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Central matchup highlights light night

Monday, 02.02.2009 / 4:00 PM / Game-Day Skate

By Adam Schwartz - NHL.com Staff Writer

The Blues and Red Wings renew their rivalry (7 p.m. ET, TSN, VERSUS) in one of three games Monday night.

Two late games will see the Avalanche try to avoid their fifth consecutive loss when they face Flames, and the Ducks host the Sabres for the first time since last December.

Here's what to keep an eye on:

* St. Louis right wing Brad Boyes, whose favorite band is Metallica, leads the Central Division and is tied for third in the League with 12 power-play goals, but has the worst plus-minus in the Western Conference at minus-22. Boyes, who had 22 assists in 82 games last season, has 19 assists in 48 games this season, putting him on pace for 32.

* Blues left wing David Perron, who had 14 assists and 27 points and averaged 12:33 of ice time as a rookie last season, has 25 assists and 30 points and is averaging 15:47 of ice time in 47 games this season. Boyes, who played in the YoungStars Game at All-Star Weekend, has just 2 goals in nine career games against the Red Wings.

* Detroit right wing Marian Hossa, who is scheduled to become a free agent this summer, is the only Red Wing with at least 20 goals and 20 assists (24 goals, 24 assists). Hossa, who averaged 21:21 of ice time per game with the Thrashers and Penguins last season, is averaging 18:16 of ice time this season, and has 3 goals and 6 points in his last five games.

* The Red Wings, who have made the playoffs 17 straight seasons, the longest current streak in the League, lead the second-place Blackhawks by seven more points in the Central Division. Detroit, which has the best road power play in the League at 32.1 percent, lost their fifth straight game Saturday, 4-2 to Washington, but they were missing notable contributors Brad Stuart, Tomas Holmstrom and Henrik Zetterberg.

* Calgary center Mike Cammalleri, who leads the team with 25 goals, has 11 goals and 14 points in his last eight games, including a hat trick last Wednesday in the Flames' 5-2 victory against the Sabres. Cammalleri, who can become a free agent this summer, is on pace for a career-high 43 goals this season.

* The Flames, who lead the Northwest Division by 11 points, are one of just five teams in the League with at least 60 third-period goals. Calgary, which is 15-4-4 in one-goal games, is tied for the fewest shootouts in the League -- just two.

* Colorado right wing Milan Hejduk, who leads the team with 18 goals, has a team-worst minus-9 rating. Hejduk, whose boyhood idol was Bruin and fellow Czech Vladimir Ruzicka, has 23 goals and 48 points in 59 career games against the Flames, including a goal and an assist in the teams' last meeting.

* Avalanche left wing Cody McLeod, who averages just 10:28 of ice time, leads the team with 110 penalty minutes and 119 hits.

* Sabres goalie Ryan Miller, who is tied for the Eastern Conference lead with 24 wins, has faced 1,269 shots, second-most in the conference. Miller has won five of his last seven starts and has allowed three or fewer goals in four of them.

* Buffalo, which is one of only two teams to have won at least four playoff series in the last three seasons without winning the Stanley Cup, has the best road power play in the Eastern Conference at 23.6 percent. The Sabres, who have the fewest hits in the Northeast Division with 881, are 6-2 in shootouts.

* Anaheim defenseman Scott Niedermayer, who is tied for second among Western Conference defensemen with 36 points, has 8 assists and 9 points in his last five games. Niedermayer, who has a minus-15 rating in 27 Ducks losses, has a plus-14 rating in 25 wins.  

* Ducks right wing Bobby Ryan, the second pick of the 2005 Entry Draft, leads Anaheim forwards with a plus-11 rating. Ryan has 5 goals and 8 points in his last seven games.

Contact Adam Schwartz at aschwartz@nhl.com.
Quote of the Day

It's a little different but it feels amazing. A new chapter in my life and I'm excited. It's been amazing. Better than I expected. The weather is great, the place is just amazing. I can't say enough good things about it. I'm glad to get the season going.

— Ryan Kesler on his transition to the Anaheim Ducks