I think I'm going to be able to watch hockey tonight. Sweet.
Boston (6-2-0) at Buffalo (3-7-2), 7 p.m. EDT
Jack Edwards is going to be pissed off tonight. Tim Thomas was named only the Second Star for the month of October. That overrated Steven Stamkos, with a league-leading 19 points (nine goals) got the First Star. Edwards is likely to use this as a rallying cry during tonight's broadcast. Could be worth tuning in for.
As for the game, Buffalo welcomes the return of Jason Pominville to the lineup but weeps over losing Ryan Miller, who won't play because of an injury. I think I'm ready to write off the Sabres. It's looking like they'll be the Carolina of 2009-10; horrid start dooms the season. Buffalo may start to play well later but last season is looking like a fluke.
The Bruins presumably will have Thomas in goal, and how can you go against him at this point? Boston has the best penalty killing in the league. Tyler Seguin has goals in two straight.
Boston 3, Buffalo 0
Islanders (4-5-2) at Carolina (5-6-0), 7 p.m.
OK, I give up: What happened to New York? A once promising season has turned into something of a tailspin. Remember when I said the Islanders were climbing the chart from feisty to intriguing to playoff contender? I think they've plummeted back down to mediocre. New York has lost four straight games. In their defense, the last three were against good teams (two against Montreal and one against Philadelphia) so while New York can still challenge for a playoff spot, it's still not at the level that can consistently earn wins against top teams.
New York's next two games are absolutely winnable, starting tonight then moving to Ottawa. One problem is some players who provided early offense have returned to their normal, non-good forms (I'm looking at you, Blake Comeau.)
18-year-old Jeff Skinner leads Carolina with eight points despite not having a point in three of his last five games. Um, let's just move on.
New York 3, Carolina 2
Toronto (5-5-1) at Washington (7-4-0), 7 p.m., NHL Network
Say what you want about the Maple Leafs (and people often do) but they're playing good defense and getting solid goaltending these days. That will be put to a big test tonight. Too bad Dion Phaneuf is out of the lineup for four weeks. Alex Ovechkin might score just five points instead of eight now.
It's amazing what one seven-goal game can do for one's numbers. Washington was in the middle of the pack in goals per game before burning the Flames for seven, now the Caps are sixth. Given the state of other D.C.-area sports, the Capitals have a lot of pressure on them to play well. If anyone in Washington liked hockey. (Yeah, I said it.)
Washington 5, Toronto 1
Atlanta (5-4-2) at Florida (4-5-0), 7:30 p.m.
The weather's nice in Florida.
Atlanta 4, Florida 2
Pittsburgh (6-5-1) at Dallas (6-4-0), 8:30 p.m.
Just when the Penguins were about to get Jordan Staal back into the lineup, he has to go get hit by a puck and break his hand. Pittsburgh should still get back Zbynek Michalek into the lineup after missing a few weeks and Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang and Alex Goligoski could all play after being nicked up. Malkin missed Saturday's 3-0 win at Carolina. Not sure yet who's starting in goal for the Penguins but it probably should be Brent Johnson.
There's a similar question for Dallas. Andrew Raycroft tossed a shutout and Kari Lehtonen has been struggle-ling. The Stars lost three in a row until Raycroft's win over Buffalo. James Neal and/or Loui Eriksson would look awesome in a Penguins uniform. Stupid salary cap.
Pittsburgh 4, Dallas 2
New Jersey (3-9-1) at Chicago (7-6-1), 8:30 p.m.
Zach Parise is out three months for the Devils. Huge blow. New Jersey is in such a large hole right now is there any way out of it?
The Blackhawks have lost to the following in the last two weeks: Columbus, Edmonton and the Rangers.
I don't understand why they scratched Nick Boynton last game. Dude leads the league in blocked shots! You're damn right I own him in a fantasy league. I'm not happy. I'm picking the Devils to win out of spite.
New Jersey 1, Chicago 0
Ha, yeah right. Try Chicago 4, New Jersey 1.
We're now entering the speed-round for previews.
Detroit (6-2-1) at Calgary (6-5-0), 9:30 p.m., TSN
Red Wings > Flames. Detroit 4, Calgary 2
Nashville (5-2-3) at Phoenix (3-4-3), 10 p.m.
The Coyotes were the easy pick for "Team that will come back to earth." Nashville 3, Phoenix 1
Tampa Bay (7-2-1) at Anaheim (4-7-1), 10 p.m.
Steven Stamkos vs. Jonas Hiller? Oh boy. I think the Lightning will turn him into Swiss cheese. Get it? Because Hiller is Swiss? Look, people, these are funny.
Tampa Bay 5, Anaheim 2