Puck Previews: Capitals, Panthers jostle for Southeast lead; Antropov fined

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: Montreal Canadiens at Pittsburgh Penguins, 7 p.m. EST

Carey Price on the Penguins: "They scare the daylights out of me." One assumes he was mainly joking. Granted, considering the Penguins have won both meetings between the two teams this season and Evgeni Malkin's on a tear, you can understand why Price might be a little apprehensive. The Penguins are scary right now. Meanwhile, the Canadiens, who have gone 4-10-1 in their last 15 and lost 6 of their last 7 road games, are less so.

Preview: Washington Capitals and Carolina Hurricanes, 7 p.m. EST

Is tonight the night the Capitals take over top spot in the Southeast Division? Are they gonna go all the way tonight? They had a chance on Tuesday, but a no-show versus the New York Islanders slowed their rise back to the top. Topping the Hurricanes, however, might be a simpler task, especially if recent history is any indication. The Caps haven't suffered a regulation loss to the Canes in 12 meetings, going 9-0-3 in that span.

Preview: Florida Panthers at Chicago Blackhawks, 8:30 p.m. EST

As if the Panthers needed any extra motivation to end a seven-game road winless streak, not only does a loss potentially cede top spot in the division to the Capitals, but this game marks Brian Campbell's first time back in Chicago since being traded to Florida in the summer. Granted, apart from the ignominy of being traded, I'm sure he's not that upset. The Panthers are pretty good and Florida's a pretty nice place to live. But whatever. Use your anger, Brian.

Preview: Tampa Bay Lighting at Dallas Stars, 8:30 p.m. EST

With Mike Ribeiro and Jamie Benn out (Ribeiro with a knee injury, Benn with an exploding appendix), the Stars will likely be glad to face a team that hardly forechecks. Still, they'll be in tough. Tampa has a 3-0-2 record against Dallas in their last five meetings. But, Dwayne Roloson, who hasn't won a game since November 17, looks to be getting the start, so there's that to look forward to.

Evening Reading

• On the relaunch of hockey equipment company Torpso, which hopes to compete with Bauer and Reebok. [The Star]

• According to a study, hockey helmets are the best available protection for tobogganing. [Montreal Gazette]

• Nik Antropov has been fined $2500 for boarding Buffalo Sabres' defenseman T.J. Brennan on Thursday. [Kukla's Korner]

• The annual "the CBC hates the Canucks" train, which always seems to spring up during slow news weeks, has sprung up, right during a time when the Canucks play three times in two weeks. It's a coincidence though. [Vancouver Sun]

• What does SOPA mean for the future? Less videos of Brent Burns doing a striptease AND THAT'S NOT MY AMERICA.

Puck Buddy Comment of the Day: Brian113 on the very grainy video evidence of Matt Cooke's alleged slewfoot.

Film courtesy of Abraham Zapruder.


Bold prediction: Scott Gomez finally scores a goal and then *poof* he's gone, like Starbuck from Battlestar Galactica.

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