Puck Previews: Halak returns to Montreal; David Aesbischer’s Jets mask

Back by popular demand, 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.

David Aebischer may be with the Winnipeg Jets' AHL affiliate, but his mask is inspired by the big club, as well as Canadian history. From In Goal Magazine:

"It was very exciting to create this design, a tribute to the Royal Canadian Air Force and the Canadian Aces of WW2. The design has a lot of meanings and messages, so many details that some you cannot see on the photos, only when you see it live. I love to incorporate a lot of details and stories into the designs."

Preview: St. Louis Blues at Montreal Canadiens, 7:30 p.m. EST

Though Brian Elliott delivered a shutout performance in a win over Colorado on Saturday, Ken Hitchcock opted to go with Jaroslav Halak versus the Canadiens, and for good reason: this is St. Louis's first visit to Montreal since Halak was traded after leading the Habs to the Eastern Conference final. So he starts versus Carey Price. Goaltenders' duels can be a little on the slow side, but here's hoping we get one Tuesday night.

Preview: San Jose Sharks at Minnesota Wild, 7:30 p.m. EST

From the department of much less-anticipated homecomings: while Tuesday marks Brent Burns' first return to Minnesota since his offseason trade to San Jose, this is not an ideal time for the Wild to be playing host to the Sharks. San Jose has won five straight, while Minnesota has lost four straight, and only once in their last 12 games. It'll be Nicklas Backstrom versus Antti Niemi in goal.

Preview: Nashville Predators at Colorado Avalanche 9 p.m. EST

Though the first half featured zero dates with Colorado, the second half of Nashville's schedule opens with two of them. You wonder if they wouldn't have preferred to meet the Avalanche sooner, what with their four-game winning streak versus Colorado. They swept the 2010-11 season series, outscoring the Avs 22-11. Colorado would obviously prefer things to go differently this time around, especially since they leapfrog Nashville in the standings with a win.

Evening Reading

• The Toronto Star is standing by a story that has Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper is set to square off against Russia's Vladimir Putin in an exhibition hockey game commemorating the 40-year anniversary of the 1972 Summit Series. I want this to be true so bad, just so they can play three-bar after hours and, with Harper moments away from winning, Putin can slash his knee like Wolf "The Dentist" Stanson. [The Spec]

• In case it wasn't clear that the Bruins have crazy depth: Brad Marchand's suspension (or, as he calls it, his "suspensian") means Zach Hamill draws in. Claude Julien has yet to decide if he or one of his linemates, Chris Kelly or Rich Peverley, will play center. All three can play any forward position. [Hockey Journal]

• The 10 craziest all-time non hockey NHL injuries. [Sportsnet]

• Gary Bettman's statement on the passing of Ron Caron: "Ron always wanted the best for his players, the best for his teams, the best for the game. His passion for hockey was exceeded only by his passion for life. We send heartfelt condolences to all who were touched and inspired by his competitive spirit."

• Via Sean Leahy, here's footage of Stefan Liv, who died in the Lokomotiv crash, having his number retired.

Puck Buddy Comment of the Day: John sums up the real problem with James Neal's magically unbroken foot:

just dropped the guy....thanks for the accurate reporting yahoo.

Aw. That sucks.

Bold prediction: Martin Erat scores the overtime winner versus Colorado on a breakaway.

Follow Harrison Mooney on Twitter at @HarrisonMooney

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