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Sundin's Toronto return highlights doubleheader

Saturday, 02.21.2009 / 3:00 PM / Game-Day Skate

By Adam Schwartz - NHL.com Staff Writer

After five matinees Saturday afternoon, the hockey world's attention will shift to Toronto, where Mats Sundin makes his return with the Canucks (7 p.m. ET CBC, NHLN-US) after playing 13 seasons with the Maple Leafs. After Toronto fans are reminded of the past, the Oilers and Flames convene for the latest edition of the Battle of Alberta (10 p.m. ET, CBC, NHLN-US).

The six other games include the Sabres hosting the Rangers in an Empire State showdown; the Devils looking for their sixth win in seven games when they play the Islanders; the Bruins visiting the resurgent Panthers; Anaheim battling Columbus for a Western Conference playoff position; Detroit playing Minnesota in their second game in two nights (8 p.m. ET, RDS); and the Blues facing the Predators in a Central Division matchup.

Here's what to keep an eye on:

* Buffalo right wing Ales Kotalik, whose favorite movie is Pulp Fiction, has scored 7 of his 12 goals this season on the power play. Kotalik, who has 7 goals and 14 points in 19 career games against the Rangers, has 7 points in 12 games since the All-Star Game.

* Canucks center Mats Sundin, who had just 3 points in his first nine games with Vancouver, has 4 goals and 9 points in his last eight games. Sundin, the captain of the Maple Leafs from 1997-2008, hasn't played as a visitor in Toronto since the 1993-94 season, when he was with the Quebec Nordiques.

* New Jersey defenseman Colin White, who usually is paired with Mike Mottau, is one of four Devils with at least 92 hits. White, who averages 19:12 of ice time, has played at least 20 minutes in four of his last five games, including a season-high 25:13 Thursday in the Devils' 3-2 shootout win against the Lightning.

* Bruins center Phil Kessel, who leads the team with 24 goals, has no goals and 3 assists in 10 games since returning from a six-game absence due to mononucleosis. Kessel, who generally plays on a line with Marc Savard and Milan Lucic, has 8 goals and 14 points in 17 Saturday games.

* Florida goalie Tomas Vokoun has won four of his last six games, with two shutouts during that span. Vokoun is one win shy of his sixth consecutive 20-win season.

* Columbus center Jason Williams, who had 7 goals and 18 points in 41 games with the Thrashers before being traded to the Blue Jackets in January, has 5 goals and 10 points in 16 games with Columbus. Williams, who has played for four teams in the last three seasons, is averaging 3:05 of power-play ice time per game but has just 8 power-play points.

* The Wild entered the weekend having yielded 131 goals, the fewest in the conference. Minnesota is 14-3-0 record when leading after the first period, but 2-9-3 when trailing after 20 minutes.

* Nashville right wing J.P. Dumont, who leads the team with 30 assists, has been held pointless in five of his last six games. Dumont, who has scored at least 20 goals in six of his last seven seasons, has just 11 in 59 games and is on pace to finish this season with just 15.

* Blues right wing Brad Boyes, who has 15 more points than any teammate, is a team-worst minus-18. He has 8 goals and 12 points in 15 career games against Nashville, including 2 goals and 4 assists in five games against the Predators this season.

* Edmonton center Shawn Horcoff, who usually plays on a line with Ales Hemsky and Dustin Penner, leads the team with a plus-9 rating. Horcoff, who has taken 565 more faceoffs than any of his teammates, has 3 goals and 6 points in his last five games.  

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

With this being the last year [at the Coliseum], we'd love to try to get back to the dance like we did against Pittsburgh and prove ourselves and go even further. It's an important year.

— New York Islanders coach Jack Capuano