Puck Daddy Viewing Guide: Parise in New Jersey; Luongo tries to help Canucks

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: "Kevin Bieksa and Dan Hamhuis of the Vancouver Canucks share a laugh at the bench during their NHL game against the Nashville Predators."

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Preview: Minnesota Wild at New Jersey Devils, 7 p.m. EST

Preview: Dallas Stars at Philadelphia Flyers, 7 p.m. EST

Preview: Pittsburgh Penguins at Detroit Red Wings, 7:30 p.m. EST

Preview: Columbus Blue Jackets at Montreal Canadiens, 7:30 p.m. EST

Preview: Tampa Bay Lightning at Ottawa Senators, 7:30 p.m. EST

Preview: Buffalo Sabres at Edmonton Oilers, 9:30 p.m. EST

Preview: Florida Panthers at Phoenix Coyotes, 10 p.m. EST

Preview: Washington Capitals at Los Angeles Kings, 10:30 p.m. EST

Preview: Anaheim Ducks at San Jose Sharks, 10:30 p.m. EST

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

1) Zach is back. Parise returns to New Jersey for the first time since he left the franchise that drafted him for big bucks in Minnesota. How will the fans receive him? My guess is they make sure they look really nice, then when they see him, they're like, "Oh hi Zach. Me? I'm doing great. Lots of stuff on the go. Crazy busy. Good to see you. You look good. Yeah, hope things are well with you. Oh, sorry, I'm getting a call. I'd love to stay and catch up, but I've gotta take this."

2) Flyers are hot, Stars are desperate. Philadelphia's 10-2-1 in their last 13, but they'll face a stiff test from Dallas, who's trying to snag that eighth and final playoff spot and are two points back of Phoenix for it.

3) Worst teams try to out-worst each other. It will be the worst. It's Buffalo versus Edmonton! But don't think there are no stakes here just because these two teams are out of it. If Buffalo loses, it will be their eighth consecutive regulation loss, the longest such skid in franchise history. No better chance to end that run that against Edmonton.

4) Roberto Luongo tries to help his old team. Luongo may not play for the Canucks any longer, but their fans will be cheering for him Thursday versus the Coyotes. Phoenix is holding onto the eighth and final playoff spot, and with Vancouver still mathematically in the hunt, they're cheering for Phoenix losses to start piling up. A strong performance from Luongo would help them.

5) Pacific Division dogfight. The Ducks and Sharks are tied atop the Pacific Division, and lord knows that number one seed could come in handy if they meet in the postseason. They meet tonight. Anaheim has a game in hand. A win for the Sharks is crucial here.

Bold prediction: Buffalo loses. Very bold.

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