Puck Headlines: ‘Tense' Capitals visit red-hot Predators

Here are your Evening Puck Headlines and Previews: A glorious collection of news and views collected from the greatest blogosphere in sports and the few, the proud, the mainstream hockey media.

• There are 11 games on the docket this evening; we'll preview a few here, but check out the previews for all the games on the Y! Sports scores and scheds page.

Preview: Washington Capitals at Nashville Predators (8 p.m. EST; TV: CSN, FSS). This is your "thank god for Center Ice" game of the night. The Caps limp in after a putrid home-stand and face a Predators team that's been great at home, winning five in a row. Plus, Washington's gone 7-10-0 against the Western Conference. Did you know Nashville is 15-0-1 when leading after one period? Yowzer. Tarik El-Bashir in his Washington Post chat said the mood on the Capitals isn't as fun-loving as it was earlier this season.

Preview: Buffalo Sabres at Philadelphia Flyers (7 p.m. EST; TV: VS, TSN2). Marty Biron is killing lately: 5-2-0 with a 2.09 goals-against average since Feb. 14. He's also 2-0 against his former team this season. We're convinced Versus only put this game on because Riley Cote is into MMA, which means the five people who watch the World Cage Fighting League will also watch this hockey game.

Danny Briere could be back for the Flyers on Thursday against the Capitals. Unless that groin gets wonky again. [Morning Call]

• We love a good debate. Especially one that involves the Dallas Stars Ice Girls. Hear us, CSPAN? [St. Louis Game Time]

ANNOUNCEMENT: Post deadline and pre-playoff insanity, the wife and I are taking a trip to wine country for "Sideways"-like excitement (minus the soul-crushing self-loathing) and then to San Francisco (gee, wonder how this tidbit will be handled in the comments). Puck Daddy associate editor Sean Leahy has the helm through Sunday; hit him with tips, links and glad tidings at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com. Three Stars, Puck Headlines and other features will run as scheduled; plus, we have an in-depth look at the NHL's strange relationship with St. Patrick's Day publishing tomorrow and a fresh set of Jersey Fouls on Friday. I'm back online Monday morning. Thanks again for reading and participating; now, we're off to find a quaffable pinot noir. (By the way, Roger Ebert is an official muse for this site; his "Sideways" review is recommended reading.)

Preview: New York Islanders at Toronto Maple Leafs (7:30 p.m. EST; TV: MSG+, LTV). Brendan Witt is back from his five-game suspension ... a suspension he earned for a blow to the head of Niklas Hagman of the Leafs. Said Witt on retribution: "If I've got to fight, I've got to fight, and then, it's forgotten about. It's a part of the game."

Preview: Calgary Flames at New Jersey Devils (7 p.m. EST; TV: FPPV, MSG2). Martin Brodeur and Miikka Kiprusoff pretty much sucked royally in their last starts, losing to the Islanders and Thrashers respectively. Tonight, Bobby Holik will become the 48th player in NHL history to play 1,300 games, but only the third to do so with a uni-brow so pronounced that caterpillars try to mate with it.

• Dan Barnes writes a piece about how tough it is these days for a coach to keep his job in the NHL. The League's most tenured coaches? "Jacques Lemaire in Minnesota, Lindy Ruff in Buffalo, Barry Trotz in Nashville, Craig MacTavish in Edmonton and Dave Tippett in Dallas." [National Post]

• Great injury news for the Chicago Blackhawks: Nikolai Khabibulin returns to practice and Martin Havlat is just day-to-day with his injury. [Chicago Tribune]

Preview: Edmonton Oilers at Montreal Canadiens (7:30 p.m. EST; TV: RDS, RSW). Bob Gainey steps behind the bench for the first time in his latest stint as Canadiens coach, attempting to salvage a centennial season marred by inconsistency and photos of goalies smoking. The Oilers are ready for the mayhem tonight at Bell Centre; especially Dustin Penner, as the press box can get really loud.

Preview: San Jose Sharks at Minnesota Wild (8 p.m. EST; TV: CSBA, KSTC). Another fascinating game. The good news is that Rob Blake's foot isn't broken; the bad news is that there are seven Sharks out of the lineup right now, including Evgeni Nabokov. Meanwhile, Marian Gaborik will accompany the Wild on their next road trip. But his return is a mystery. Not as big of a mystery as how long he'll actually stay in the lineup before his next injury; but a mystery nonetheless.

• The Vancouver Canucks special teams are slammed by Yankee Canuck with witty writing and pretty graphs. [Nucks Misconduct]

Rich Hammond answers questions from Los Angeles Kings fans, including this nugget about the trade deadline: "Colorado wanted a package that included Jonathan Bernier and Colten Teubert as part of any discussion for Ryan Smyth, so that didn't get very far." [Inside the Kings]

Finally, some video coverage of the GM meetings from NHL Network:

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