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Penguins hope to stay hot in Tampa Bay

Tuesday, 03.03.2009 / 4:00 PM / Game-Day Skate

By Adam Schwartz - NHL.com Staff Writer

The Penguins, who have jumped into the final Eastern Conference playoff spot, look to extend their three-game winning streak when they face the Lightning (7:30 p.m. ET, VERSUS, TSN) in one of 12 games in the NHL Tuesday night. Sidney Crosby, who has missed the last three games with a groin strain, will be a game-time decision.

Six other early games feature the Flyers traveling to Boston; the Hurricanes renewing their rivalry with the Capitals; the Thrashers hosting the Panthers; the Kings traveling to Columbus; the Devils going for their fourth straight win when they face the Maple Leafs; and the Flames starting a seven-game road trip in Ottawa.

Later, the Oilers try for the 17th road win when they skate in Nashville; the Ducks travel to Chicago; the Red Wings are in St. Louis; the Wild try to avoid their fourth consecutive loss when they play the Canucks; and the Stars face the Sharks.

Here are some quick-hitting facts:

* Philadelphia center Jeff Carter, who is tied for second on the team and in the League with 4 shorthanded goals, has 2 goals -- both game-winners -- and 4 assists in his last five games. Carter, who is three points shy of 200 for his career, had 2 assists in his last game against the Bruins.

* Capitals defenseman Mike Green, who leads the League's defensemen with 56 points, is averaging 25:42 of ice time per game this season after averaging 23:38 last season. Green, who is the first Washington defenseman to score 20 goals since Sergei Gonchar did it in the 2001-02 season, leads Southeast Division defensemen and is sixth among NHL defensemen with a plus-23 rating.

* Florida, which has scored fewer goals than all but one of the current Eastern Conference playoff teams with 174, has allowed the fewest goals in the Southeast Division with 169. The Panthers have outshot their opponent in just 17 of their 63 games, but are 22-18-5 when being outshot.

 
Columbus left wing Rick Nash tied his career-high of 31 assists and is 11 points shy of his career-high of 69. Nash, who is tied for second in the Central Division with 19 even-strength goals, had a goal and an assist in his last game against the Kings.

* New Jersey left wing Zach Parise, who has played with Travis Zajac and Jamie Langenbrunner since Zajac's rookie season, is fourth in the League with 77 points. Parise, who is on pace to become the Devils' first 100-point scorer, has 3 goals and 7 points in his last three games, including two three-point games.

* Flames defenseman Dion Phaneuf, who has scored at least 17 goals in each of his first three NHL seasons, has just 9 goals through 62 games this season but has scored two game-winning goals in his last three games. Phaneuf, who is averaging the most ice time in the Northwest Division at 26:49 per game, has scored just 2 road goals.

* Tampa Bay right wing Mark Recchi, who is second on the team with 32 assists, is second among active NHLers with 1,426 points. Recchi, who had 5 assists Sunday in the Lightning's 8-6 victory against the Flames, is a minus-33 since the start of last season.

* Oilers defenseman Sheldon Souray, who is one of just two defenseman in the League with more than 200 shots, is tied for second among defensemen in the League with 17 goals. Souray, who has scored 11 of his 17 goals on the road this season, has been held without a goal in seven of his last nine games.

* Chicago captain Jonathan Toews, who had 13 goals in 45 games prior to the All-Star break, has 13 goals in 16 games since the All-Star break, including a hat trick last Friday in the Blackhawks' 5-4 overtime loss to the Penguins. Toews, who is one point from tying the 54 points he had as a rookie last season, has 4 assists and 7 points in six career games against the Ducks, including 2 goals and an assist in three games this season.

* The Red Wings, who don't have a player with more than 100 blocked shots, have blocked the fewest shots in the League at 583. Detroit, which has the best power play in the League at 27.4 percent, have won their last four home games and have scored four or more goals in three of the games.

* Vancouver left wing Alexandre Burrows, who is playing on a line with Daniel and Henrik Sedin, has 5 assists and 8 points in his last seven games. Burrows, who had a minus-7 rating in 26 games in December and January, was a plus-8 in 11 February games.

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

The groove of being behind a bench is going to be interesting at first, but thank God we have a few exhibition games to get rid of those cobwebs. Overall the excitement of it all and the freshness and coming back refreshed, all those things are going to be assets. If [the players] come ready to give their best effort in practice and games, good things are going to happen. I'm always looking for results. It's not always on the scoreboard. It's winning and building something.

— Bryan Trottier on making his return to coaching as an assistant with the Sabres