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The NHL's regular-season schedule takes a break for the all-star game this week but there are still some good matchups on tap. Here are five games we'll be watching:

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

All-star game: All eyes will be on the spectacular sophomores in Dallas for the traditionally high-scoring game. Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin will play on the same line in their all-star debuts and could put on quite a show. Crosby currently leads the league with 72 points while Ovechkin is tied for third with 65. And they're just 19 and 21. Wow.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Los Angeles Kings at Vancouver Canucks: Marc Crawford makes his return to GM Place for the first time since being fired by the Canucks last summer. He was in Vancouver for seven years and was hired by the Kings a month after being let go. It's been a tough season in California for Crawford as the Kings are second-last in the entire league, but a win in Vancouver could ease the pain a bit.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Nashville Predators at St. Louis Blues: The Predators are the NHL's top team at the all-star break and should get a good test from the resurgent Blues. Andy Murray has his squad in St. Louis playing well - they're 7-2-1 in the past 10 games, and are starting to think about a push for the playoffs in the Western Conference.

Montreal Canadiens at Toronto Maple Leafs: One of the oldest rivalries in the NHL will have another chapter written, but this one is as much about current history as the past. Montreal limped into the all-star break and the Leafs have been mediocre for most of the season so each will be looking to get on a roll in the second half. They've split four games so far this season.

Pittsburgh Penguins at Phoenix Coyotes: Gretzky vs. Crosby. The Great One vs. The Next One. While many expect them to be competing in the record books over the next couple decades, Wayne Gretzky and Sidney Crosby will be going head to head in a game for the first time ever. Gretzky, the coach, will have to help his Phoenix team find a way to stop the league's leading scorer. At least he's familiar with Sid - he suggested a few years back that Crosby might one day eclipse his records.
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