NHL schedule: Blackhawks vs. Raffi Torres, and five questions for Thursday's action

Rich Lam

Five questions heading into Thursday's night's busy NHL schedule.

Each day, we ask five questions that need to be answered during the night of NHL action. Check here for Thursday's full NHL schedule.

1. Will the Blackhawks retaliate against Raffi Torres?

Sure, the NHL suspended him for a ridiculously long time, and it's been months since Torres knocked Marian Hossa out of the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs. But even though Hossa's back in the lineup and performing well, there's still a sense that there's unfinished business here. Maybe it's not a question of if, but how the 'Hawks respond on Thursday.

2. Can Tampa Bay respond?

The Lightning are the NHL's top scoring team, but they were stymied completely on Thursday night in Philadelphia. Are we seeing the end of their hot stretch, or are Steven Stamkos and the Bolts able to rebound from a tough defeat?

3. Both St. Louis and Detroit are struggling. Who comes out on top?

The Blues have faced problems with Brian Elliott struggling in net and Jaroslav Halak injured and unable to provide relief. The Red Wings, meanwhile, lost two ugly games to two bad teams in Calgary and Columbus. Who comes out on top in this battle of struggling rivals?

4. Ryan Callahan returns from injury. How's he look?

The Rangers' captain missed just over a week with a shoulder injury and his return will certainly be welcome. He'll play on a Team America line with youngsters Chris Kreider and J.T Miller. Can he help the Rangers to victory?

5. Pittsburgh and Washington are headed in opposite directions. Can the Caps' desperation yield victory?

In the latest edition of NHL's most-fabricated rivalry, the red-hot Penguins host the lowly Capitals. The rivalry may be a league creation, but there's no doubt that Alex Ovechkin can get up for a game against Sidney Crosby -- in this case, hype can create real energy. Will Ovi get on track and help his team to victory, or will Washington fall further in the Eastern standings against Marc-Andre Fleury and Co.?

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