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Daily Primer March 11: Critical clash in Columbus

Tuesday, 03.11.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

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Daily Primer March 11: Critical clash in Columbus
Tied at 71 points apiece in the Eastern Conference standings, the Detroit Red Wings and Columbus Blue Jackets will clash at Nationwide Arena.

The Detroit Red Wings are vying for an invitation to the Stanley Cup Playoffs for a 23rd consecutive year. A win against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday would certainly help their chances.

Tied at 71 points apiece in the Eastern Conference standings, the Red Wings and Blue Jackets will clash at Nationwide Arena (7 p.m. ET, FS-D+, FS-O). Columbus is technically ahead with four more victories than Detroit.

"Biggest game, really, if I think about it right now after losing that one to the Rangers [on Sunday]," Red Wings defenseman Brendan Smith told the team website. "We need to take this one, especially if there's a four-point swing."

Here's a closer look at the action Tuesday:

Nashville Predators at Buffalo Sabres -- Nashville goes for its second win in as many nights after rookie defenseman Seth Jones scored in overtime to lift his team to a 4-3 victory against the Ottawa Senators at Canadian Tire Centre on Monday. The Predators snapped a four-game skid with the win. Buffalo has dropped three of its past four games since coming out of the Olympic break with a three-game winning streak; the Sabres dropped a 2-1 decision to the Chicago Blackhawks at First Niagara Center on Sunday.

New Jersey Devils at Philadelphia Flyers-- Desperate for points, New Jersey begins a three-game road trip against one of its biggest rivals. Devils center Adam Henrique, who has scored in six straight games, was named the NHL's Third Star of the Week on Monday after scoring five goals in three games. With Ray Emery sidelined with a lower-body injury, Steve Mason will have to continue to carry the load in goal for the Flyers. Mason has started five straight games and 10 of the past 11.

New York Rangers at Carolina Hurricanes -- The Rangers have won 10 in a row against the Hurricanes and will look to continue that impressive run at PNC Arena. New York goalie Henrik Lundqvist has a chance to tie Mike Richter for the franchise record of 301 victories. Lundqvist, who has 49 career shutouts, can also move past Ed Giacomin for most in franchise history. The Hurricanes are on a 1-7-0 skid following a 5-4 loss to the Devils this past Saturday.

Detroit Red Wings at Columbus Blue Jackets -- Detroit hopes to bounce back after being shut out by the Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Sunday. The Red Wings are expected to be without a handful of key players, including forwards Pavel Datsyuk (knee) and Henrik Zetterberg (back). Columbus returns to action 24 hours after its game against the Dallas Stars was postponed when Stars forward Rich Peverley collapsed on the bench in the first period.

Phoenix Coyotes at Florida Panthers -- It's the first game between these teams since Dec. 20, 2011. Phoenix will try to build off the 4-3 shootout win it earned against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday. The win allowed the Coyotes to move within a point of the Stars in the Western Conference playoff race. Florida is wrapping up a three-game homestand. The Panthers suffered a 5-2 loss to the Boston Bruins on Sunday.

Washington Capitals at Pittsburgh Penguins-- The teams conclude a home-and-home series after Chris Kunitz scored twice to lead Pittsburgh to a 3-2 victory at Verizon Center on Monday. The win allowed the Penguins to regain the top spot in the Eastern Conference from the idle Bruins. The Capitals are 0-6-0 against Pittsburgh under coach Adam Oates. Washington is 1-3-1 in its past five games.

Dallas Stars at St. Louis Blues -- Dallas received a huge scare Monday when forward Rich Peverley collapsed on the bench less than seven minutes into a game against the Blue Jackets at American Airlines Center. The game was postponed and the Stars later announced that Peverley was in stable condition and resting comfortably. The Blues extended their win streak to five games Sunday, when they earned a 3-2 shootout victory against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center. St. Louis has not lost since acquiring goaltender Ryan Miller from the Buffalo Sabres on Feb. 28.

Edmonton Oilers at Minnesota Wild-- The future is now for the struggling Oilers. Defenseman Oscar Klefbom, a 2011 first-round draft pick (No. 19), could make his debut Tuesday. Klefbom has played in 45 games with the Oklahoma City Barons of the American Hockey League this season, his first in North America, scoring one goal and nine points. After stringing together a season-best five wins in a row, the Wild are winless in their past two games (0-1-1). Minnesota is the Stanley Cup Playoff wild-card leader in the Western Conference, up four points on the Stars.

Toronto Maple Leafs at San Jose Sharks -- Toronto, winners of three straight, continues its three-game trip through California after earning an impressive victory against the Anaheim Ducks on Monday night. San Jose, which has won back-to-back games, has lost four games in regulation at home all season (24-4-4). The Sharks will be seeking their third win in a row Tuesday.

Quote of the Day

He seemed to thrive on his own and didn't really need any push from me. I certainly don't want to get in the way of the coaches. You see how that goes sometimes. I never really worried about it and just enjoyed the ride.

— David Ekblad on his son's [Aaron Ekblad] journey to the NHL, signing with the Florida Panthers