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Leafs-Bruins highlight pre-break schedule

Wednesday, 01.21.2009 / 4:00 PM / Game-Day Skate

By Adam Schwartz - NHL.com Staff Writer

It's the final day before the NHL takes off for the All-Star break, but there is plenty of good action left, including the Maple Leafs hosting the Bruins (7:30 p.m. ET, NHLN-US, TSN) in one of nine games Wednesday night.

Five other early games features the Devils going for their fifth win in a row when they face the Canadiens (7 p.m. ET, RDS); the Ducks continuing their five-game road trip when they visit the Islanders; the Flyers hosting the Thrashers; the Sabres traveling to Tampa Bay; and the Panthers looking to stay in the hunt for a playoff spot against the Stars.

Later, the Blues battle the Blackhawks in a Central Division showdown; the Kings try to avoid losing their fifth of six games when they skate against the Avalanche; and the Northwest Division-leading Flames face the Blue Jackets.

Here's what to watch:

* Montreal left wing Andrei Kostitsyn, who is tied for the team lead with 16 goals, has just 7 goals in 22 road games this season. Kostitsyn, who plays on a line with his brother Sergei, has 6 goals and 10 points in his last eight games.

* Flames left wing Rene Bourque, who is three points shy of tying his career-high of 34, has 6 assists and 8 points in his last eight games. Bourque, who averages just 15:51 of ice time per game, has played more than 17 minutes in his last three games.

* Anaheim defenseman Chris Pronger, who is second among Pacific Division defensemen with 29 points, is fifth in the League with an average ice time of 26:47 per game. Pronger, who has a minus-10 rating in 22 road games this season, has no points and a minus-2 rating in his last five games.

* Kings defenseman Drew Doughty, the second pick of the 2008 Entry Draft, leads Western Conference rookie defenseman with 14 points. Doughty, who leads all rookie defensemen with an average ice time of 23:45 per game, snapped his nine-game point drought Tuesday with 2 assists in Los Angeles' 5-2 victory against the Wild.

* Philadelphia, which has won eight of its last nine home games, is third in the Atlantic Division, just three points behind the first-place Rangers. The Flyers, who have the most road hits in the Atlantic Division with 530, are one of just five teams in the League with eight overtime or shootout wins.       

* Bruins goalie Tim Thomas, who leads the League with a .934 save percentage, has lost just three of his last 13 games and has allowed more than three goals in just three games during that span. Thomas, who was drafted in the ninth round of the 1994 Entry Draft, has only faced more than 35 shots in just six games this season.

* Buffalo center Derek Roy, who leads Northeast Division forwards with an average ice time of 21:42 per game, has 5 goals and 11 points in his last nine games. Roy, who has 21 home and 21 road points, has a plus-52 rating in his last 199 games.

* The Panthers, who are one point out of a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, are 11-11-3 on the road, but 10-5-5 at home. Florida, which is one of four teams in the League with eight overtime or shootout losses, is one of just two Southeast Division teams to score more goals than they have allowed.

 
* Chicago right wing Kris Versteeg, who the Bruins traded to the Blackhawks for Brandon Bochenski, leads the League's rookies with 36 points. Versteeg, who plays on a line with Martin Havlat, has 7 assists during Wednesday games -- more than any other day of the week.

* Blue Jackets defenseman Jan Hejda, who leads the team with a plus-16 rating and averages 22:05 of ice time per game, played more than 25 minutes in his last two games. Hejda, a defensive defenseman, is second on the team with 99 hits.

* New Jersey captain Jamie Langenbrunner, who is playing alongside Zach Parise and Travis Zajac, has 16 of his 26 assists on the road. Langenbrunner, who is one of six Devils with at least a plus-12 rating, has 6 assists and 7 points in his last six games.

* Avalanche defenseman Brett Clark, who leads Colorado defensemen with a plus-5 rating, is second in the League with 141 blocked shots. Clark, who has had 20 points in each of his last three seasons, has 3 of his 8 assists this season in his last four games.

* Dallas left wing James Neal, who is third among Pacific Division rookies with 18 points, is tied for the second-worst on the team with a minus-11 rating. Neal, who has been pointless with a minus-4 rating in his last six games, played just 11:43 Tuesday -- the least ice time he's received since Nov. 1 -- in the Stars' 4-2 loss to the Lightning.

Contact Adam Schwartz at aschwartz@nhl.com.
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