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.
Tomas Holmstrom impersonates a woodchuck.
Preview: Dallas Stars at Buffalo Sabres, 7:30 p.m. ET
The Stars visit Buffalo, who are 4-0-1 in their last five and trending in the right direction. The Sabres have scored 9 times in their last two games, a mini offensive streak that's being credited to Tyler Ennis's move to centre. (No surprise that something credited to Tyler Ennis is mini.) The Sabres get another boost Friday as Thomas Vanek returns from injury.
Preview: Anaheim Ducks at Detroit Red Wings, 7:30 p.m. ET
Tough task for the Anaheim Ducks, who try to become the first team to beat the Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena since the Calgary Flames on November 3. The Red Wings have successfully defended their house in 19 straight games since; they're the Kevin McAllisters of the NHL. The game will be Tomas Holmstrom's 1000th. Jimmy Howard will miss the game with injury, but it may not be Detroit's goaltending that's worrisome: Jonas Hiller has but one career win and a 3.72 goals-against average in eight career games in Michigan.
Preview: Carolina Hurricanes at Colorado Avalanche, 9 p.m. ET
Speaking of defending home turf, how long has it been since the Carolina Hurricanes won in Colorado? Try this: the last time it happened, they were called the Hartford Whalers. The Avalanche are unbeaten in 9 home games versus the Hurricanes franchise, which is good news for a Colorado team looking to keep pace in the Western Conference playoff race, where they've dropped to 12th.
Preview: Chicago Blackhawks at San Jose Sharks, 10:30 p.m. ET
The Blackhawks are reeling, having lost 6 straight, outscored 27-12 during that stretch. It goes without saying that they could use a win, but they may continue to reel, as they'll be without Steve Montador, and the team is dealing with the most untimely flu bug imaginable. The Sharks will be hungry as well, having dropped two straight and hopeful to end that skid before they embark on a nine-game road trip. This one should be fun.
• Recalling Rendez-vous 87, a two-game series between the NHL's best players and the Soviet national team. [The Globe & Mail]
• The new Los Angeles Kings line combos are a bit baffling. [Jewels From the Crown]
• What's the market for P.A. Parenteau? [Lighthouse Hockey]
• Are the Blackhawks desperate enough to trap? [PHT]
Puck Buddy Comment of the Day: The Party Guy with a pertinent safety suggestion:
How about requiring all players to wear seatbelts while fighting!?!?
Bold prediction: Nicklas Lidstrom and Teemu Selanne compare age-defying rituals, only to discover that both agree: drinking the blood of the innocent really is the best way.