1. What does outdoor hockey in L.A. look like?
The NHL's new Stadium Series begins tonight in sunny California, as the Ducks and Kings face off in Dodger Stadium. This one will be nothing like the snowy, winter-ravaged Winter Classic in Michigan. The forecast in Los Angeles is 59 degrees (and 67 percent humidity) at puck drop. If the ice melts, the Kings have the advantage due to Dustin Brown's diving skills.
2. Will James Neal and Matt Niskanen show Dallas fans what they've been missing?
Neal and Niskanen return to the scene of the crime when the Penguins visit Dallas on Saturday. In this case, the crime was Stars general manager Joe Nieuwendyk trading them Pittsburgh for Alex Goligoski in 2010. The trade is one of the most lopsided in years, as Neal and Niskanen are key players in Pittsburgh and Goligoski is a constant source of frustration in Big D. Expect all three to play with a chip on their shoulder.
3. Who rights their ship in Montreal?
Neither the Capitals nor the Canadiens are having a great end of the month, as both teams are a combined 6-11-3 over their last ten games. Washington hasn't won a game in their last seven contests. The key, as it often is with these two teams, will be the power play. Montreal is just 3-for-11 in their last four games, so they'll need to improve that clip if they want to keep pace with Alex Ovechkin and company.
4. How do the Maple Leafs bounce back?
Toronto's six-game was obliterated in a 7-1 loss in Dallas on Thursday night. As Randy Carlyle would say, the Leafs' compete level was noticeably absent throughout the contest. They continue their western road trip on Saturday with a visit to Winnipeg. Can they refocus and return to their winning ways?
5. Will the Flyers avoid extending their losing streak?
Philadelphia has lost three games in a row and watched Columbus leapfrog them in the Metropolitan Division (it still sounds weird saying that name) standings. Yes, the East is still the weaker conference, but the second half of the season is not the time for extended slumps. Philly will try to snap out of it against Boston on Saturday.