Each day we ask five questions that need to be answered during the day and night of NHL action.
1. Will the Los Angeles Kings finally start looking like the defending Cup champs?
The Los Angeles Kings have not only struggled to score goals this season but have fallen apart defensively as well, allowing three goals per game while falling to No. 13 in the West. The Kings don't have very long to start to turn things around, however, with the condensed schedule making each point more important than ever.
2. Will the Chicago Blackhawks ever lose a game?
Technically, the Blackhawks have lost twice the season in back to back shootout losses to Minnesota and Vancouver. Chicago has been unbeatable in regulation, however, going 9-0-2 to start the season with the second-highest scoring offense in the NHL along with a stifling defense. The Blackhawks face the Predators on Sunday, who are coming off a 2-1 overtime loss to the Minnesota Wild and a team that appears to have figured things out defensively. Can the Preds slow down the Blackhawks?
3. Can the New York Rangers start building some consistency?
The New York Rangers are one of a few teams expected to contend for the Stanley Cup that have struggled to start the season, going 5-5-0 while searching for consistency from one game to the next. The Rangers have struggled the most on offense, despite the offseason addition of Rick Nash, scoring just 2.40 goals per game and winning two games in a row just once. The Rangers have traded wins and losses the past two weeks and hope to build off a 4-1 win over the Islanders at home.
4. Will the Devils be able to stop the Penguins two games in a row?
The New Jersey Devils proved to be the ones to finally slow down the red-hot Pittsburgh Penguins, with a 3-1 win that featured a number of penalties for both teams -- including nine separate minors in the third period alone. The Devils have now won four games in a row and Martin Brodeur is once again playing at an elite level; can the good fortune continue two days in a row against the Penguins?
5. Will any actual hockey be played Sunday night in Buffalo?
The Buffalo Sabres and Boston Bruins face off on Sunday night just over a week after the Sabres executed 7-4 win after being down 3-1 in the second period. The game featured a number of violent scrums, including a heck of a fight between John Scott and Shawn Thornton. The Bruins weren't too thrilled by what they deemed an unsportsmanlike end to the game and it will be interesting to see just what sort of response the Bruins employ against the newly-toughened Sabres.