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Habs face tough task in trying to snap skid in D.C.

Wednesday, 02.18.2009 / 4:00 PM / Game-Day Skate

By Adam Schwartz - NHL.com Staff Writer

The Canadiens look to get back on track after losing three of their first four games on their current six-game road trip, which sees them face the Southeast Division-leading Capitals (7:30 p.m. ET, TSN, RDS, NHLN-US) in one of five games Wednesday night.

In addition to the Washington-Montreal game, the Rangers host the Islanders; the Blues visit the Blue Jackets in a Central Division showdown; the Red Wings try to stop their two-game losing streak when they face the Predators, and the Kings renew their rivalry with the Ducks.

Here's what to keep an eye out for:

* Islanders right wing Richard Park, who has 14 points and a plus-13 in 28 games against the Rangers, leads Islanders forwards with an average of 3:00 of shorthanded ice time per game. Park, who hasn't missed a game since the 2005-06 season, leads the team with four shorthanded points.

* Rangers center Scott Gomez, who leads the team with 29 assists, has been held without a point in five of his last eight games. Gomez, who was a plus-59 in seven seasons with the Devils, is a minus-8 in two seasons with the Rangers, including minus-11 this season.

* St. Louis left wing David Perron, who averages just 15:23 of ice time, is tied for second on the team with 35 points.

* Blue Jackets goalie Steve Mason is the only Columbus goalie of the five to play this season to win five games. In three games since returning from a three-game absence due to mononucleosis, he's helped the Blue Jackets earns a point in all three games and has not allowed more than two goals during that span. Mason, the only rookie goalie with 20 wins, lost both times he has played the Blues.

* Montreal, which has five players with 100 hits, leads the Northeast Division and is third in the League with 1,412 hits. The Canadiens, who have lost 10 of their last 13 games, are 17-6-5 home record, but just 13-15-2 on the road.

* Capitals center Tomas Fleischmann, who averages just 15:05 of ice time per game, has 4 assists and 5 points in his last four games. Fleischmann, who leads the team with an 18.0 shooting percentage, has scored 6 of his 16 goals on the power play.

* Washington defenseman Milan Jurcina, who averages just 16:33 of ice time, leads the team with 94 blocked shots. Jurcina, who has represented Slovakia in two World Championships and the 2006 Winter Olympics, is a plus-7 at home. 

* Nashville's Ryan Suter, who leads Predators defensemen with 26 assists, had two assists last Tuesday in his last game against the Red Wings in the Predators' 5-3 loss. Suter, who leads the team in ice time per game at 23:54, has 4 assists in two Wednesday games.

* Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall, who is tied for the team lead with 80 blocked shots, has 8 assists in his last eight games. Kronwall is one point shy of tying his career-high of 35. He set that mark last season while averaging 21:06; he's averaging 23:20 this season.

 
* Los Angeles, which is 11-6-9 in one-goal games, has a League-high eight home overtime/shootout losses. The Kings, who are 15-15-3 when outshooting their opponent, are 9-7-3 when being outshot.

* Kings left wing Alexander Frolov, who leads the team with 23 goals, has 7 assists and 9 points in his last six games. Frolov has a minus-9 rating in 39 career games against the Ducks, but had the game-winning goal and an assist in the clubs' last meeting.

* Anaheim right wing Bobby Ryan, who leads the team with 0.48 goals per game, has 6 goals and 8 points in seven career games against the Kings, including a hat trick Jan. 8 in the teams' last game. Ryan is tied for the third on the team with a plus-7 rating, but is a minus-5 in his last eight games.

* Ducks center Ryan Getzlaf, who leads the team in scoring by 14 points, has 12 assists and 16 points in 12 Wednesday games. Getzlaf is third on the team with 18 goals, has just 1 goal in his last 12 games. 

Contact Adam Schwartz at aschwartz@nhl.com.
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