slide earlier in the season, the Blues have begun to turn it around, thanks in no small part to Jake Allen. They've won three straight. The Canucks, on the other hand, are still sliding, at 3-5-2 in their last 10 and looking to avoid their third straight loss before heading out on the road.
• Jake Gardiner has finally been freed. [National Post]
• Darryl Sutter on Drew Doughty playing more of a one-man game: “Well, if you do that all the time, you’re not a very good player. You’re Brian Campbell in Florida. You’ll be minus-20 and we’ll see you on the highlights. But you’re on a bad team, and you’re a high-minus player. [LA Kings Insider]
• Why David Booth hasn't played his last game as a Canuck despite a season-ending injury that leaves him as a potential buyout candidate. [Pass it to Bulis]
• Speaking of the Canucks, is it time for them to part ways with Alain Vigneault? [Sportsnet]
• More on the mega-deals for Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf from Eric Stephens, who adds that Perry and Getzlaf were both assured the Ducks would be willing to open their wallets if the club had a reasonable shot at the Cup. As if they needed more assurance beyond the insane money they were given. [OC Register]
• Tyler Myers make Bruce Dowbiggin's list of 10 virtually unmoveable contracts. It's the first year of his deal. [The Globe & Mail]
• Here's a cool website that lets you view highlights without spoiling the final score of the game. [Don't Tell Me the Score]
• Whatever happened to Adam Deadmarsh? [The Farm Club]
Puck Buddy Comment of the Day: Brian, on the Calder race:
No love for Jake Muzzin for the Calder? Joke. EAST COAST BIAS.
I counter that, if you think Muzzin beats out the current five front-runners, you have a West Coast bias.
Bold Prediction: Shutout for Bobrovsky.