For the first time since he turned pro in 1983, Steve Yzerman will be hoping the Detroit Red Wings lose.
Yzerman spent his entire NHL playing career with the Wings, then traded his sweater and skates for a suit and tie when he joined their front office in 2006. That all changed last May, when he left the only team he'd ever been affiliated with to become the general manager of the Tampa Bay Lightning, a team that hadn't made the playoffs since 2007.
With Yzerman in charge, the Lightning are in first place in the Southeast Division as they welcome the Wings to the St. Pete Times Forum for a 7:30 p.m. ET faceoff, one of seven game on Thursday's NHL schedule.
The Wings have had three days off since completing a weekend sweep of Boston with a 4-2 win on Sunday. The Bolts fell to 5-2-1 on their 12-game homestand when they lost 4-3 in a shootout to Philadelphia on Tuesday.
The evening's action starts at 7 with two games in the New York area. The Rangers host Los Angeles in a game that can be seen on the NHL Network in the United States. The Rangers ended a six-game losing streak by beating Pittsburgh 5-2 on Sunday, while the Kings are playing the eighth of a 10-game road trip. About 20 miles to the East, Boston will try to snap a three-game losing streak when it visits the Islanders, who extended their winning streak to four games with a 4-3 shootout win at Ottawa on Tuesday.
At 8 p.m. ET, Vancouver concludes a three-game trip through the Midwest with a stop in Nashville. The banged-up Canucks are coming off a 4-1 win at Minnesota on Tuesday, the same night the Predators lost 2-1 to San Jose in OT.
An hour later, Montreal begins a road trip with a stop in Edmonton, a game that can be seen in Canada on RDS and CBC. The Canadiens wasted a 2-0 lead and lost 3-2 to Buffalo in a shootout on Tuesday, the same night the Oilers snapped a seven-game home losing streak by polishing off Dallas 4-1. Also at 9, Atlanta tries to cool off the surging Phoenix Coyotes when the Thrashers make a rare trip to the desert. The Coyotes made it five consecutive wins by beating Washington 3-2 on Monday. Atlanta has been off since Sunday's 3-2 loss to Carolina.
In the final game of the night, San Jose is back home for a 10:30 p.m. ET game against Washington. The Sharks' win at Phoenix gave them a 5-2-0 record on a seven-game trip.