NHL schedule: Five questions for Thursday

USA TODAY Sports

A daily feature which asks the five hardest-hitting questions imaginable about this day in the NHL. Will our quandaries be answered? (That doesn't count as one of the five questions.)

1. Will the Columbus Blue Jackets extend their point streak against the Chicago Blackhawks?

Columbus has recorded points in eight-straight, which tied a franchise record. They have the opportunity to break said record against the team who set the record for longest streak to start a regular season. Poetic, really.

2. Will the Anaheim Ducks and/or Pittsburgh Penguins record their 20th victory of the season on Thursday night?

The Chicago Blackhawks are the only team in the NHL who has at least 20 wins this year (21 and counting) heading into Thursday night's schedule. Anaheim and Pittsburgh both sit at 19. If Pittsburgh manages to win their 20th game, they will be the first Eastern Conference team to do so.

3. How will the addition of John-Michael Liles alter the Toronto Maple Leafs' defensive play?

Following Tuesday night's loss, cries to #freeJakeGardiner came rolling in from Twitter (started by Gardiner's agent). While Gardiner has yet to be released (figuratively, not literally), head coach Randy Carlyle did shake up the defense by inserting Liles into the mix after being a healthy scratch in 12-straight games. How's it gonna play out?

4. How will Alex Steen fare in his return to the St. Louis Blues lineup?

Steen was removed from injured reserve on Thursday and is expected to play against the Phoenix Coyotes that night. Having missed eight games after sustaining an injury in practice, we would like to know how Steen will perform if he does play.

5. Will Brent Burns continue playing forward for the San Jose Sharks?

He did it last game and Sharks captain Joe Thornton said he loved having him there. Will Burns get more ice-time at forward?

More in the NHL:

Behold: Claude Julien face

Suspension for Corey Perry?

Why Sens fans love Chris Neil

All the NHL trade rumors

The best of our hockey network

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