Six games are on tap in the NHL tonight. The biggest story lines involve a couple of prominent NHLers returning to the cities where they were once heroes for the first time since departing. Here’s what we’re watching tonight:
Lightning vs. Flyers 7:00 PM ET
Simon Gagne returns to Philadelphia to face the only other NHL team he has known. Gagne was curiously left out of the Flyers’ Eastern Conference championship video montage, although it’s likely he’ll receive some sort of tribute for his 10+ years of service to the club.
Philadelphia owns an impressive 39-22-8-2 record all-time versus Tampa Bay, but they’re facing a remodeled Lightning club this time around. Early reports have Sergei “Bob” Bobrovsky in goal for the Flyers, and Chris Pronger is listed as “likely”. Steven Stamkos and his teammates will look to keep a good thing going following a big overtime win over Montreal on Wednesday. Stamkos has 3 goals and 5 points in the team’s first two games, having picked up where he left off last season.
Red Wings vs. Stars 8:30 PM ET
Emotions will be high in Texas when Mike Modano takes the ice as a Detroit Red Wings. Modano will probably receive a large ovation from the Dallas fans; his contributions to hockey in Dallas are immeasurable. Modano’s former teammate and Stars’ captain Brendan Morrow summed it up perfectly:
“You can just see by the looks of the guy, he doesn’t look like a hockey player, he looks like a model, and he’s 40 and looks like he’s in his 20s. So a good-looking guy coming down to Texas selling hockey, I think it was a good one for one of the demographics here.”
Detroit holds a slight edge in the all-time match-up with a 100-94-34-4 record, although Dallas took 3 of 4 contests from the Red Wings in 2009-10. It’s Mike Modano night, and tears will be shed.
Oilers vs. Wild 8:30 PM ET
The kids in Edmonton are looking to prove they’re still alright, while the Wild are in search of their first victory of the season. It’s opening night at the Xcel Energy Center, the 10th in franchise history, and the club is looking to find its identity much like they were in early 2000. Fear mongers are putting Wild head coach on the hot seat rather early, and you can bet he’ll be looking to get his guys going early now that they’ve returned stateside from Finland.
Edmonton and Minnesota split the season series at 3 wins a piece a season ago, but the Wild has handled the Oilers fairly well historically. The Oilers looked impressive in the season opener, but appeared to fall back to earth a little bit versus the Panthers on Sunday. Which Oilers team will show up tonight?