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: “Three babies look on from behind the glass before the start of the Washington Capitals and Toronto Maple Leafs game at Verizon Center”
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Preview: Toronto Maple Leafs @ Philadelphia Flyers, 7:00 p.m. EST
Preview: Pittsburgh Penguins @ Columbus Blue Jackets, 7:00 p.m. EST
Preview: Chicago Blackhawks @ Ottawa Senators, 7:30 p.m. EST
Preview: Nashville Predators @ Dallas Stars, 8:30 p.m. EST
Preview: New York Rangers @ Calgary Flames, 9:00 p.m. EST
Preview: Anaheim Ducks @ Edmonton Oilers, 9:30 p.m. EST
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Five things to know about tonight’s NHL games …
1. Penguins, Blackhawks, and Avalanche can clinch tonight. Here’s what needs to happen to punch their tickets: Pens need at least one point against CBJ; Chicago needs a point against the Sens OR a Dallas loss; idle Avs need a Dallas loss.
2. In McElhinney CBJ trusts. Sergei Bobrovsky left the Jackets last game with the flu. Bobrovsky is still feeling under the weather, and backup Curtis McElhinney will get the start against the Penguins. Columbus is in the first Wild Card spot with 80 points (10 games remaining), but they’re hanging by threads as Detroit (9 games), Washington (9 games), and Toronto (8 games) have 80 points, too.
3. If Bernier has a pulse, he’s in net. The Leafs are on a six game slide, and to use the term ‘must win’ is an understatement (and cliche). Expect Carlyle to ride Jonathan Bernier in the Leafs final eight games, even if the net-minder’s groin is less than stable.
4. Randy Carlyle vs. Riddick Bowe. One way to tell if Carlyle has truly lost the room, his boys don’t show up in Philly just so their coach can get knocked out by Bowe afterwards.
5. Choose your own adventure. Dallas is one of five teams with the most games remaining in their schedule at 10. They may not have to win out, but they’ll probably have to come pretty damn close to make the post-season. Both with eight games left, Minnesota (85 pts.) and Phoenix (84 pts.) hold the final two Wild Card spots. At 79 points, the Stars are tied with Vancouver on the outside looking in, but Dallas has three games in hand over the Canucks.
Bold prediction: Despite a valiant comeback effort, Leafs lose on hat-trick by Claude Giroux, 3-2. After the game Randy Carlyle meets Riddick Bowe in a dark alley. The coach gives the fighter the same mind-f$@k he put on James Reimer and walks away without a scratch. Bowe is left catatonic.