Here is the Puck Daddy Viewing Guide: Spotlighting five things to watch for during tonight’s slate of games. Make sure to stop back here for the nightly Three Stars when the games are finished.
Create-a-Caption: “Members of the Japanese women’s ice hockey team attend practice ahead of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Shayba Arena”
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Preview: Ottawa Senators at Pittsburgh Penguins, 7:00 p.m. EST
Preview: Edmonton Oilers at Buffalo Sabres, 7:00 p.m. EST
Preview: Vancouver Canucks at Detroit Red Wings, 7:30 p.m. EST
Preview: Colorado Avalanche at New Jersey Devils, 7:30 p.m. EST
Preview: Columbus Blue Jackets at Anaheim Ducks, 10:00 p.m. EST
Preview: Chicago Blackhawks at Los Angeles Kings, 10:30 p.m. EST
Preview: Philadelphia Flyers at San Jose Sharks, 10:30 p.m. EST
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Five things to know about tonight’s NHL games …
1) He’s baaaaack! John Tortorella makes his triumphant (?) return behind the Canucks bench tonight after missing 15 days due to suspension. He does NOT walk to talk about it anymore, but you know you’re secretly hoping Larry Brooks shows up in Detroit for old times sake. Bonus return-to-action: Henrik Sedin!
2) Battle of the backups. Speaking of Detroit and Vancouver, the regular starter for both teams will be wearing the baseball caps on the bench to begin the game. Eddie Lack is going for Vancouver because Roberto Luongo’s luck against the Red Wings is not so good; 30-games played/started going 11-13-5, 2.88 GAA and 0.918 SV%. At the opposite end, Mike Babcock is giving Jimmy Howard the night off after a rough 5-6 (OT) loss to Washington on Sunday; Jonas Gustavsson is your starter (and staring into your soul).
3) Scoring-goals-aphobia. The Kings have been diagnosed with an acute case of scoring-goals-aphobia or the fear of scoring goals in a hockey game. The last time LA scored more than ONE goal in a game came seven games ago on January 21st in a 5-3 loss against Columbus; since then, the Kings have scored three goals to their opponents total of 14. (Per Elliotte Friedman of the CBC, help might be on the way in the form of Sam Gagne from Edmonton.) I’d say learn from Chicago, but probably not a good idea to do it while you’re playing them tonight.
4) Kris Letang has scurvy. That’s just my guess. The Penguins defenseman will miss his third-straight game with an undisclosed illness.
5) Take the Blue Jackets seriously, seriously. In their last 15 games, the Blue Jackets and Ducks are each 11-4-0. One of the biggest weaknesses Anaheim has this season is their inability to establish and hold the lead in games. It’s easier to comeback when you’re down 2-0, but consider a team like Columbus. In their last two games, they’ve out-scored their opponents 10-3; conversely, the Ducks are 5-5 and those five goals came in one of the two games.