The Vancouver Canucks
have won four straight and seven of their last nine to climb into a tie for fourth place in the Western Conference and within three points of the Northwest Division lead. They'll look to continue that roll Saturday night in Phoenix (10 p.m., NHLN-US, CBC) in the second game of a Hockey Night in Canada doubleheader.
Also in action are four of the teams fighting for the final three Eastern Conference playoff spots. The Hurricanes, winners of two straight to move up to sixth, host the Capitals (7 p.m. ET, GCL); the Rangers, who have won two in a row to move up to seventh, host the Sabres (7 p.m. ET, GCL); the Canadiens, who have lost four straight to drop to eighth in the East, are in Toronto (7 p.m. ET, NHLN-US, CBC); and the ninth-place Panthers try to climb back into the top eight when they host the Blue Jackets.
Other games Saturday feature the Stars trying to resurrect their own playoff hopes in San Jose; the Islanders in Ottawa; and the Thrashers in Tampa Bay.
Here's what to keep an eye on:
* Montreal center Tomas Plekanec
is one of just two Canadiens with 20 or more goals, but he has just 2 points in his last seven games. Plekanec has 2 assists and 3 points in four games against the Maple Leafs this season.
* Senators right wing Daniel Alfredsson
, who is tied for the team lead with a plus-8 rating, scored the game-winning goal in Ottawa's last two games. Alfredsson, who has been Ottawa's captain since 1999, has 6 goals and 15 points in his last 12 games.
* Rangers center Nik Antropov
, who was acquired from the Maple Leafs for a pair of draft picks at the March 4 trade deadline, has 4 goals and 6 points in seven games with the Rangers. He has goals in each of his last three games, including the game-winning goal Sunday in the Rangers' 4-1 win against the Flyers.
* Washington left wing Alex Semin, who leads the team with a plus-26 rating, is averaging 1.30 points per game -- just .03 behind teammate Alexander Ovechkin. Semin has been held pointless in consecutive games just once.
* The Blue Jackets, who are in sixth place in the Western Conference with 80 points, have won five of their last six games and have scored at least four goals in four of those games.
* Florida center Michael Frolik
, who is tied for the lead among Southeast Division rookies with 36 points, has been held pointless in four of his last five games. Frolik, drafted No. 10 in the 2006 Entry Draft, has been just as good at home as on the road -- he has 9 goals and 18 points in each place.
* Lightning center Vincent Lecavalier
, who had 40 goals in each of the two previous seasons, is just 1 goal shy of his sixth consecutive 30-goal season. He has 25 goals and 52 points in 53 career games against the Thrashers, including 2 assists and 3 points in four games this season.
* The Canucks, who won just two of 12 games in January, are 16-3-1 since then, including their current four-game winning streak. Vancouver is 18-10-4 record when outshooting opponents, and 16-11-5 when being outshot. The Canucks also are one of just three teams without a home shootout win.
* Phoenix center Shane Doan
has 26 more points than any teammate. Doan, who is one of just two players in the League with 60 points and 170 hits, has scored just 11 of his 26 goals at home.
* Maple Leafs defenseman Luke Schenn
, who leads rookie defensemen with 179 hits and is second among rookies with an average ice time of 21:45 per game, has played at least 20 minutes in six of his last eight games. Schenn has a goal and an assist in four games against the Canadiens -- they are one of just two teams Schenn has multiple points against.
Contact Adam Schwartz at email@example.com.