Puck Daddy Viewing Guide: Howard’s back; Ovechkin mini-slump; Kane, Sharp, streaking

Puck Daddy

Here is the Puck Daddy Viewing Guide: Spotlighting five things to watch for during tonight's slate of games. Make sure to stop back here for the nightly Three Stars when the games are finished.

Create-a-Caption: "Brad Stuart and Antti Niemi of the San Jose Sharks protect the net against Daniel Winnik of the Anaheim Ducks..."

• • • • •

Preview: Washington Capitals at Ottawa Senators, 7:30 p.m. ET

Preview: Los Angeles Kings at Chicago Blackhawks, 8:00 p.m. ET

Preview: Detroit Red Wings at Nashville Predators, 8:00 p.m. ET

Preview: Philadelphia Flyers at Vancouver Canucks, 10:00 p.m. ET

• • • • •

Five things to know about tonight's NHL games ...

1. Jimmy Howard returns for Wings. Perhaps reinvigorated by the report that hefd be on the Olympic team, Jimmy Howard is off the injured list and into the game. He gets his first start for the Red Wings in 3 weeks.

2. Ovechkin so good at goal-scoring, he seems bad right now. Alex Ovechkin has gone 3 games without a goal now. For most players, this is nothing. It happens. But when you're the goal-scoringest goal-scorer around, a 3 game stretch without a goal can be referred to as a slump. Can Ovechkin bump it tonight? Or will it swell to a debilitating, confidence-crippling four-game drought?

3. Kane streaky. No wait, sorry, I mean streaking. He's super consistent. Kane has registered a point in every game in December. Can he make it a clean sweep in Chicago's final game of the year? The Blackhawks' winger and Puck Daddy's reigning player of the year puts his 14-game point streak on the line versus the LA Kings, hockey's stingiest team.

4. Patrick Sharp is hot. Also he's playing quite well. He's got 12 goals in December and 6 in his last 3 games.

5. Battle of playoff teams in Vancouver. What do the Flyers have that the Canucks don't? It's not a complete set of brothers. They both have that. It's a divisional playoff spot. Philly is 3rd in the Metropolitan division. Vancouver is 4th in the Pacific Division. But the Canucks have 12 points more than the Flyers, because the Metro is a tire fire. No Roberto Luongo tonight, by the way. He's out with a lower-body injury. Or something:

Bold Prediction: Kane's streak survives, and the Blackhawks beat the Kings 3-1.

What to Read Next