Stars look to control playoff destiny; Devils must end eight-game slide (Puck Previews)

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: Ottawa Senators at New Jersey Devils, 7 p.m. ET

Still no Ilya Kovalchuk for the Devils, who have only missed the postseason once since 1996. If they don't stop this eight-game losing streak, it'll be twice. They're now four points back of eighth. Ottawa isn't comfortable yet either. They sit sixth coming into this one, but they've got just one win this month and they run the risk of falling out.

Preview: St. Louis Blues at Columbus Blue Jackets, 7 p.m. ET

The Blues have won six straight, and a seventh here will give them the sweep of their season series with Columbus. The Blue Jackets could finish the night as high as ninth if they can prevent that from happening.

Preview: Dallas Stars at Nashville Predators, 8 p.m. ET

The Stars have won 3 straight and now, incredibly, with a win over Nashville and a Detroit loss, they'll take control of their own playoff destiny. You have to like their chances, what with Nashville in a tailspin. They've dropped four in a row.

Preview: Detroit Red Wings at Chicago Blackhawks, 8:30 p.m. ET

This is the last meeting of the regular-season between these two Central Division rivals, but it may not be the last meeting of the year. If the playoffs were to start tonight, they'd meet again in the first round. Of course, for that to happen, Detroit needs to hold onto eighth place, and I'm sure the Blackhawks would like nothing more than to eliminate them sooner rather than later.

Preview: Phoenix Coyotes at Calgary Flames, 9 p.m. ET

Phoenix sits ninth coming into this one but they're doing their best to get into the elite eight. They've got points in five of their last six. But they've struggled this year on the road, and Calgary's no exception. The Coyotes have lost twice to the hosting Flames.

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 Goalie Post.

Puck Buddy Comment of the Day: Sean P makes a salient point about Ilya Bryzgalov and nap-gate:

If his defense can fall asleep during the games I certainly think Bryz is entitled to sleep during meetings.


Bold prediction: 9 goals between the Red Wings and the Blackhawks.

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