NHL schedule: Five questions for Wednesday

Richard Wolowicz

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. Who will control first place in the Northeast Division following competition on Wednesday?

The Boston Bruins will host the Montreal Canadiens in a battle for the top spot in, arguably, the most competitive division in hockey this season. Both teams are tied with 45 points, but Boston owns the tie-breaker because it has played fewer games. The winner of Wednesday's game will take over possession of first place.

2. How will Ryane Clowe fare in his return on Wednesday night?

The San Jose Sharks forward is expected to return to the lineup after missing four games due to an upper-body injury. With his name involved in trade speculation -- specifically in relation to the Boston Bruins -- it will be interesting to see how Clowe performs in his return.

3. Will the Phoenix Coyotes end their five-game losing streak?

Phoenix has been struggling lately and will carry an extended slide into Wednesday night's tilt. Their opponents, the Minnesota Wild, are currently in the midst of a six-game winning streak and have won seven of their last nine.

4. Will the Colorado Avalanche allow the first goal?

Scheduled to face the Calgary Flames on Wednesday night, the Avalanche have allowed their opponents to score the first goal of the game in 10 of their last 11. Calgary was shutout by the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday night.

5. Will the Bruins offense improved with new line combinations?

Head coach Claude Julien altered his lines during morning skate, according to Joe haggerty of Comcast SportsNet New England. Brad Marchand is now playing on the third line with Rich Peverley and Jordan Caron, while Daniel Paille has moved up onto the second pairing with Patrice Bergeron and Tyler Seguin. Will the moves have any impact on the game?

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