Puck Previews: Red Wings visit Rangers; Bernier gets ‘Hollywood’ OK; Benn feeling ‘fine’

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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.

• Looks like the Boston Bruins had some fun on their flight to San Jose. [@NHLBruins]

Preview: Detroit Red Wings at New York Rangers, 7:30 p.m. ET. Ty Conklin is back in our lives after the Detroit goaltender cleared re-entry waivers today and will get the start tonight. An MRI on Jimmy Howard's groin revealed no damage and it's expected he'll start Saturday against Carolina. The Rangers hold a slim one point lead over the Pittsburgh Penguins for tops in the Eastern Conference and with a win will reach the 99-point mark for only the second time since 1993-94, the year they last won the Stanley Cup.

Preview: Vancouver Canucks at Chicago Blackhawks, 8 p.m. ET. The love has been long gone between these two teams and with the Blackhawks within striking distance of home-ice advantage in the Western Conference and the Canucks aiming for the No. 1 seed, there's plenty at stake tonight. Good news for Chicago as Jonathan Toews skated this morning during an optional team practice after Tuesday night's 5-1 win over Columbus. Also good news for the Blackhawks is that they've won eight of their last 10.

Preview: St. Louis Blues at Anaheim Ducks, 10 p.m. ET. As the Blues sit No. 1 overall in the NHL with 100 points, they finally had their full roster attend a practice on Tuesday. Scary. The Ducks were storming up the standings a few weeks back, but a 4-7-1 slide has left them 11 points out of eighth and all but out of the playoff mix in the West. In their favor tonight is that, according to the AP, the Blues are 2-13-1 in their last 16 trips to Anaheim.

Check out previews and updated scores for all of today's games on the Y! Sports NHL scores and scheds page. For tonight's starting goalies, check out Left Wing Lock.

Evening Reading:

• So remember that whole Hollywood sign/Jonathan Bernier mask flap? Well, all is good now as the Kings netminder has been given the OK to keep it on his mask. [Mayor's Manor]

• Jamie Benn was pretty beat up on Tuesday night against the Phoenix Coyotes. On Wednesday morning he said he was feeling "fine." [ESPN Dallas]

• Highly-touted undrafted college prospect Dan DeKeyser, who many NHL teams have been watching this year, said today: "I'm planning on coming back, but I just want to finish out the year right now. Sure, it's a decision I have to make. I think I could make the next step, but maybe another year here will prepare me more. And, I love it here. I love being a Bronco." [Detroit News]

• Belarus' president shot back at European Parliament who have called on the IIHF to take the 2014 World Championships away from the country over human rights violations: "It's a political move, nothing else. And it has no relation to sports. If it happens it will be a serious blow to the image of the International Hockey Federation (IIHF)." [AFP]

• Finally, the team-centric "Because It's the Cup" spots are starting to roll out. Here's one with the great Pavel Datsyuk:

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Puck Buddy Comment of the Day: "Brittany" has a request:

"I think this should be expanded to 10 hugs per article...make it even more awesome, if that's possible"

If only Mooney had that much time in the day ...

Bold prediction: Buffalo earns a 4-3 overtime win over Montreal to tie Washington for eighth in the East.

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