5 NHL Questions: Big night in Big D highlights night of Central Division showdowns

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Will Mike Modano cry? Will Colorado catch up to the Blues? Will somebody please check the Canucks for a pulse?

1. Are we in for an epic night in Dallas?

It's been a long time coming, but the Dallas Stars are finally retiring Mike Modano's number on Saturday. Of course, they waited until the Minnesota Wild were in town to do it so both fanbases can celebrate the career of the best American hockey players ever. It's not often that Minnesota and Dallas fans get along, so enjoy it while it lasts. It's also a huge game in the Western Conference playoff hunt, as the Wild and Stars are jockeying for position in the wild card spots.

2. Will Ryan Miller end Nathan MacKinnon's point streak?

Sticking with the Central Division, the Avalanche can climb closer to first place with a win against the Blues on Saturday. Leading the charge will be rookie phenom MacKinnon, who broke Wayne Gretzky's rookie record by extending his point streak to 13 games this week. He'll have to beat Ryan Miller keep it going, which is no small task. Miller has won all three of his starts since joining St. Louis.

3. Does Thomas Vanek get his first point as a Canadien?

Vanek, the prize of the trade deadline, was rather nondescript in his debut with the Habs in a 5-2 loss against Phoenix. Montreal visits San Jose on Saturday, a place that has not been very friendly to them over the years. The Canadiens acquired Vanek to change those kinds of trends, so we'll see how he responds.

4. Is this the night Steven Stamkos breaks out?

Stamkos was eased back into the lineup on Thursday, but the new Lightning captain could be back up to full speed against the Bruins on Saturday. It's also the first time Stamkos has played the Bruins since he broke his leg in November, so there's some interesting narratives at play in this game. It would be great to see Stamkos explode for a few goals.

5. Alright, Vancouver. Can you pull it together already?

Vancouver comes home licking its wounds after getting thrashed in Dallas on Thursday. They've lost 11 of their last 12 games and are free falling out of the Western Conference playoff race. Can they right the ship against the Flames?

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