Capitals at Penguins; Hossa, Torres clash, hopefully not via a leaping headshot (Puck Previews)

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 Y! software tends to confuse Tim Thomas the NHL player with the one from the NBA (I'll hazard a guess that it's doing it right now). Clearly, it's not just us. But the accompanying photo makes it way worse.

Preview: Washington Capitals at Pittsburgh Penguins, 7 p.m. ET

These games are certainly more exciting when both teams are good, and that's not really the case right now. The Capitals are playing some abysmal hockey these days, and the Penguins are the winners of four straight. Moreover, the Penguins are scoring a lot and defending well, while the Capitals are doing neither of these things. So you can see how the outcome in this one might not be as difficult to predict as it once was. Still, the bad blood between the Penguins and Capitals still makes this one pretty close to a must-see.

Preview: Tampa Bay Lightning at New Jersey Devils, 7 p.m. ET

New Jersey has been one of the league's stingiest teams so far this season. Can they shut down the Bolts, who are averaging an absurd, league-best 4.44 goals per game? If not, they'll need help from their top scorers. It would be helpful, for instance, if Ilya Kovalchuk could break his 6-game pointless streak, his longest stretch of unproductive play in over two years.

Preview: Detroit Red Wings at St. Louis Blues, 8 p.m. ET

There's no time for Detroit to get the warm and fuzzies over Wade Redden's 1000th NHL game. They have some shutting down to do. The Red Wings have struggled mightily to keep the puck out of their net versus St. Louis this season. In the season opener, they allowed 6 goals in a 6-0 romp. Next game, they trimmed the goals against to 3 in a 5-3 win but still didn't look defensively settled. 6 of St. Louis's 9 goals in this season series came on the powerplay, so if the Wings are looking for a place to tighten up (apart from everywhere), it's there.

Preview: Chicago Blackhawks at Phoenix Coyotes, 9 p.m. ET

The Blackhawks have won 3 straight. The Coyotes have won 3 straight at home. Yet somehow, I suspect most people won't be watching this one to see whose streak continues. The big story here will be the first game to feature Marian Hossa and Raffi Torres since the nasty collision that earned Hossa a trip to the hospital and Torres the largest suspension of the Shanaban era. Will there be retribution? Probably. Here's hoping it's within reason. If this ends in another trip to the hospital, it's clear we've learned nothing.

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 Goalie Post.

Evening reading

• Get to know Jaromir Jagr, infallible golden god of Kladno. [Pegasus News]

• On this day in 1976, Darryl Sittler set a record with a 10-point game. Here he is talking about it. [CBC]

• P.K. Subban: the NHL's most-hated player? [SI]

• Lubomir Visnovsky was activated by the Islanders today. Whether he wants to or not, he can help them. [Sporting News]

• The Red Wings are .500. Should Ken Holland be doing something? [Winging it in Motown]

Puck Buddy Comment of the Day: Christian wins the 'name Mike Smith's haircut' contest with this entry:

The Coyote Ugly


Prediction: Raffi Torres drops the gloves with a member of the Chicago Blackhawks very early on.

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