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Sabres trying to hold onto playoff spot in Toronto

Tuesday, 02.17.2009 / 4:00 PM / Game-Day Skate

By Adam Schwartz - NHL.com Staff Writer

The Sabres and the Maple Leafs renew their Northeast Division rivalry (7 p.m. ET, TSN, VERSUS) as Toronto goes for their second win in a row and Buffalo tries desperately to hold onto an Eastern Conference playoff spot in one of seven games on the NHL's docket Tuesday night.

Three other early games feature the Hurricanes hosting the Bruins, the Blackhawks beginning a three-game road trip in Tampa Bay and the Devils visiting the Panthers.

Later, the Senators conclude a five-game road trip in Colorado (9:30 p.m. ET, RDS); the Canucks clash with the Flames; and the Oilers go for their fourth in a row when they face the Sharks.

Here's what to keep an eye out for:

* Boston center David Krejci, who is second among the League's Czech players with 57 points, has just 1 point in his last four games. Krejci is second in the League and on his team with a plus-30 rating.

* Sharks center Joe Pavelski, who usually plays on a line with Ryane Clowe and Milan Michalek, has goals in each of his last three games. Pavelski, who averages 18:54 of ice time, has played more than 19 minutes in five of his last six games.

* Buffalo center Derek Roy, who has scored 12 of his 20 goals on the road this season, is fourth among the League's forwards with an average ice time of 21:47. Roy, who has 3 assists and 4 points in his last four games, is one of three Sabres with more than 150 shots on goal.

* The Hurricanes, who have 14 home wins and 14 road wins, have blocked the most shots in the Southeast Division, with 849. Carolina, which is 14-7-2 when scoring first, is 14-17-3 when allowing the first goal.

* Toronto center Dominic Moore, who has more than doubled his previous career high of 18 points this season with 38 in 56 games, leads the Leafs with 27 assists. Moore, who averaged just 13:17 of ice time last season, is averaging 17:06 this season.

* Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews, who had just 6 points in his first 10 games, has 37 points in 44 games since then. Toews, named team captain last summer, had his second three-point game of this season Saturday in Chicago's 6-2 victory vs. the Stars.

* Tampa Bay right wing Ryan Malone, who usually plays alongside Martin St. Louis and Vincent Lecavalier, has 3 goals in his last two games and is one goal shy of his fourth 20-goal season. Malone, who played with Sidney Crosby and averaged 19:04 of ice time with Pittsburgh last season, is averaging 17:14 this season.

* Devils right wing Brian Gionta, who mostly plays on a line with Dainius Zubrus and Patrik Elias, is one of five Devils with at least 30 assists, and he's on pace for a career-high 46 assists. Gionta, who holds the franchise single-season record with 48 goals in the 2005-06 season, this season is tied for fifth on the team with just 13 goals.

* Florida, which has the second-most wins among Eastern Conference teams in their past 10 games with seven, is 15-7-5 at home. The Panthers are 13-3-8 in one-goal games, and are one of just five teams to have lost at least six shootouts.

* The Canucks were 2-5-5 in January, are 5-1-0 in February and have jumped to seventh in the Western Conference with 62 points.

* Calgary right wing Todd Bertuzzi, who has just 2 goals in 12 career games against the Canucks, had the first four-assist game of his career Saturday in the Flames' 7-5 win against the Coyotes. Bertuzzi, who is playing for his fifth team in four seasons, is second on the team with 27 assists.

* Oilers defenseman Tom Gilbert, who has been moved to a pairing with Sheldon Souray, leads Northwest Division defensemen with 29 assists. Gilbert, who has 2 assists in two games against the Sharks this season, has 6 assists in his last five games.

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

Obviously a lot happened in a short period of time. At the end of the day, considering everything I went through, I really felt close to my teammates and I really feel like what we accomplished, I know we didn't win it all. ... I'm really proud of how we got there and what we did once we got there.

— Rangers forward Martin St. Louis to Jim Cerny of BlueshirtsUnited.com