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
• Here's Jose Theodore's new Tiki-riffic mask painted by Dave Gunnarsson.
Preview: Dallas Stars at St. Louis Blues, 7:30 p.m. ET. A win for the Blues would put them atop the Western Conference standings with the Chicago Blackhawks at 60 points. Not bad for a team who was sitting 14th on Nov. 6th, the day Ken Hitchcock was hired as head coach. St. Louis is 20-5-6 since then and face off with a hurting Stars team. Jamie Benn is out indefinitely after undergoing an appendectomy over the weekend and Mike Ribeiro was put on injured reserve today with a knee injury. A struggling and injury-plagued Dallas team was No. 1 in the West on Nov. 6 and today sit 10th.
Preview: Boston Bruins at Florida Panthers, 7:30 p.m. ET. The Panthers watched last night as the Washington Capitals overtake them for the Southeast Division lead for the first time since Nov. 18. Heading into tonight's tilt with the Bruins, Florida has dropped seven of their last 10 games and sit on the brink of dropping out of the Eastern Conference playoff picture. After winning 21 of 24, Boston has cooled of dropping three of their last seven games. A loss would mean two in a row for the first time in over a month, while a win would put the Bruins one point behind the New York Rangers for the Eastern Conference lead.
Preview: Buffalo Sabres at Detroit Red Wings, 7:30 p.m. ET. If there's one place the Red Wings love playing, it's Joe Louis Arena. With a 17-2-1 record at home, Detroit tries for their 15th straight at The Joe as the Sabres come to town. Four of the five Central Division teams are within six points of each other in the Western Conference, with a win putting the Red Wings one point behind the Chicago Blackhawks. Buffalo continues to toil outside the East playoff picture and try to begin reversing their recent luck against Detroit. In their last 22 games against the Sabres Detroit is 18-2-1.
Preview: Winnipeg Jets at Ottawa Senators, 7:30 p.m. ET. The surprising Senators play their final home game tonight before a six-game road trip that will take them past the All-Star break. Going for their fifth in a row, Ottawa looks for their third win this season against the Jets. Winnipeg has lost five of six will be without Blake Wheeler who took a puck to the throat on Saturday against New Jersey.
• Mike Green of the Washington Capitals will miss the next 4-6 weeks as he's soon to undergo abdominal surgery. [@VogsCaps]
• In response to the hit on Minnesota high school hockey player Jack Jablonski that left the 16-year old paralyzed, the Minnesota State High School League announced immediately that "checking from behind will now be a five-minute major penalty, instead of a two-minute penalty. Boarding, defined as any move that sends a player violently into the boards, will be an automatic five-minute major penalty instead of an optional two- or five-minute penalty. Contact to the head also becomes an automatic five-minute major penalty, instead of allowing an official to use discretion in choosing between two- or five-minute penalties." [KARE]
• Frank Seravelli on Chris Pronger's situation and how it might affect the Philadelphia Flyers at the trade deadline. [Frequent Flyers]
• The Carolina Hurricanes and Jeff Skinner are holding a very interesting contest tonight. [Deadspin]
Puck Daddy Reader Comment of the Day: Mark on Nicklas Lidstrom and Teemu Selanne asking out of All-Star Weekend:
"Maybe it's time for an over 40 rule. If you're over 40 you get a pass if you request it. There deserves to be some respect given to these players that turned their careers into a marathon that doesn't seem to have an end."
Bold Prediction: Boston, Detroit and Ottawa all win in shootouts.