NHL schedule: Five questions for Tuesday

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 Pittsburgh Penguins clinch the Atlantic Division?

Pittsburgh has won 29 games this season. If the Penguins can record a 30th victory against the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday night, they will clinch their first division title since 2007-08.

2. Will the return of Alexander Semin and/or Justin Faulk impact the Hurricanes performance?

Faulk has missed nine games due to an MCL sprain, while Semin has missed two-straight with an upper-body injury. Both players have made healthy contributions to the Hurricanes this season, with Faulk acting as their time-on-ice leader and Semin has contributed 36 points in 36 games. Will their return to the lineup improve the Hurricanes' fortunes?

3. How will Steve Mason fare in his Philadelphia Flyers debut?

Mason was acquired prior to the trade deadline and recently signed a one-year extension. His goal is to take over as the Flyers' No. 1 goaltender next season and some believe his play could determine the future of Ilya Bryzgalov. Of course, he will need to actually play a game before any of that can be determined.

4. How will Ben Bishop and Cory Conacher perform in their first games against their former teams?

The two players swapped spots at the trade deadline with Bishop joining the Tampa Bay Lightning and Conacher becoming the newest member of the Ottawa Senators. How will they fare in their collective first game against their former teams?

5. Will the Washington Capitals extend their four-game winning streak?

Washington rose from last to first in the Southeast Division. Regardless of the level of competition, that feat is still impressive. The team is carrying a four-game winning streak into Tuesday night's contest with the Montreal Canadiens. The Capitals are expected to be without Joel Ward and Martin Erat. Can they still keep the streak alive?

More in the NHL:

Complete Frozen Four coverage

An NHL rink broken down: Sens edition

Eric Wellwood’s horrifying injury

Why puck possession matters

The best of our hockey network

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