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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.
Bruce Bennett took some incredible photos from the 2013 USA Hockey Pond Hockey National Championships this weekend in Eagle River, Wisconsin. I like this one a lot.
Looking at the recent history between these two teams, you might be tempted to put money on the Flyers in Luke Schenn's return to Toronto. Philly is 9-1-0 in their last 10 versus the Maple Leafs and they've won 5 in a row. But it's the Leafs that are coming off a massive 3-game road trip when they collected 3 wins and outscored their opponents 12-4.
After opening up the season 7-0-0, the Sharks hit a wall. Patrick Marleau stopped scoring and the team stopped winning. They've since dropped 4 straight, with just 5 goals over the four contests. The powerplay is 1-for-25. But there's no need to panic: they're playing the Columbus Blue Jackets. That should help turn things around... unless it doesn't, in which case, panic.
Preview: Los Angeles Kings at St. Louis Blues, 8 p.m. ET
Jaroslav Halak returns to the St. Louis goal, and if you watched Brian Elliott play during his absence, you know it's not a moment too soon. Elliott looked like old Brian Elliott, which is hardly the goaltending the Blues are used to. But it's not entirely the goalie's fault. St. Louis has gone from the best goaltending to the worst, and a lot of that has to do with their system being somewhat porous. It's good news for an LA team that's falling in the standings despite being one of the league's most dominant teams 5-on-5 in terms of possession. If St. Louis's inability to prevent shots and keep the puck out of their net over their last 4 games continues, this one could be a redemptive rout for the Kings.
• If you only read one thing today, well, you've reached your quota by opening this post. But if you read two things, make the second one this amazing article from Britain's Telegraph in which a columnist struggles to watch a hockey game. This is me watching cricket. [Telegraph]
• Dale Weise is actually pretty good, and more people would think so if the puck would start cooperating. [Pass it to Bulis]
• Why have Jon Hamm and Dustin Penner never been seen in the same place at the same time? [The Royal Half]
• That Boston/Tampa Bay game that was cancelled last week has been rescheduled for Thursday, April 25. [PHT]
• NHL players love to bite each other. [Vice]
• The Dallas Stars' modified travel schedule appears to be helping them to wins. [On Goal Analysis]
Puck Buddy Comment of the Day: In the video game characters post, A Yahoo! User reminds us of one of Jason Lee's best line-read:
"Breakfast, shmreakfast. Look at the score, for Christ's sake. It's only the second period and I'm up 12 to 2. Breakfasts come and go, Rene, but Hartford, "the Whale," they only beat Vancouver once, maybe twice in a lifetime."
Bold prediction: I'm calling that rout I mentioned. LA over St. Louis with authority. Drew Doughty gets a goal.