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B's in Ottawa, Hawks at Calgary in TSN doubleheader

Thursday, 02.05.2009 / 4:00 PM / Game-Day Skate

By Adam Schwartz - NHL.com Staff Writer

The Northwest Division-leading Flames host the Blackhawks (9:30 p.m. ET, TSN) in one of eight games in the NHL tonight.

Prior to the Calgary-Chicago game, the Kings continue their East Coast road trip in Washington; the Senators clash with the Bruins in a Northeast Division showdown (7 p.m. ET, TSN, RDS); the Panthers host the Islanders; and the Predators go for their fourth win in five games when they play the Ducks.

Later, the Oilers travel to St. Louis; the Stars play their lone road game in a six-game span when they play the Avalanche; and the Sharks battle the Hurricanes.

Here's what to watch:

* Kings center Anze Kopitar, who leads the team with 26 assists and is tied for the team lead with 38 points, has 2 goals in two career games against the Capitals, including a goal in their previous meeting this season. Kopitar, who has just 3 of his 12 goals on the road this season, has the second-worst plus-minus on the team at minus-10.

* San Jose defenseman Dan Boyle, who is third in scoring among defensemen with 38 points, has 6 assists and 8 points in his last eight games. Boyle, who has a plus-6 rating in his last four games, has 7 assists and a plus-3 rating in eight Thursday games.

* Bruins defenseman Dennis Wideman, who was traded to the Bruins by the Blues for Brad Boyes in 2007, is fourth among Eastern Conference defensemen and tied for fifth among the League's defensemen with 37 points. Wideman already has set a career-high in points this season, and leads the League with a plus-32 rating.

* Florida goalie Tomas Vokoun, who is one of the few right-handed catching goalies in the League, leads Southeast Division goaltenders that have played at least 25 games with a .919 save percentage. Vokoun, who has earned the Panthers points in seven of his last nine starts, has faced 30 or more shots in five games during that span.

* Anaheim, which is fifth in the Western Conference with 57 points, leads the League with 297 minor penalties. The Ducks, who are 7-10 in two-goal games, are 13-9-5 in one-goal games.

* The Oilers, who have the most road wins in the Northwest Division with 13, are just 12-11-3 at home. Edmonton has been outshot in 34 of its 50 games this season, but is 18-15-1 in those games. They're just 7-7-2 when they outshoot their opponent.
   
* Dallas center Brad Richards, who is tied for the team lead with 44 points, has 6 assists and 8 points in his last six games. Richards, who won the 2004 Conn Smythe Trophy when he won the Stanley Cup with Tampa Bay, has just 11 of his 31 assists on the road.

* Chicago center Jonathan Toews leads the team with 5 game-winning goals. Toews, who averages 18:35 of ice time, hasn't played more than 18 minutes in the last four games.

* Flames left wing Rene Bourque, who leads the team with a plus-12 rating, is one of five Calgary players with at least 15 goals. Bourque, who averages just 15:57 of ice time per game, has 2 assists and 3 points in three career games against the Blackhawks, including an assist in the teams' last meeting.

 
* Washington left wing Alexander Semin, who is playing alongside Nicklas Backstrom and Brooks Laich, is third on the team with 44 points despite missing 18 games. Semin, who had a minus-18 rating last season, leads the team with a plus-22 rating this season.

* Senators center Mike Fisher, who has scored at least 20 goals in each of his last three seasons, has just 7 goals in 45 games this season. Fisher, who only has one multiple-goal game this season, is averaging the fourth-most ice time among Ottawa forwards at 18:27.

* Nashville defenseman Greg Zanon, who leads the Central Division and is third in the League with 147 blocked shots, has played at least 20 minutes in 11 of his past 13 games. Zanon, who enjoys wakeboarding, has a plus-10 rating in 23 Predator wins, but has a minus-11 rating in 27 losses.

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

We think that Randy is a very good coach. Our players think that Randy is a very good coach. We think that he's going to get the most out of this group. With the addition of the two assistants, a bit of a different dynamic, we're very comfortable that this is a quality coaching staff that's going to maximize the potential of this team.

— Maple Leafs GM Dave Nonis on head coach Randy Carlyle and his staff