NHL Game Previews: Feb. 1st

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NHL Game Previews: Feb. 1st

The Dallas Stars are expected to have forward Jeri Lehtinen back in their lineup tonight when they face off against the Edmonton Oilers

Lehtinen is returning after missing the last 33 games due to an abdominal strain that led to sports hernia surgery in late November. The former Selke Award winner, given to the NHL's best defensive forward, is expected to play alongside Mike Modano and Jussi Jokinen.

Lehtinen has six goals and 13 assists in 21 games this year.

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Elsewhere in the NHL tonight, the New York Rangers, fresh off a 4-0 victory over Philadelphia last night, make a short trip to play the New Jersey Devils.

Goalie Henrik Lundqvist is expected to start in goal for the Rangers, after Steven Valiquette recorded the shutout versus the Flyers. Ex-Devil Scott Gomez returns to play his former team for the second time this season. 

Meanwhile, the Devils hope to snap a four-game losing streak, but may have to do it without the services of their leading scorer Brian Gionta.

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It's a rivalry revisited when the Colorado Avalanche play the Detroit Red Wings in the Motor City.

Back in 1996 and 2002, these two Western Conference foes waged an all out war against each other during the regular season and playoffs.  I'm sure everyone remembers the Claude Lemieux hit on current Red Wings’ Kris Draper and the bout between goalies Chris Osgood and Patrick Roy.

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Vancouver Canucks completes its tour through Florida, when they face the Florida Panthers. 

Last night, the Canucks lost 4-3 in Tampa Bay and have dropped eight of their past 10 games. 

Goalie Roberto Luongo is expected to face his former club for the first time since being dealt in 2006.  In one of the most lopsided deals in history, the Panthers traded the best young goalie in the league, along with Lukas Krajicek, and a sixth round pick to the Canucks for Todd Bertuzzi, Alex Auld, and Bryan Allen.

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Atlanta Thrashers will play host the Buffalo Sabres without the services of leading scorer Ilya Kovalchuk. The Russian forward will likely to be out until next week after injuring his knee in a collision with Pittsburgh's Jarko Ruutu. 

Buffalo, meanwhile, is coming off a 1-0 shutout victory over the Panthers.  The Sabres snapped a 0-39 drought on the power play when Tomas Vanek notched his 14th goal of the season.

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Finally, the Anaheim Ducks will look to end a five-game losing streak when they play the St. Louis Blues. The defending Stanley Cup champions haven't won since a 4-2 victory over the Minnesota Wild on January 18th. 

St. Louis stopped a futility streak of its own when they edged the Toronto Maple Leafs, 3-2, on Tuesday.  The win was the Blues first in eight games.

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