Puck Previews: Bachman in overdrive; Connolly back in Buffalo

Puck Daddy

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.

Preview: Calgary Flames at Florida Panthers, 7:30 p.m. ET

The Panthers have had a fabulous start to the season, but they're in the middle of a far less impressive stretch. They've lost four straight. No doubt they're hoping a date with the Flames, who might be aptly described as "lowly" these days, can cure what ails them. Early reports are that Leland Irving will make his NHL debut for Calgary.

Preview: Toronto Maple Leafs at Buffalo Sabres, 7:30 p.m. ET

Not a lot bodes well for the Sabres in this one. They're 2-5-3 in their last 10 at home; they've lost three straight to Toronto; Tim Connolly has managed to stave off his inevitable injury long enough to play in the Leafs' first game in his former hometown, and I'm sure he'll be eager to have a good game against them; and they'll be without Ville Leino, although, on the bright side, they're growing used to that.

Preview: Pittsburgh Penguins at Ottawa Senators, 7:30 p.m ET

There are a lot of big names missing this one with concussions, but the good news is that Michalek won't be among them. Unfortunately for Senators fans, I'm referring to the one that plays for the Penguins: Zbynek Michalek looks to return after missing seven games with a concussion. His younger brother, on the other hand, remains on the shelf. Brent Johnson gets the start for the Penguins, so if a brawl breaks out, Craig Anderson should stay far, far away.

Preview: Dallas Stars at New Jersey Devils, 8:00 p.m. ET

The Richard Bachman era continues as the Stars march into Jersey to face the Devils, who are, like many devils, on fire. New Jersey has won five of their last six. The Stars aren't doing too bad either, of course. Bachman's led the Stars to four straight wins. So who blinks first? I have no idea, but I have it on good authority that stars are known to blink.

Preview: Anaheim Ducks at Chicago Blackhawks, 8:30 p.m. ET

Friday's late game (if you can call it that) features the Anaheim Ducks, another team that might be described as "lowly" these days, especially on the road. They've lost nine straight away from the Honda Centre, which does not bode well for them since this game is taking place in Illinois. The Blackhawks, meanwhile, are rolling, having won three straight and are 7-1-1 in their last nine. Burning question: who will Jonathan Toews match up against, Ryan Getzlaf or newly-acquired phenom Rod Pelley? Tough call.

Puck Buddy Comment of the Day: Dave, on Tim Connolly's chances of making it game time unscathed:

Hey, there is a lotta time between now and puck drop for Connolly to get somehow banged up and lost for any amount of time. Staircases. Doors. Floors. Ramps. Light.

Gotta watch out for that light.

Bold Prediction: The Ducks' upset the Blackhawks with more Pelleyan magic.

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