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Kings go for two big points against host Flyers

Wednesday, 02.25.2009 / 4:00 PM / Game-Day Skate

By Adam Schwartz - NHL.com Staff Writer

The Kings try to stay in the Western Conference playoff picture when they make a rare trip to Philadelphia in one of four games in the NHL Wednesday night.

Three other games feature John Tortorella debuting as Rangers coach when New York faces the Maple Leafs (7:30 p.m. ET, TSN, NHLN-US); the Penguins hosting the Islanders; and the two best teams in the Western Conference meeting when the Sharks take on the Red Wings.

Here's what to keep an eye out for:

* Kings center Anze Kopitar, who leads the team with 31 assists and 50 points, has a team-worst minus-14 rating, including a minus-5 rating in his last three games. Kopitar, who has played the Flyers only three times in his career, has 5 assists and 7 points in four Wednesday games.

* Los Angeles defenseman Jack Johnson, who has been paired with rookie Drew Doughty, has 2 goals in his last five games after scoring just once in his first 13 games since coming back from a shoulder injury that caused him to miss 41 games. Johnson, taken third in the 2005 Entry Draft by the Hurricanes, has a minus-10 rating in his last nine games. 

* Philadelphia, which has five 20-goal scorers, has scored the most goals in the Atlantic Division and the third-most in the Eastern Conference with 190. The Flyers, who have the best home power play in the League at 32.1 percent, have the third-worst road power play in the conference at just 14.3 percent.

* Rangers right wing Nikolai Zherdev, who leads the team with 45 points, has just 2 points and a minus-4 rating in his last eight games. Zherdev, who averages 2:55 of power-play ice time per game, has just 1 goal in six career games against the Maple Leafs.

* Toronto center Dominic Moore, who already has 18 more points this season than he has had in any of his other five previous seasons in the League, leads the team and is fifth in the Northeast Division with a 54.5 faceoff-winning percentage. Moore, who averaged 13:17 of ice time per game last season, is averaging 17:10 of ice time per game this season.

* Islanders center Josh Bailey, who plays on a line with Kyle Okposo and Blake Comeau, leads Atlantic Division rookies with 6 power-play assists. Bailey, who is averaging the sixth-most power-play ice time per game among rookies who have played at least 20 games at 2:57, has 3 assists but a minus-3 rating in three career games against the Penguins.

* Pittsburgh goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, who was pulled Saturday in the Penguins' 5-2 loss to the Capitals, has yielded at least four goals in four of his last five games but has faced more than 30 shots just once during that span. Fleury, who has a 7-4-1 career record against the Islanders, has a 3.38 goals-against average and an .891 save percentage in 10 February games.

* Penguins left wing Matt Cooke, who is second on the team and fourth in the League with 205 hits, is second among Pittsburgh players with 69 penalty minutes. Cooke, who has just 3 points since the All-Star break, has scored 5 of his 8 goals this season in the first period.

* San Jose defenseman Rob Blake, who is paired with Marc-Edouard Vlasic, is second among Sharks defensemen and third among Pacific Division defensemen with 37 points. Blake, 39, has 4 assists and 5 points in his last five games, including two multiple-point games.    

 
* Sharks goalie Evgeni Nabokov, who is second in the League with 32 wins despite missing seven games earlier in the season to a lower-body injury, has helped San Jose earn at least a point in eight of his last nine games and has allowed more than three goals in just two games during that span. Nabokov, who speaks five languages, has only faced 35 or more shots in just three games.

* Detroit defenseman Brian Rafalski, who leads the League's defensemen with 42 assists, has 13 assists and 14 points in his last 10 games. Rafalski, who has 25 home points and 25 road points, is just 5 points shy of his career-high of 55.

* The Red Wings, who have a 10-point lead on the Blackhawks in the Central Division, have the best power play in the League at 27.8 percent. Detroit, which has scored more second- and third-period goals than any other team in the NHL, is tied for the worst penalty kill in the Western Conference at 77.5 percent.

Contact Adam Schwartz at aschwartz@nhl.com.
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