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Devils face Flyers in Atlantic Division battle

Monday, 03.23.2009 / 3:00 PM / Game-Day Skate

By Adam Schwartz - NHL.com Staff Writer

While the Devils have won five of their last seven games, they are surprisingly cold on the road, having dropped five of their last eight games away from home. Tonight is a perfect chance to reverse the trend in Philadelphia (7 p.m. ET, VERSUS, TSN) where the Flyers are trying to extend their two-point lead over the fifth-place Penguins in the Eastern Conference.

The Eastern Conference’s other Monday night game sees the Hurricanes going for their fourth-straight win to leapfrog the Penguins. The Hurricanes meet the struggling Panthers, who have lost five of their last six, but remain just one point out of the final playoff spot in the East.  

The lone Western Conference game Monday night features the Red Wings looking to regain their lead for the Presidents' Trophy when they meet the battered Flames, who are trying to stave off the Canucks, who are just three points behind them for the Northwest Division lead.

Here's what to keep an eye out for:

* New Jersey right wing David Clarkson, who plays alongside Brendan Shanahan and Dainius Zubrus, is just one point shy of 30, but has just one point in his last eight games. Clarkson, who leads the Devils with 129 penalty minutes while averaging just 12:25 of ice time, played 15:40 in New Jersey's 4-1 loss to Boston, which is the most ice time he's seen in a game since November.

* Flyers left wing Scott Hartnell, who is one of five Philadelphia players with 25 goals, has 5 goals and 4 assists in his last seven games, including the game-winning goal Sunday in Philadelphia's 3-1 win against Pittsburgh. Hartnell, who has scored at least 8 goals in each period this season, is one of just three Flyers to have played in all 71 games this season. 

* Carolina defenseman Joe Corvo, who leads Hurricanes defensemen with 34 points, is just one goal shy of scoring a career-high 15. Corvo, who averages the second-most ice time on the team at 24:22, has 10 assists and 12 points in 17 career games against the Panthers, but has a minus-9 rating in five games against the Panthers this season.

* The Hurricanes, who have won their last eight home games and have lost their last three road games, lead the Southeast Division with the most blocked shots at home with 557. Carolina, which has the fifth-best winning percentage in the League in one-goal games at .588, has an 8-10 record in two-goal games.

* Panthers left wing David Booth, who leads the team with 26 goals, has been held goalless in eight of his last 10 games. Booth, who is third on the team with a plus-9 rating, has 3 goals and 6 points in five games against the Hurricanes this season.

* Florida center Gregory Campbell, who was recently moved off the CPR line with Ville Peltonen and Radek Dvorak, leads the team with 174 hits. Campbell, who averages 17:02 of ice time this season after averaging 12:26 last season, hasn't scored in his last 18 games.

* Red Wings center Pavel Datsyuk, who leads the Western Conference with a plus-32 rating, has 7 assists and 11 points in his last seven games. Datsyuk, who leads the Central Division and is tied for fourth in the League with 88 points, has 17 assists and 23 points in 25 career games against the Flames, including three assists in their last meeting.

* Detroit defenseman Brian Rafalski, who leads Western Conference defensemen and is third among NHL defensemen with 54 points, has just 3 points in his last 11 games. Rafalski, who has won three Stanley Cups in his previous eight seasons in the League, is just one point short of tying his career-high of 55.

* Flames center Olli Jokinen, who holds the NHL record for most games played without a playoff appearance at 788, has 8 goals and 12 points in eight games since being traded to Calgary from Phoenix at the trade deadline. Jokinen, who has 70 points in each of his three previous seasons, is just 1 goal shy of recording his fifth 30-goal season.

* Calgary defenseman Dion Phaneuf, who has 10 more points than any other Flames defenseman, has been held pointless in seven of his last nine games. Phaneuf, who had a plus-12 rating last season and has a minus-11 rating this season, leads the Northwest Division and is fifth in the League with an average ice time of 26:34.

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

Just the feel for the direction they were headed and what they're trying to do, it just felt that this is a really good thing for this organization. They've got the pieces. We can put something together and go on a run or two and be together for a while, and I'm really excited about that opportunity. The team we have here has an opportunity to win, and that's the most attractive thing.

— Washington defenseman Matt Niskanen on why he decided to sign with the Capitals