You do need some patience to understand how this is working...after that, it's a piece of cake :) Just ask if you don't understand something, and I'll try to help you out., as I have a little experience with it.
I have optimistic thoughts, even though sometimes (if not always) life's a bitch.
As much as I love regular expressions, I think that using the DOM extension is more suited to screen scraping in general. For the HTML snippet that buildakicker provided, perhaps something along the lines of the following might be useful.
// Always use error reporting when developing
error_reporting(E_ALL | E_STRICT);
// Load in HTML string
$html = file_get_contents('snow.txt', false);
// Create new DOM document and load in our HTML fragment
$dom = new DOMDocument;
// Create a new XPath handler for our HTML
$xpath = new DOMXPath($dom);
// Find the first <tr class="alternateRow"> element
$block = $xpath->query('//tr[@class="alternateRow"]')->item(0);
// Find the <td> elements inside our <tr>
$tds = $block->getElementsByTagName('td');
This is why it is a very bad idea to built entire sites using tables, without any ids and classes.
Yes, you may start anywhere using preg_match, but if there are lots of unnamed table rows or cells (or divs for that sake), preg_match is probably not the best solution. If you insist on using regular expressions, then you should know that [\s]+ will match all spaces and line breaks, which is useful search for more than one line.