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: Buffalo Sabres at Boston Bruins, 7:30 p.m. ET. Emotional night in Boston as the Bruins play their first game since the Marathon bombing. The team has donated $250,000 to The One Fund Boston for the victim and their families. There was also a player and team staff ticket donation for first responders for the game vs. the Sabres.
Preview: Montreal Canadiens at Pittsburgh Penguins, 7 p.m. ET. The Penguins have won six of seven meetings against the Habs, including that wacky 7-6 game earlier this season. Peter Budaj gets the nod for Montreal, as Carey Price has been a welcome mat for rubber in his last two starts.
Preview: Detroit Red Wings at Calgary Flames, 9:30 p.m. ET. Critical trap game for the Wings, who have dropped two games to the Flames this season. "There's no panic, but guys definitely know there's a sense of urgency around here," said goalie Jimmy Howard. The Flames can be eliminated from the postseason chase with a loss.
Preview: Columbus Blue Jackets at Anaheim Ducks, 10 p.m. ET. The Jackets’ unlikely playoff push continues. By the time their game at LA on Thursday night is over, they’ll have played five games in seven nights. "That's tough,” RJ Umberger told Puck-Rakers. “But at this moment we're just excited to play, so bring 'em on, let's play. We want to get these five games over and get our playoff spot."
• No Marek Vs. Wyshynski today, but we’ll be back on Thursday. [Marek Vs. Wyshynski]
• Shea Weber said losing Ryan Suter wasn’t the reason the Preds missed the playoffs. “He’s obviously a very good player and he’s done well this year. But I think there’s obviously a lot of other reasons you can attribute to why we’re sitting on the outside looking in." [ESPN]
• Kari Lehtonen is back for the Dallas Stars. [CP]
• Spector on the task at hand for Craig MacTavish. [THN]
• With Brian Boyle out, the New York Rangers get Chris Kreider back from the AHL. [NYDN]
• Why do the Winnipeg Jets want to make the playoffs? To bring back the White Out of course. Huh … don’t they know that’s Phoenix’s tradition? [CP]
Puck Daddy Reader Comment of the Day: Bleys on the LA Winter Classic:
It's been said before, but the average temp in LA at 6 pm in January is one degree cooler than the average NHL arena. The whole point of outdoor games is spectacle, and LA ACTUALLY provides that. Want to talk about diluting the event? How about Pens vs. Hawks, two teams that have already hosted a WC, the Pens in two of them? Or the (not really) open air event in BC?
Bold Prediction: Rene Rancourt’s anthem is going to be [expletive] epic tonight.