Maple Leafs host Islanders; Slovakian lacrosse goal (Puck Previews)

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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.

There's so much going on in this photo.

Preview: New York Islanders at Toronto Maple Leafs, 7 p.m. ET. OK, let's try this again: Here go the Maple Leafs attempting for a second game in a row to clinch a playoff berth. After failing to do so on Tuesday, they'll look to accomplish the feat against an Islander team coming into Thursday night 7-1-2 in their last 10 and fighting for a playoff spot of their own. The Leafs need to beat the Islanders in regulation or overtime and hope the Carolina Hurricanes can dispatch the Winnipeg Jets. Should they need a shootout, the Canes must beat the Jets in regulation.

Preview: Vancouver Canucks at Dallas Stars, 8:30 p.m. ET. The Stars' loss to the Blackhawks on Monday night set them back four points of the eighth spot in the Western Conference's No. 8 seed. After winning five in a row, Dallas can't afford another loss while trying to catch the Red Wings and Blue Jackets. Kari Lehtonen will return in goal for the Stars, while Cory Schneider gets the nod in goal for Vancouver.

Preview: Columbus Blue Jackets at Los Angeles Kings, 10:30 p.m. ET. The Kings will welcome Matt Greene back to the lineup Thursday night after the defenseman injured his back on Jan. 19. Columbus will attempt to win their sixth in a row, which would match a team record set in 2006. For their sake, they'd love to do so in regulation or overtime, so as to now allow former GM Scott Howson's rule change to hurt them in the end.

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

• Here's today's Marek Vs. Wyshynski podcast featuring Andrew Ference of the Boston Bruins.

• Remember the young San Jose Sharks fan whose YouTube video of him crying after the Ryane Clowe trade went viral? Well, the Sharks gave him a tour of their locker room today and the kid wondered why Dan Boyle hadn't won a Stanley Cup with them yet. [Mercury News]

• We've discovered the reason for brain injuries in hockey: the media! [LA Times]

• Finally, here's Jan Sykora pulling off the lacrosse move for Slovakia against the Czech Republic during a tuneup for the World Championships:

Puck Daddy Reader Comment of the Day: "CL" on a potential color scheme change for the Islanders when they move to Brooklyn:

"The current jerseys are simple, classic, and great to look at. Don't change a thing."


Bold Prediction: Islanders delay the playoff celebrations in Toronto with a 3-2 win.

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