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Game Day Preview: Hertl-ing bad puns your way

Ten games on tap tonight, including Hertl and the Sharks, Semin against his old Capitals team and the Battle of Florida.
The Hockey News

The Hockey News

Ten games on tap tonight, including Hertl and the Sharks, Semin against his old Capitals team and the Battle of Florida.

Colorado at Boston

The last time these two teams met was exactly two years ago when the Avalanche topped the B’s 1-0. Both squads are looking to remain undefeated and Colorado will look to extend its own record-setting pace. Their 3-0 record is the best start in Avalanche history, excluding the Nordiques. A power play goal has not been conceded by either team yet so somebody is going to have to budge tonight.

Semyon Varlamov is off to a torrid pace allowing only one goal in each of his three starts. (Colorado Avalanche)

Boston has had plenty of time to prepare for the Avalanche with four days off since their last game. Jarome Iginla has 13 points against Colorado in his past 12 games. (Yahoo Sports)

Player To Watch: Boston’s two newly acquired forwards, Jarome Iginla and Loui Eriksson, are without a point through two games. Iginla may be slowing, but Eriksson is expected to be a 70-point player still.

Columbus at Buffalo

Buffalo is one of two teams left in the NHL without a win, and they might just be in luck against Columbus who they defeated twice in the pre-season. Sabres fans can breathe a sigh of relief as Miller returns after sustaining a lower body injury, forcing him to miss two games. The Blue Jackets have yet to hold a lead in regulation, winning their last game in a shootout.

The Sabres have only scored four goals in their first four games. The only good news here is Thomas Vanek has points on three of those goals. (Buffalo Sabres)

The Blue Jackets are 8-5-1 against the Sabres in franchise history. (Mcubed)

Player to Watch: Cam Atkinson is an under the radar Blue Jackets player with nice potential to have a bit of a breakthrough season. He’s got one assist through two games.

Carolina at Washington

The Hurricanes and Capitals, who shares the Southeast Division for 15 years, meet for the first time as Metropolitan Division foes. Several Caps have exploded out of the gate offensively but their demise has been defence, allowing an average of four goals per game to start the season. The Canes are hoping to bounce back after surrendering three quick goals to the Pens in a 5-2 loss Tuesday night.

The Staals have combined for just one point in their three games. They are a minus-4 collectively. (Carolina Hurricanes)

Alex Ovechkin has scored a powerplay goal in all three games to start the season. (Dump 'n Chase)

Player To Watch: Alex Semin will be getting paid $7 million against the cap for the next five seasons in Carolina, a reward for his point per game season in 2013. But he hasn’t been on the score sheet yet through three games – what better motivation to snap a slump than facing the team that didn’t think you were worth it anymore?

Phoenix at Detroit

Both rosters are looking to bounce back from unfortunate losses on Tuesday. The Red Wings hope to keep pace with the Maple Leafs, but will need to pick up the pace offensively with a goals-per-game of only two early on in the season. Phoenix suffers the same power outage, but has only managed one win thus far. The Coyotes may be able to add some grit as Paul Bissonnette has finished serving his three game suspension.

The Red Wings have not scored a powerplay goal this season. Zetterberg turned 33 Wednesday and has three points in three games. (Detroit Red Wings)

"You get embarrassed as a professional athlete. It's unacceptable... They have a really good team that moves the puck well, and we let them do it all night," said Shane Doan after a 6-1 loss to the Islanders. (Yahoo Sports)

Player To Watch: Oliver Ekman-Larsson’s days as an unrecognized defenseman are running low. He sure looks like a budding Norris candidate. Don’t believe me? Watch him close tonight. He’s something special.

Florida at Tampa Bay

The Lightning and Panthers, who suddenly find themselves in the Atlantic Division with many more northern rivals, meet for the first of five tilts this season. Tampa begins a seven-day home stand tonight, which should help boost captain Martin St-Louis and his associate Steven Stamkos, who have been very successful against the lowly Panthers. Goaltending has been an issue early on for Florida as Tim Thomas lit up two games in a row, and then left the game early on Tuesday with a groin injury.

Both of Tampa’s wins have been third period comebacks. The next four games are against last year’s final four in the playoffs. (Tampa Bay Lightning)

Florida is scoreless in 16 opportunites on the man advantage. Marcel Goc leads the way offensively with two goals. (Florida Panthers)

Player To Watch: Keep an eye on rookie Aleksander Barkov in front of the net. He’s going to make a career there and has already had plenty of great opportunities in the slot.

Toronto at Nashville

Toronto’s bid to bounce back in the winning column will be tough as four regulars are out with an injury, one with a suspension and one whose wife just gave birth. The Predators opened their five game home stand with a fan appreciated victory over the Minnesota Wild, where ex-Pred Ryan Suter was booed profusely. Win number two on the season might not be so difficult against the injury riddled Leafs.

With the call-up of several more Marlies, the Leafs now have the youngest roster at 25.9 years of age. (Toronto Maple Leafs)

Both Filip Forsberg and Seth Jones registered their first NHL points on the same goal, as the latter set up the former. (Yahoo Sports)

Player To Watch: Mason Raymond, cast off from Vancouver, has been a nice find for Toronto so far. Consistency was his biggest problem in Vancouver though, so keep en eye on him.

Winnipeg at Minnesota

The Minnesota Wild is the only other team without a win, but they have secured two points in overtime in their first three games. Tonight’s scrum looks bleak as Nicklas Backstrom may be out with a lower body injury. The Jets are off to a scorching scoring pace averaging four goals per game early on in the season. This is the first game between these new Central Division foes.

Both Tobias Enstrom and Bryan Little have three game point streaks. After tonight, the Jets will play six in a row at home. (Winnipeg Jets)

The Wild’s 0-1-2 start is their worst since their inaugural campaign in 2001-01. They have lost both matchups against the Winnipeg franchise. (Yahoo Sports)

Player To Watch: Zach Bogosian’s blunder handed Anaheim the win in Winnipeg’s last game – he’s gotta bounce back.

Montreal at Edmonton

Habs fans rejoiced when they saw Calgary on the schedule early on, but the Flames were able to score three quick goals in the first, which was enough to secure the win. The Canadiens will be thirsty to bounce back after a somewhat disappointing start to the season. The Oilers sport the same record, and though they have a better scoring pace, the Edmonton has allowed seven more goals than Montreal.

Devan Dubnyk returns between the pipes. He sat against the Devils Monday thanks to a 6.52 GAA and an .831 save percentage in his first two starts. (Edmonton Oilers)

Montreal backup Peter Budaj might get his first start of the season tonight. Budaj sports a 14-6-0-3 record against the Oilers in his career. (Montreal Canadiens)

Player To Watch: Carey Price has overplayed some pucks, looked shabby at times and great at others. It's a long season to go yet, but Team Canada is watching him closely for consistency...and so should you!

San Jose at Vancouver

The Pacific Division rivals sit in a three-way tie atop the division with Calgary, though San Jose has a game in hand. The Sharks are one of five teams who remain undefeated, mimicking their start last season when they began the year 7-0. Sharks fans will cross their fingers though as the Sharks also happened to lose the next seven. The Canucks have won three in a row after dropping the opener. San Jose won all three regular season tilts against Vancouver and also swept them in the first round of the playoffs.

Rookie phenom Tomas Hertl has stolen headlines in the hockey universe with his ridiculous start to the season, including a four goal performace against the Rangers Tuesday night. (Yahoo Sports)

Luongo comes off an impressive performance against former pupil Cory Schneider and the New Jersey Devils. The victory was win No. 350 in his career. (Vancouver Canucks)

Player To Watch: Ya we’ll go with Tomas Hertl. Obvious. Kid has been amazing.

NY Rangers at Anaheim

In tonight’s contest Anaheim will hog all the momentum. The Ducks come off two consecutive victories and will welcome the Rangers for their 20th anniversary home opener. Meanwhile, the Rangers are still licking their wounds after suffering a 9-2 thrashing at the hands of Tomas Hertl and the Sharks. This will be game four in a brutal nine game road stretch to open the season.

Rick Nash will most likely sit tonight’s game out. He took a Brad Stuart hit to the head which forced league officials to suspend him for three games. (CBC)

"Obviously this place is really special. Even last night when we got to the hotel, there were a lot of people waiting. It's unbelievable. It's fun to be here," said Teemu Selanne. (Anaheim Ducks)

Player To Watch: With Nash likely out and the Rangers struggling to score, Bard Richard will need to keep up his torrid start. Three goals in three games? Nobody saw that coming from the guy the Rangers nearly bought out.

Editor's Note: Calgary's Sean Monahan was appearing as a Player To Watch in the Montreal-Edmonton game. We'll chalk that up to a brain fart.



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