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Daily Primer Dec. 23: 28 teams take the ice

Monday, 12.23.2013 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

NHL.com

It's the final day before the Christmas break, and 28 of the NHL's 30 teams will be in action.

Fourteen games are on the schedule, perhaps none bigger than the matchup between the Anaheim Ducks and Washington Capitals at Verizon Center (7 p.m. ET, PRIME, CSN-DC). Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau returns to Washington for the first time since being fired by the Capitals in November of 2011.

Boudreau's Ducks have won eight in a row, a franchise record.

Here's a closer look at all the action Monday:

Phoenix Coyotes at Buffalo Sabres -- Phoenix concludes its four-game road trip at First Niagara Center, hoping to make it two in a row after snapping a three-game losing streak with a 4-3 overtime win against the Ottawa Senators on Saturday. The Sabres missed a chance to win three in a row for the first time this season when they lost 4-1 to the Boston Bruins on Saturday in the back end of a home-and-home series.

Toronto Maple Leafs at New York Rangers -- The Maple Leafs have dropped three of their past four games, though they did earn a point in a 5-4 shootout loss to the Detroit Red Wings at Air Canada Centre on Saturday. Toronto finished 1-1-1 on its three-game homestand and makes a quick trip to Madison Square Garden before the holiday break. New York got back on track Sunday when it earned a 4-1 win against the Minnesota Wild. The Rangers are 2-4-2 as they conclude their franchise-record nine-game homestand.

Anaheim Ducks at Washington Capitals -- Boudreau returns to Verizon Center for the first time since being fired by the Capitals two years ago. Boudreau compiled a regular-season record of 201-88-40 during parts of five seasons, leading the Capitals to four Southeast Division titles. Anaheim has won eight consecutive games, a franchise record, after battling back from a 3-1 deficit to beat the New York Islanders 5-3 on Saturday. Washington blew a pair of two-goal leads Saturday in a 5-4 overtime loss to the New Jersey Devils.

Columbus Blue Jackets at Carolina Hurricanes -- Columbus aims to make it two in a row after beating the Philadelphia Flyers 6-3 on Saturday. The Blue Jackets will have to do it without Marian Gaborik, who returned after a 17-game absence only to break his collarbone in the first period. Carolina has dropped back-to-back games after a 3-2 overtime loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday.

Pittsburgh Penguins at Ottawa Senators -- Despite multiple injuries on their blue line, the Penguins, led by Sidney Crosby (10-game point streak), will be seeking their eighth straight win. Pittsburgh scored twice in each of the first two periods to beat the Calgary Flames 4-3 on Saturday to extend the streak since they last trailed on home ice to 377 minutes, 19 seconds dating to Nov. 27. Ottawa has lost three in a row, including a 4-3 overtime loss to the Coyotes on Saturday, and has allowed 13 goals during the skid.

New York Islanders at Detroit Red Wings -- The Islanders were 20 minutes away from what would have been a second straight win in regulation. Instead, they let a 3-1 lead slip away in a 5-3 loss to the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday. The Islanders have lost 10 games in which they've led in the third period and six (all at home) in which they've led by two goals. Two of the six have come in the past three games. Detroit will be going for its third win a row; the Red Wings won 5-4 in a shootout at Toronto on Saturday in a tune-up for the Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic on Jan. 1.

Tampa Bay Lightning at Florida Panthers -- The Lightning are coming off a 3-2 overtime victory against the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday that improved their record to 10-6-3 since Steven Stamkos sustained a broken right tibia on Nov. 11. Florida has won its past three games at BB&T Center and hopes to take advantage of a five-game homestand that opens Monday. Goalie Scott Clemmensen has won four straight starts and boasts a 1.50 goals-against average in that span.

Minnesota Wild at Philadelphia Flyers -- Minnesota will try to salvage the finale of its three-game road trip after losses against the Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Rangers. Jason Pominville gave the Wild an early 1-0 lead Sunday before the Rangers responded with four unanswered goals. The Flyers host Minnesota before opening a six-game road trip against the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday. Philadelphia is coming off a home-and-home series split with the Columbus Blue Jackets.

New Jersey Devils at Chicago Blackhawks -- The Devils are 3-0-1 in their past four games and have moved into third place in the Metropolitan Division. New Jersey scored three goals in the third period en route to a 5-4 overtime win against the Washington Capitals on Saturday. The Blackhawks are also playing well; they are 5-1-1 in their past seven and have a four-point lead on the St. Louis Blues in the Central Division. Patrick Kane will be aiming to extend his point streak to 12 games.

Boston Bruins at Nashville Predators -- The Bruins are coming off a split of a home-and-home series with the Sabres. Boston avenged a 4-2 loss in Buffalo on Thursday by cruising to a 4-1 victory Saturday. David Krejci had a goal and an assist in the win. Nashville will be aiming to put an end to its three-game skid. The Predators' woes continued with a 4-3 overtime loss to the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday.

St. Louis Blues at Calgary Flames -- St. Louis completes a quick trip to Alberta after blowing out the Edmonton Oilers in a 6-0 win Saturday at Rexall Place. After opening the season with no goals in 10 games, Blues forward Chris Stewart has eight goals in the past six. Calgary is opening a five-game homestand. The Flames are winless in their past four games (0-2-2).

Winnipeg Jets at Edmonton Oilers -- The Jets get right back at it after suffering a 2-1 loss to the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena on Sunday. Evander Kane scored the lone goal for the Jets, who converted on their only power play of the night. Edmonton has lost six in a row, all in regulation. The Oilers were blown out in a 6-0 loss to the St. Louis Blues on Saturday.

Dallas Stars at Los Angeles Kings -- Dallas is coming off a 3-2 shootout loss to the San Jose Sharks on Saturday, but the Stars have earned points in three straight games. Dallas built a 2-0 lead before Jason Demers scored midway through the second period and Joe Pavelski tied it early in the third. Los Angeles will conclude a four-game homestand Monday. The Kings won their third straight Saturday with a 3-2 shootout victory against the Colorado Avalanche. Rookie goalie Martin Jones is 8-0-0 with a 0.98 GAA and .966 save percentage.

Colorado Avalanche at San Jose Sharks -- Colorado will attempt to stop a 10-game regular-season losing streak at San Jose that has seen the Avalanche outscored 31-13. The Sharks bounced back from a 4-1 loss to the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday by rallying for a 3-2 shootout win against the Dallas Stars at SAP Center on Saturday.

Quote of the Day

What we expected is what we got. Very mature young individual that's focused. He is on the right track. He's not only a great hockey individual, but he's a good person off the ice. He seemed to take a leadership role with this group right off the hop and ran away with it, and was vocal, was respectful, was everything it takes to be a Panther. His future looks bright.

— Florida Panthers director of player development Brian Skrudland on defenseman Aaron Ekblad's performance at development camp