Tonight's games

Time is a-wastin’ so let’s get right to the previews. Expect cutesy lead paragraphs to resume soon enough.

Buffalo Sabres (41-23-10, 92 pts) at Boston Bruins (34-28-12, 80 pts) 7:00 PM ET

Buffalo certainly has a lot less to play for in this one, but they could also be getting a taste test of a potential first round tussle here. The Bruins cannot rest for a second because Atlanta and New York have a great opportunity to wrestle the eighth spot away from them.

Carolina Hurricanes (31-35-9, 71 pts) at Atlanta Thrashers (33-30-12, 78 pts) 7:00 PM ET

The Hurricanes are one of the most dangerous “spoiler” teams in the NHL right now. The Thrashers need to soak up as many points as possible because their schedule is about to get brutal.

Nashville Predators (43-27-6, 92 pts) at Florida Panthers (30-33-11, 71 pts) 7:30 PM ET

If I were the Panthers, I would make it a point to lose the remaining games in regulation. What’s the point of finishing in ninth or tenth place again? The Predators need to protect their shaky hold on fifth place in the Western Conference. They could easily tumble to eighth place.

Los Angeles Kings (42-26-6, 90 pts) at Minnesota Wild (36-33-6, 78 pts) 9:00 PM ET

The Wild are among my “stop kidding yourself, you need to start tanking immediately” picks. The Kings might be getting worried about a self-jinx after making that “Back in Black” announcement. People just don’t fear the jinx like they used to, do they?

Dallas Stars (33-28-14, 80 pts) at Anaheim Ducks (35-31-8, 78 pts) 10:00 PM ET

There’s going to be a lot of smack talking in this one. Unfortunately, it’s really just a prelude to a wicked golf match.

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    Video: Wild score four in 5:07 for shock win in Colorado

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    Everything was going great for the Avs in their season-opener against Minnesota on Thursday night.

    Great until the third period, anyway.

    In a stunning and dramatic comeback, the Wild erased a 4-1 deficit in just over five minutes — 5:07 to be exact — scoring four times to steal a 5-4 win at the Pepsi Center.

    The comeback started early in the final frame, when Wild captain Zach Parise scored his second of the night at the 5:07 mark. Just over two minutes later, Nino Niederreiter snapped one past Semyon Varlamov to make it 4-3 and then, two minutes after that, Thomas Vanek scored to make it 4-4.

    But the Wild weren’t done there.

    Parise completed his hat-trick — the third of his career — with a power play marker at the 10:14 mark, an unassisted tally. When the dust finally settled on the 5:07 flurry, the Wild had combined to rack up nine points from eight different skaters.

    Prior to the comeback, Colorado dominated proceedings with a goalscoring flurry of its own.

    The Avs scored three times in the final seven minutes of the first period — including a pair of power play goals from Jarome Iginla and Erik Johnson — to race out to a (seemingly) commanding 3-0 lead.

    Video: Flyers, Bolts confirm 3-on-3 OT is pretty much the greatest thing ever


    Well, the NHL’s two new initiatives for ’15-16 seem to be going swimmingly.

    Not long after Ottawa successfully made the second-ever coach’s challenge, fans got their first look at 3-on-3 overtime.

    And what a look it was.

    In the span of 137 seconds, the Tampa Bay Lightning and Philadelphia Flyers combined for eight shots on goal, a few breakaways, some tremendous saves — including one on a penalty shot — and, finally, Jason Garrison‘s game-winning goal on a breakaway from center, giving the Bolts a 3-2 win.

    It was, in a word, fun.

    Lots of fun.

    A quick sampling of reviews:

    Of course, not everybody was a fan:

    Now, to temper things a bit — this was the first time we’ve seen 3-on-3 with something on the line, so there was a novelty factor at play. There’s also no guaranteeing future OT sessions will be as exciting as this.

    But none of that takes away from the fact 3-on-3 made for appointment viewing, and immense entertainment value. The prospect of future games like this? That’s pretty exciting.