5 NHL questions: What will Alex Ovechkin do for his encore?

Richard Wolowicz

What will Alex Ovechkin do for an encore? And what will the boards be made out of in South Florida? Let's preview Friday's NHL action with five questions to answer.

1. Can Alex Ovechkin possibly one-up his four-goal game?

There's hot, there's on fire and then there's what Alex Ovechkin is doing. The best goal scorer in the world has 48 goals in his past 50 games, and a hat trick against the Panthers on Friday would give him 50 in 50. Washington has won five of its past six games, with Ovechkin netting six goals in that span. With 26 goals in 29 games this season, Ovechkin isn't just thinking about 50 in 50, as he's currently on pace for 73 goals.

2. Will this be Jaromir Jagr's last game in Pittsburgh?

While he was all business heading into Friday night's matchup, saying he wasn't thinking about his retirement before what could be his final game in Pittsburgh, it's still worth asking. Still, the 41-year-old Jagr, who will be 42 by season's end, could be singing his swan song Friday night in the Consol Energy Center in front of a home crowd that he brought two Stanley Cups.

3. Will John Tortorella keep Kesler and the Sedins split up?

Even though John Tortorella has been more mild-mannered for the most part during his tenure in Vancouver, he still occasionally slips into moments of Tortorellean tongues. With the Canucks on a five-game winning streak, things have been going well of late. During that stretch, Ryan Kesler has been a goal-a-game player, and while Tortorella is trying to find a way to get Daniel and Henrik Sedin going, he also has to think about himself.

4. Can Cory Schneider do anything to separate himself from Martin Brodeur?

The win-loss record isn't in Cory Schneider's favor, but every other barometer of goaltending gives Schneider an edge over the incumbent Martin Brodeur. While the netminders have continued to split time this year, Schneider will get the nod Friday night in Pittsburgh against a potent Penguins offense, with yet another chance to potentially distance himself from Brodeur.

5. What will the Florida Panthers boards be made out of?

Things are getting weird in Florida. It was bad enough with the Panthers sporting a home record of below .500, and one of the worst overall records in the league. But to make maters worse, after a pane of glass broke on Tuesday when the Panthers hosted the Red Wings, a replacement pane broke, causing the arena crew to put up this abomination that created obstructed views right behind the goal. With Florida hosting the Capitals on Friday, here's a look at what the Panthers might use to fill out their boards.

- Cardboard
- Styrofoam
- Bubble wrap
- Unused packs of tickets
- Tim Thomas' discarded American flag poles
- The "Rat trick" rats, currently hidden somewhere in the depths of BB&T Center
- Thousands of photos of Maria Kirilenko (Ovi 8 distraction!!)

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