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Daily Primer Oct. 15: Sharks, Blues vie for perfection

Tuesday, 10.15.2013 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

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Daily Primer Oct. 15: Sharks, Blues vie for perfection
Tuesday, October 15 features 12 NHL games, headlined by the San Jose Sharks and St. Louis Blues squaring off in a battle of undefeated teams.

Two of the NHL's three undefeated teams face off in a nationally-televised matchup that could be an early preview of the Western Conference Final.

The San Jose Sharks (5-0-0) set a franchise record with 24 goals through five games and have at least 47 shots on goal three times (twice at least 50). They begin a stretch of seven of eight games on the road against the St. Louis Blues (4-0-0), a team that's outscored opponents 19-7.

San Jose and St. Louis are first and second in the League with 4.80 and 4.75 goals per game, respectively, and the host Blues are after their seventh win in eight games against their Western Conference rivals.

Here's a look at Tuesday's action:

Minnesota Wild at Toronto Maple Leafs -- Minnesota is chasing its second win in as many nights after edging the Buffalo Sabres in a 2-1 victory at First Niagara Center on Monday. Wild forward Jason Pominville scored the game-winning goal late in the second period. He now has scored against all 30 NHL teams in his career. Toronto sits atop the Atlantic Division with five wins in its first six games. Joffrey Lupul leads the way for the Maple Leafs with eight points (five goals, three assists).

Buffalo Sabres at New York Islanders -- Buffalo is still searching for its first victory of the season after Monday’s loss on home ice to Minnesota. The Sabres have scored seven goals over the course of their seven-game skid (0-6-1). New York is hoping to rebound after a winless weekend in Chicago and Nashville, where they dropped two 3-2 decisions.

Vancouver Canucks at Philadelphia Flyers -- The Canucks and Flyers meet for the first time since Oct. 12, 2011, a 5-4 Flyers win at Wells Fargo Center. The Canucks start a seven-game road trip looking to snap a two-game losing streak that's seen them outscored 8-1 against a Flyers team off to a 1-5-0 start and adjusting to new coach Craig Berube. The Flyers have committed a League-high 39 minor penalties and gave the Detroit Red Wings five power plays en route to the Wings scoring three times with the man advantage in a 5-2 win Saturday.

Edmonton Oilers at Pittsburgh Penguins -- Edmonton's struggles in its own end continued Monday in a 4-2 loss to the Washington Capitals at Verizon Center. With little time to prepare, the Oilers now must head to Pittsburgh and try to contain Penguins captain Sidney Crosby, who has nine points (five goals, four assists) through five games.

Chicago Blackhawks at Carolina Hurricanes -- The Hurricanes defeated the Blackhawks 3-0 the last time the teams met, Oct. 28, 2011. A little less than two calendar years later, Carolina plays host to the defending Stanley Cup champions, who are coming off a 5-3 home loss to the Phoenix Coyotes. Hurricanes coach Kirk Muller evaluated new line combinations that had Tuomo Ruutu moved to the first line with Eric Staal and Alexander Semin. The Blackhawks, three points behind the undefeated Colorado Avalanche in the Central Division, are led by Patrick Kane, who has four goals and an assist in five games.

Los Angeles Kings at Tampa Bay Lightning -- The Los Angeles Kings and Tampa Bay Lightning meet for the first time since Feb. 7, 2012, a 3-1 win by the Kings. Lightning coach Jon Cooper is looking for improvement in the penalty kill; the team gave up three power-play goals to the Pittsburgh Penguins in a 5-4 loss Saturday and has allowed seven goals in 22 times short-handed. That poses a matchup problem against a Kings power play that ranks ninth in the League (25 percent). Goalie Ben Scrivens earned a shutout Sunday against the Florida Panthers in his first start of the season, but  likely will give way to starter Jonathan Quick, a winner of two straight who allowed only four goals on 53 shots in wins against the Ottawa Senators and Hurricanes.

Columbus Blue Jackets at Detroit Red Wings -- The Red Wings play the second of back-to-back games after defeating the Boston Bruins 3-2 on Monday at TD Garden and likely will rest starting goalie Jimmy Howard (bruised hand) in favor of Jonas Gustavsson, who stopped 28 shots in the win against the Bruins. The Blue Jackets are 2-2-0, with both victories coming on the road.

San Jose Sharks at St. Louis Blues -- It's a matchup of undefeated teams who play one another for the first time this season. The Blues are 4-0-0 for the first time in franchise history, have yet to trail in a game and feature a first line of Alexander Steen, David Backes and T.J. Oshie that combined for nine points in a win Saturday against the New York Rangers and has 18 points with a total plus-14 rating in four games. The Sharks begin their road trip led by dynamic rookie Tomas Hertl, whose seven goals lead all rookies. Hertl's eight points are tied for second in the League and he was named the NHL's First Star for the week ending Oct. 13.

Florida Panthers at Nashville PredatorsThe Panthers will aim to bounce back from a 3-0 loss to the Los Angeles Kings at BB&T Center on Sunday, which saw Kings backup goalie Ben Scrivens stop all 20 shots he faced. Nashville is playing the fourth of a five-game homestand Tuesday. The Predators earned a 3-2 victory against the Islanders on Saturday.

Montreal Canadiens at Winnipeg Jets -- The Canadiens won all three games against the Jets last season and will face them twice in 2013-14. Montreal plays the last of a four-game Western swing before coming home for five and has an opportunity to end the road trip at 3-1 with a win. Winnipeg earned a much-needed 3-0 win against the New Jersey Devils on Sunday. Evander Kane, moved to the top line, scored twice and backup goalie Al Montoya stopped all 24 Devils shots.

Dallas Stars at Colorado Avalanche --The Stars look to rebound from a 5-1 loss to the Minnesota Wild on Saturday during which they gave up a goal 12 seconds into the game. They face a major challenge in the Avalanche (5-0-0), one of three unbeaten teams and close to matching the franchise-best 7-0-0 start set by the 1985-86 Quebec Nordiques. Colorado's goalie tandem of Semyon Varlamov and Jean-Sebastien Giguere have combined to allow just four goals on 171 shots, with Varlamov improving to 4-0-0 with a 1.00 goals-against average in a 5-1 win against the Washington Capitals on Saturday. The Stars likely will start Dan Ellis in goal after starter Kari Lehtonen was placed on injured reserve Monday with a lower-body injury. Ellis has a 2.76 GAA in a personal four-game winning streak against Colorado.

Ottawa Senators at Phoenix Coyotes -- The Senators and Coyotes meet for the first time this season with the Senators coming to an end of a season-opening six-game road trip. Considered a Stanley Cup contender, Ottawa has won one of its first five games (1-2-2), but a win against Phoenix would allow the Sens to earn six of a possible 12 points. The Senators have been struggling defensively, allowing a franchise-record 56 shots in a 4-1 loss Sunday against the Anaheim Ducks. The Coyotes are back home for the first time since their season-opening win against the Rangers and are after their fourth straight win.

Quote of the Day

I might have blacked out. I was pretty pumped.

— New Jersey Devils rookie goalie Keith Kinkaid on his first NHL win Friday against the Tampa Bay Lightning
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