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.
Preview: Chicago Blackhawks at Colorado Avalanche, 9 p.m. ET. The Hawks vs. the streak breakers. Said Patrick Kane: “I think you'll see a pretty good effort from us. It's kind of revenge after what happened. They broke the streak."
Preview: Minnesota Wild at Vancouver Canucks, 10 p.m. ET. The fourth and final meeting between the division rivals, with Vancouver having won two of three. Roberto Luongo time again for the ‘Nucks. Minny is 0-9-2 in its last 11 in Vancouver.
Preview: New York Rangers at Carolina Hurricanes, 7 p.m. ET. The Hurricanes have a serious advantage in the Staals category. Marian Gaborik, Brad Richards and Rick Nash are all on the same line again, and hopefully they give the Bluehshirts some N-R-G. (Ugh.)
Preview: Philadelphia Flyers at Tampa Bay Lightning, 7:30 p.m. ET. The game is in Tampa, which is bad news for the Flyers, who are 4-11-0 on the road. Raw Charge thinks the Bolts control their own destiny.
Preview: Calgary Flames at Dallas Stars, 8:30 p.m. ET. The Stars got their behinds handed to them by the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday. Bob Hartley expects a motivated bunch: “Everyone can have a bad game,” he said. “I’ve lost some bad games with great teams, and I’ve won some big games with average teams. Every game is a different situation.”
Preview: San Jose Sharks at Anaheim Ducks, 10 p.m. ET. The Ducks have won 11 straight on home ice, and will celebrate the return of Viktor Fasth between the pipes. Todd McLellan on the Ducks sans Corey Perry: “With all due respect to Corey — and I think this is a reflection of a very good team – they’re going to miss him and they do miss him, but they’re able to plug those holes and keep on going.”
Preview: Phoenix Coyotes at Los Angeles Kings, 10:30 p.m. ET. The Kings are going for their 10th win in 11 games at Staples. Jonathan Quick gets the nod. Darryl Sutter on the Coyotes’ toughest challenge: “Veteran mobile defense. Other than the kid – who’s a star – their veteran mobile defense.”
• Chris Botta on the Islanders and NHL business, plus NHL players in UFC on today’s podcast. [Marek Vs. Wyshynski]
• Great piece by Steve Whyno on Alex Ovechkin’s career, and the shifting expectations about him. [WashTimes]
• Good look at the NCAA free agents NHL teams will be snatching up in the next few days. [SI]
• “Swampscott (Mass.) High senior captain Trevor Massey and sophomore forward Ryan Cresta admitted during a school dance to consuming alcohol on Friday night -- less than 48 hours before the team's Division 3 state title game on Sunday, according to multiple media outlets, including Lynn's Daily Item and The Boston Globe. Needless to say, the Big Blue teammates were suspended from the state championship game (and roughly 25 percent of any spring season), and Swampscott proceeded to fall short of capturing the school's first ever state title, losing 4-1 to Westfield (Mass.) High.” [Prep Rally]
• Female Blue Jackets fans had a chance to pepper NHL referees and linesman with questions. [FS Ohio]
• Ed Jovanovski is going to be out for a while for the Florida Panthers. [FS Florida]
• Is Anaheim the best bad team in hockey? [Fear The Fin]
Puck Daddy Reader Comment of the Day: Via Ken on the Blue Jackets:
I am as big a Bluejacket fan as you will find, and I get what he is saying, history has not been kind to the Jackets. Do I think this is a playoff team or buying my playoff tickets, no, but it is nice to see them playing well and enjoying the ride, just bugs me when "journalist" take delight in belittling a team because they don't believe this team is better than last place. As a fan, I am looking forward to a bright future for this franchise and enjoying the winning, was not expected and is fun to win.
Bold Prediction: Patrick Kane has his revenge on the Avs with a 3-point night.