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Flyers-Sabres one of many games with playoff spots on the line

Tuesday, 03.10.2009 / 12:58 PM / Game-Day Skate

By Adam Schwartz - NHL.com Staff Writer

The Flyers look to maintain their hold on fourth place in the Eastern Conference when they face the Sabres (7 p.m. ET VERSUS, TSN2), who are desperately trying to climb back into the top eight in the conference, in one of 11 games in the NHL on Tuesday night.

There could be a major change in the Western Conference tonight. Sixth-place Columbus hosts Boston, but if they lose, No. 7 Edmonton, two points back, is poised to move up. The Oilers visit Montreal (7:30 p.m. ET, RDS) in Bob Gainey's return to coaching. Dallas, currently ninth in the West, also is two points behind the Blue Jackets and has a chance to move up when they visit St. Louis.

The bottom of the West isn't the only thing up for grabs. Detroit and San Jose are tied for the top spot with 94 points; the Red Wings host Phoenix, while the Sharks visit Montreal.

In the East, Pittsburgh has won six straight, but slipped down to eighth in the conference thanks to Carolina's win Monday. If the Pens can extend their win streak to seven, they can jump all the way up to fifth. Standing in their way is the visiting Panthers, who are tied with the Pens with 76 points.

Also tonight, the Islanders are in Toronto, the Thrashers begin a three-game road trip at the Avalanche, the Flames and Devils meet at the Prudential Center in a battle of division leaders, and the Capitals visit Nashville.

Here's what to keep an eye on:

* Calgary left wing Mike Cammalleri, who plays on a line with Jarome Iginla and newly acquired Olli Jokinen, leads the League with 17 power-play goals. Cammalleri, who leads the team with 34 goals, has scored just 11 goals on the road this season.

* Sabres left wing Thomas Vanek, who leads the team with 33 goals, scored his first goal since coming back from missing nine games with a jaw injury Saturday in Buffalo's 6-3 loss to Ottawa. Vanek, who has scored 20 goals on the road, has scored 16 of his goals in the second period.

* Bruins center David Krejci is second among Czech-born NHL players with 61 points, but has just 2 points in his last nine games.

* The Islanders are last in the NHL with 51 points, but they have won four of their last five games and have allowed fewer than three goals in three games during that span. The Islanders, who lead the League with 1,134 blocked shots, are 16-14-5 at home, but just 6-23-2 on the road.

* Montreal defenseman Mathieu Schneider, who played for the last Canadiens team to win the Stanley Cup, in 1993, has 3 goals and 6 points in nine games since being traded back to Montreal in February. Schneider averages 21:14 of ice time per game, but only played 17:24 Sunday in the Habs' 3-1 win against the Stars.

* The Panthers have allowed the fewest goals in the Southeast Division with 179. They have been outshot in 46 of 66 games, but are 22-19-5 in those games; they're 11-5-3 when outshooting their opponent. Florida is 15-3-8 in one-goal games, and 24-1-1 when entering the third period with the lead.

* Detroit left wing Henrik Zetterberg has just 2 points and a minus-7 rating in his last five games. Zetterberg, who has had at least 80 points in two of the previous three seasons, is on pace to finish this season with 73 points.

* Predators center Jason Arnott, who has 6 goals and 10 points in his last six games, has 12 20-goal seasons, but just two 30-goal campaigns. He enters Tuesday's game just three goals shy of his third 30-goal season. Arnott has 9 goals and 19 points in 23 career games against the Capitals, including a two-goal game earlier this season.

* San Jose center Patrick Marleau has scored 9 more goals than any teammate, but has just 1 goal in his last eight games. Marleau has a minus-13 in 31 career games against the Wild, including a minus-3 rating in three games this season.

* Thrashers left wing Ilya Kovalchuk, who has four straight 40-goal seasons, is just four goals shy of making it five in a row. Kovalchuk, who has 6 goals and 13 points in his last six games, has 16 goals and 27 points in 18 games since the All-Star break.

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

It's pretty crazy, but believe me when I say we didn't draft these players with the mindset we had to because they had good hockey-playing dads. It just turned out that way. But we're certainly glad they're a part of our organization.

— Arizona Coyotes director of amateur scouting Tim Bernhardt regarding the coincidence that six of the organization's top prospects are sons of former NHL players