Puck Previews: 'Hawks, Stars battle; Franzen in for Sweden?

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: Nashville Predators at New York Islanders, 7 p.m. EST. The slumping Islanders, losers of seven in a row, will look to right the ship by bringing Martin Biron(notes) back in goal. Biron last started for the Islanders on Dec. 27 and has been relegated to the press box after Rick DiPietro(notes) made his return. Pekka Rinne(notes) will be in net for the Predators. Colin Wilson(notes) was recalled today to fill in for Marcel Goc(notes) who is injured.

Preview: Vancouver Canucks at Tampa Bay Lightning, 7:30 p.m. EST. Entering the fifth game of their 14-game trip, the Canucks will be without Pavol Demitra(notes), who has left the team to tend to a personal matter. Lightning goaltender Antero Niittymaki(notes) says that the key to stopping the Sedin twins is to watch the one without the puck. He'll be wise to do so as the twins have been in a "slump," with only Daniel recording a point in Vancouver's past three games.

Preview: Dallas Stars at Chicago Blackhawks, 8:30 p.m. EST. It's "Tony Esposito Night" at United Center and the Blackhawks are looking to snap out of a two-game skid at home. Brian Campbell(notes) believes the power play is key down the stretch: "A lot of games down the stretch are going to be one-goal games and we have to be ready for that because it's going to lead into the playoffs. Our special teams need to be better. If the power play can add one a game, that will create more scoring for us."

Check out previews and updated scores for all of today's games on the Y! Sports NHL scores and scheds page.

Evening Reading

UPDATE: No ligament damage to Ryan Getzlaf's(notes) ankle. He's listed day-to-day and may return to the Ducks lineup before the weekend. [TSN]

-The door may be open again for Johan Franzen(notes) to play for Team Sweden next week at the Olympics. He is expected to speak with Swedish coach Bengt-Ake Gustafsson after tonight's game about how he feels after returning from injury. [Freep]

-Edmonton's AHL franchise will be moving to Oklahoma City for the 2010-11 season. The team will play at the Cox Convention Center in downtown Oklahoma City. [AHL]

-A week after the Ottawa Senators expressed interest in one of the upcoming All-Star Games, the Pittsburgh Penguins submitted a bid to host the game next season. It will be their first in the new Consol Energy Center, which is set to open on October. The team also will apply, along with Robert Morris University, to host the NCAA Frozen Four in either 2013 or 2014. [Penguins]

-On hockey equipment being used for more than just the safety of players. [Running with the Devils]

-A take on why building a hockey team from the net out is a bad idea. [Two for Slashing]

Puck Buddy Comment of the Day: Scuuba expresses a sentiment felt by many NHL fans caught in the middle of the DirecTV / Versus mess:

"I shouldn't have to change my television provider from one I love to one I hate (Time Warner) or one that doesn't get my team in HD (fios) to get a major sporting event. The NHL should absolutely get involved in this considering that their television deal is putting its fanbase out of the way."

Bold Prediction: Johan Franzen scored twice in his return to Detroit's lineup as the Red Wings down St. Louis.

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