Puck Previews: Can Chicago's streak continue vs. Bruins?

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: Boston Bruins at Chicago Blackhawks, 8:30 p.m. EST. Antti Niemi(notes) gets the call for Chicago as the Blackhawks seek their third consecutive shutout as the Bruins come to town. Tomas Kopecky(notes), a healthy scratch earlier this week, returns to the lineup; congrats to everyone who predicted he'd be a free-agent stiff. Meanwhile, Milan Lucic(notes) faces injury rehab as the clock ticks towards the Winter Classic at Fenway.

Preview: Tampa Bay Lightning at St. Louis Blues, 8 p.m. EST. Should Andy Murray take a page from Rick Tocchet's book and bench some of this veteran players to send a message? On second thought, better to stay away from Tocchet and book-making.

Preview: Washington Capitals at Vancouver Canucks, 10 p.m. EST. It's always fun when Alex Ovechkn visits NHL cities that the Capitals rarely visit, because the coverage is so over the top. For example: "Russia's Messier," by Mark Spector: "In fact, today's 16-year-old likely finds Ovechkin more 'awesome' or 'gnarly' than Sidney Crosby(notes), who you would never see entering a visiting arena in ripped jeans and a Cookie Monster T-shirt, as Ovechkin did here Thursday." What about "rad" or "tubular," sir?

Check out previews and updated scores for all of today's games (like the ones in progress) on the Y! Sports NHL scores and scheds page.

Evening Reading

• Check out Puck Daddy on Monday for a really cool new feature.

• Huge news for the Montreal Canadiens, as defenseman Andrei Markov(notes) will return against the New York Islanders on Saturday night. Their power play thanks him. [Faceoff]

• The Nashville Predators are challenging for the top of their division, but can the goal-scoring continue? [On The Forecheck]

• Nice work by Derek Zona, snagging an interview with Oklahoma City's mayor about an AHL franchise coming to town, one that could be an Edmonton Oilers affiliate. From the interview: "One of the things to remember in Oklahoma City, when you've got hockey, you own the sport. In basketball, we've got high school basketball, college basketball, all sorts of basketball going on. If you're doing this with hockey, it's pretty much yours. I think that helps the business model." [Copper & Blue]

• Allan Muir on whether we'll see a team relocate or fold in the next five seasons: "I think you'd get better odds betting on Gary Bettman making an unannounced appearance during the pre-game ceremonies at the Winter Classic to sing ‘All The Single Ladies.'" [SI]

• More tough talk from John Tortorella. [NY Daily News]

• Finally, it's yours truly vs. Steve Kouleas in our weekly segment on The Score, talking about whether the Toronto Maple Leafs are going to make the playoffs and other topics:

Puck Buddy Comment of the Day: We give it to Jon W for his comments on the Wild equipment fire:

Good thing no one was hurt. Unfortunately, I imagine the smell of burning hockey gear would be one of the worst smells imaginable.


Bold Prediction: Ovechkin scores two against the Canucks, but Vancouver wins the game.

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