Jimmy Howard hasn't played in more than a week, but the Detroit Red Wings' starting goaltender seems primed for a return Tuesday night.
Howard, who sustained a knee injury in a game against the St. Louis Blues on Jan. 20, could make his return when the Red Wings face the Philadelphia Flyers at Wells Fargo Center (7 p.m. ET, FS-D, CSN-PH).
Detroit and Philadelphia are in a heated race for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference; the Flyers trail the Red Wings by one point for the second wild card.
Here's a closer look at the action Tuesday:
Florida Panthers at Boston Bruins -- Panthers goalie Tim Thomas will be on the ice at TD Garden for the first time since he helped the Bruins win the Stanley Cup in 2011. He played against them earlier this season at BB&T Center, but was injured when the Panthers visited the Bruins a few weeks later. Boston has scored six goals in each of its past two games, including a 6-3 win against the New York Islanders on Monday. Zdeno Chara earned his 500th NHL point in the victory.
Tampa Bay Lightning at Toronto Maple Leafs -- Toronto will look to avoid its fifth three-game losing streak of the season. The latest setback was a 5-4 overtime loss Saturday to the Winnipeg Jets, which completed Toronto's road trip with a 2-1-1 mark. Phil Kessel and James van Riemsdyk left practice Monday with injuries, although neither appeared to be serious, according to the Toronto Star, and coach Randy Carlyle said both would play Tuesday. The Lightning, who have won three in a row, are beginning a four-game road trip. Tampa Bay has won four of its past five road games.
Detroit Red Wings at Philadelphia Flyers -- Detroit is likely to have No. 1 goalie Jimmy Howard back in its lineup; the Red Wings sent goaltender Petr Mrazek to the American Hockey League on Monday, paving the way for Howard, who hurt his knee Jan. 20, to be activated from injured reserve. However, Detroit will be without top forwards Pavel Datsyuk (lower body) and Henrik Zetterberg (back); neither made the trip to Philadelphia. The Flyers are 2-5-2 in their past nine games and have been outscored 13-3 in the first period over that stretch.
Ottawa Senators at Columbus Blue Jackets -- Ottawa will be hoping to avoid a three-game skid after suffering a 6-3 loss against the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday. Senators center Kyle Turris has seven goals in his past eight games, and the team recalled forward Stephane Da Costa from Binghamton of the AHL on Monday. Columbus has lost two in a row after setting a franchise record with eight consecutive victories. The Blue Jackets raced out to a 2-0 lead Monday only to suffer a 3-2 loss at Carolina.
Washington Capitals at Buffalo Sabres -- Washington has scored 13 goals in its past eight games, and nearly half of them came in a 5-0 win against the Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre on Saturday. Alex Ovechkin returned from a two-game absence and scored his 36th goal. The Sabres are aiming for a season-series sweep of Washington. They have beaten the Capitals twice in a shootout.
Carolina Hurricanes at Montreal Canadiens -- Carolina jumped past the Columbus Blue Jackets into a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with a come-from-behind 3-2 win against Columbus on Monday night. The Hurricanes are third in the Metropolitan Division with 57 points, one point ahead of the Blue Jackets. The Canadiens are 8-11-2 since Dec. 9 and are in danger are falling out of playoff position. Montreal has been outscored 19-5 during a four-game losing streak.
New Jersey Devils at St. Louis Blues -- The Devils will look to rebound from a 7-3 loss against the New York Rangers in the 2014 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series at Yankee Stadium on Sunday. After taking a 3-1 lead, the Devils allowed six unanswered goals and goalie Martin Brodeur was yanked in favor of Cory Schneider after allowing six goals on 21 shots. St. Louis returns home after going 3-1-0 on a four-game road trip. The Blues closed out the trip by rallying to beat the Islanders in a shootout Saturday.
Nashville Predators at Winnipeg Jets -- The Predators wrap up their four-game road trip at MTS Centre; they are 1-1-1 thus far. Nashville earned points in five of six games prior to suffering a 5-1 loss to the Edmonton Oilers on Sunday. Winnipeg is coming off a 3-1 victory against the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday. Al Montoya returned to his hometown and made 34 saves at United Center. Jets forward Blake Wheeler has enjoyed multipoint games in four of his past six.
Los Angeles Kings at Phoenix Coyotes -- Los Angeles finally found the back of the net Monday night and rode Jonathan Quick's 23-save performance to a 1-0 victory against the San Jose Sharks, ending a five-game skid. Anze Kopitar scored the lone goal for the Kings, who had gone 154:43 without a goal. Phoenix is opening a five-game homestand Tuesday. The Coyotes went 1-1-1 on a three-game road trip that ended with a 5-4 overtime loss against the Vancouver Canucks on Sunday.
Chicago Blackhawks at Calgary Flames -- Chicago's visit to Calgary is the first stop of a seven-game road trip that will carry the Blackhawks to the Olympic break. The Blackhawks will not play at home again until they host the Pittsburgh Penguins at Soldier Field in the 2014 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series on March 1. Calgary, which is in the midst of a five-game homestand, has five wins its past 20 games (5-13-2). Flames captain Mark Giordano has a six-game point streak (three goals, three assists).
Minnesota Wild at Anaheim Ducks -- It's the second of a four-game road trip for Minnesota, which failed to protect a 2-0 lead and suffered a 3-2 overtime loss against the Sharks on Saturday. However, the Wild are 8-3-1 since ending 2013 on a six-game losing streak. Anaheim has won two in a row after losing in regulation for the first time at the Honda Center this season last Tuesday against the Jets. After getting pulled in that game, Ducks goaltender Jonas Hiller pitched a 36-save shutout against the Los Angeles Kings at Dodger Stadium on Saturday as part of the 2014 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series.