Puck Previews: Mr. Thomas goes to Washington; Stanley Cup wedding cake; Rangers, Sens in Ottawa

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.

• On Friday, it was a chocolate Stanley Cup. Now it's a Stanley Cup wedding cake. I'm waiting on a Jell-O Stanley Cup. Don't let me down, puckheads.

Preview: New York Rangers at Ottawa Senators, 7:30 p.m. ET

After splitting the games at MSG, the series shifts to Ottawa. Daniel Alfredsson's concussion will keep him out of the lineup, as will Carl Hagelin's suspension for giving it to him by way of an elbow, and Matt Carkner will serve his one-gamer for going after Brian Boyle. But don't think the Shanabans will deter the rough stuff. The Senators feel their chippy, physical play played a major role in evening up the series, so it will likely continue.

Preview: Boston Bruins at Washington Capitals, 7:30 p.m. ET

President Obama may not be in attendance for this one, but it sounds like he'll be well-represented. As a result, expect Tim Thomas to supplant Braden Holtby as the story tonight, regardless of what happens. If Thomas wins, people will say it's because he shut out the distractions. If he loses, it will be because he didn't. No surprise that goaltending will continue to hog the spotlight: With the Capitals playing tighter and more patient, this will likely be another one-goal game.

Preview: St. Louis Blues at San Jose Sharks, 10 p.m. ET

With Jaroslav Halak out with a lower-body injury suffered on a collision with Barrett Jackman, Brian Elliott draws in for the Blues as the series moves to the HP Pavilion. If the Sharks want to beat Elliott, they'll need more from the Joes, who have yet to score, and a better effort from their powerplay. Expect rough stuff in this one, especially after T.J. Galiardi escaped punishment for cracking Andy McDonald's helmet on a high hit and Vladimir Sobotka broke Dominic Moore's with a punch.

Evening reading

• Gare Joyce on the troubling postseason officiating. [Sportsnet]

• Here's a time-lapse video of the Staples Center changing over from the Lakers game to the Kings game. [LA Times]

• Ellen Etchingham on the Stanley Cup playoffs, when we root against skill. "I think we want to see skill lose." [Backhand Shelf]

• Why the movement to fire Alain Vigneault is crazy. [PITB]

• Good stuff on Ed Jovanovski mentoring Erik Gudbranson in Florida. [Boston Herald]

• Ryan Kesler's dive from last night is one of his best (or worst, depending on your allegiances. [Reddit Hockey]

Puck Buddy Comment of the Day: Mike, on what Tim Thomas could accomplish:

In a way, Timmy is the Messiah. He's managing to bring conservatives and liberals together in perfect harmony, even for just one night.

Truer words.

Bold prediction: Sharks take a 2-1 series lead with an overtime stunner.

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