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Blues' Mason returns to Nashville

Tuesday, 11.25.2008 / 4:00 PM / Game-Day Skate

By Adam Schwartz - NHL.com Staff Writer

Blues goalie Chris Mason, who played eight seasons with the Predators, makes his return to Nashville when the Predators host the Blues (7 p.m. ET, VERSUS, RIS) in one of just three games tonight.

In addition to St. Louis-Nashville, the Atlanta Thrashers look to win their first in four games when they face the Toronto Maple Leafs, and the Los Angeles Kings try to climb into the Western Conference playoff picture when they travel to Calgary.

Here's what to keep an eye out for:

* St. Louis right wing Brad Boyes, who leads the team with 10 goals, is tied for a League-worst minus-14 rating. Boyes, who scored both St. Louis goals Saturday in the team's 2-1 win against the Minnesota Wild, had scored just one goal in his nine previous games.

* Blues left wing David Perron, who is averaging just 14:25 of ice time per game, is third on the team with 11 assists. Perron, who is in his second season, has the second-best plus-minus rating on the team at plus-3.

* Nashville captain Jason Arnott, who entered 2008-09 with nine straight 20-goal seasons, leads Predators forwards with 10 goals and is on pace to score 46 -- 13 more than his career-best. Arnott, who was named the fourth captain in franchise history prior to last season, has just three giveaways in 17 games this season.

* The Predators, who have just one player -- Shea Weber -- among the top 40 in the League in hits, have taken the most minor penalties in the Central Division with 117. The Predators, who have a 5-7-1 road record, are an impressive 5-2-0 at the Sommet Center, which is where they play four of their next six games.

* Atlanta left wing Ilya Kovalchuk, who has scored 40 goals in each of his last four seasons, has just 6 goals in 19 games this season, putting him on pace for just 26. Kovalchuk, who has just 1 goal in his last seven games, is averaging more ice time than any Thrashers forward, at 20:54 per game.

* Thrashers defenseman Ron Hainsey, who was signed last summer to a five-year contract, is second among Southeast Division defensemen with 12 points. Hainsey, whose first car was a Mazda Navajo, is averaging a team-high 23:53 of ice time per game.

* Toronto defenseman Tomas Kaberle, who has had at least 50 points in his last three seasons, is tied for the Northeast Division lead among defensemen with 15 points. Kaberle, drafted No. 204 in 1996, has 7 assists in his last six games.

* Maple Leafs defenseman Luke Schenn, whose brother Brayden plays for the Brandon Wheat Kings of the Western Hockey League and is a top prospect for the 2009 Entry Draft, leads the team with 53 hits. Schenn, drafted fifth in last June's draft in Ottawa, has a minus-5 rating in his last five games.

* Los Angeles center Michal Handzus, who had just 7 goals in 82 games last season, has 5 goals in just 19 games this season, including three in his last five games. Handzus, whose favorite actor is Sean Connery, is one of three Kings centers with a faceoff-winning percentage above 52.5 percent.

* Kings center Anze Kopitar, who has four assists more than any other King, has nine of his 12 assists at the Staples Center. Kopitar, whose favorite road city is Edmonton, has 6 goals and 11 points, but a minus-7 rating in 9 career games against the Flames.

* Calgary defenseman Mark Giordano, who had 8 assists in 48 games in the 2006-07 season, has 8 assists in 21 games this season. Giordano, who has 3 assists and 4 points in his last five games, played in Russia last season.

* Flames goalie Miikka Kiprusoff, who has a 10-5-1 career record against the Kings, has allowed three or more goals in six of his last eight games. Kiprusoff, who is tied for second in the League with two shutouts, has faced more than 30 shots in just one of his last four games.

Contact Adam Schwartz at [email protected].


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