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Puck Previews: Rangers try to clinch East; Panthers playoff drought could end; surprises and disappointments

APHere are your Puck Previews: Spotlighting the key games in NHL action, news and views as well as general frivolity. Make sure to stop back here for the nightly Three Stars when the games are finished.

Preview: New York Rangers at Philadelphia Flyers, 7 p.m. ET. Despite both teams having already clinched playoff berths, there's still plenty at stake in this game. With just one point, the Rangers will secure the top seed in the Eastern Conference and win their first division title since 1993-94, the year they won the Stanley Cup. For the Flyers, they're still battling with the Pittsburgh Penguins -- their likely first round opponent -- for home-ice advantage and the No. 4 spot in the East.

Preview: Winnipeg Jets at Florida Panthers, 7:30 p.m. ET. Tonight could be an historic evening for the Panthers as victory will ensure their first playoff berth since the 1999-2000 season. They could still clinch with loss in overtime or the shootout only if Toronto defeats Buffalo. A regulation loss by the Panthers would need the Maple Leafs to beat the Sabres in regulation in order to advance.

Preview: San Jose Sharks at Dallas Stars, 8:30 p.m. ET. Things are still unsettled in the Pacific Division as the Sharks and Stars are among five teams battle for one of the final two playoff spots in the West and among four teams vying for the division title. Eric Nystrom is expected back for the Stars after missing the last three games with a leg laceration.

Check out previews and updated scores for all of today's games on the Y! Sports NHL scores and scheds page. For tonight's starting goalies, check out Left Wing Lock.

Evening Reading

• From Daily News Live in Philadelphia: Flyers assistant coach Craig Berube: "Crosby and Malkin are the two dirtiest players on their hockey team." Saturday can't come soon enough. [CSN Philly]

• "The Devils and the city of Newark each are entitled to more than $14 million in claims and counterclaims stemming from a five-year-long dispute about the National Hockey League franchise's annual rent and the amount of parking revenues due the team, a three-member arbitration panel ruled on Tuesday." [Bergen Record]

• Even if Boston College advances to the NCAA title game on Saturday night, which is also the final day of the NHL regular season, the New York Rangers are still eligible to sign prospect Chris Kreider and use him in the playoffs. [NY Post]

• Down Goes Brown has gotten his hands on the application for the Montreal Canadiens general manager position. [DGB]

• Looking at this season's surprises and disappointments. [NHL.com]

• Finally, with the help of Mark Messier, Adam Graves and Rod Gilbert, the Rangers unveiled three themed subway cars today:

Puck Daddy Reader Comment of the Day: "Saevio" brings up a point:

Elbow a guy in the face and bust his nose, $2500 fine.
Say the NHL wants to increase ratings in SoCal. $10,000 fine.
Yeah that makes sense.

The CBA, everyone!

Bold Prediction: Florida clinches and on his 29th birthday Stephen Weiss gets the overtime winner.

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