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'08's top draft picks meet again Monday

by Mike G. Morreale
The last time Tampa Bay center Steven Stamkos and Los Angeles defenseman Drew Doughty exchanged pleasantries, they were shaking hands in the media room after being selected first and second, respectively, at the 2008 Entry Draft last June.

On Monday, the rookies will renew acquaintances for the first time since obtaining their new duds in the only meeting of the season between Stamkos and Doughty in California.

The matchup marks the first regular-season meeting between the top two draft picks in that year's draft since 2003 when Pittsburgh's Marc-Andre Fleury, the first pick, faced Carolina's Eric Staal.

Both Stamkos and Doughty have been selected to participate in the 2009 YoungStars Game in Montreal during All-Star Weekend on Jan. 24-25.

Stamkos is 18th among NHL rookies with 14 points, including four goals. He sports a minus-11 rating while averaging 13:08 of ice time and leads all rookies in shots on goal (84). It has been 12 games since Stamkos last logged 15 minutes and has scored just once in his last 17. He ranks 12th among rookies with 51 hits and is tied for fifth with 7 power-play points.

"We're starting to pick up our own game here, and we're starting to get some wins," Stamkos said. "That's the positive. When things are going well, you can't really say anything except to stay positive and keep working hard."

Doughty is third among first-year defensemen with 12 points, including 9 assists. He leads all rookies and the Kings with 23:57 average time on ice and has played at least 20 minutes in 38 of 41 games this season. He also owns a minus-4 rating and is first among rookie defenders with 52 blocked shots and third with 53 hits.

Rivalries rule -- There are 11 games Tuesday, including three big rivalry matchups that shouldn't be missed.


Montreal at Boston -- The Canadiens are 330-258-103-5 lifetime against the Bruins, who are the class of the Eastern Conference right now with 31 wins and 66 points. The Bruins snapped their 12-game winless streak (0-10-0-2) against the Canadiens with a 6-1 victory in Boston on Nov. 13 and currently hold a 2-0-1 lead in this season's series. Montreal is fourth in the Conference with 25 wins and 56 points.


Rangers at Islanders -- The Battle for New York will mark the fourth of six meetings this season. In the season series, the Rangers are 2-1-0 following a 5-4 victory Dec. 29 at Madison Square Garden. Overall, the Blueshirts have faced the Islanders 219 times and have posted a 102-94-19-4 record. The Rangers are 5-1-2 in their last seven meetings, outscoring the Islanders, 27-19, over that stretch.


Pittsburgh at Philadelphia -- The Flyers lead the all-time series against the Penguins at 131-73-32-3, which includes an impressive mark of 89-20-8-2 on home ice.  Simon Gagne has 37 points (18 goals) in 44 career games against the Penguins. The Flyers improved to 1-0-2 against the Pens this season following a 6-3 win  Dec. 13. The club lost in overtime and a shootout at Mellon Arena earlier in the season. The Penguins are 3-0 all-time against the Flyers in shootouts and Sidney Crosby has 39 points (18 goals) in 23 games while Evgeni Malkin has 26 points (11 goals) in 18 games against Philadelphia.

Ovie vs. Sid -- Washington's Alex Ovechkin will pay a visit to Pittsburgh Wednesday to renew acquaintances with Sidney Crosby in the second of four regular-season meetings between the clubs. The Penguins are 86-76-16 overall against the Capitals, including a 51-30-7 record at Mellon Arena. Crosby is second in the League with 55 points and Ovechkin ranks third with 54. Ovie is tied with Philadelphia's Jeff Carter for the League lead in goals with 27 while Crosby stands tied with Boston's Marc Savard with 38 assists.

Western war -- Just four points separate the top two teams in the Western Conference -- the San Jose Sharks (31 wins, 67 points) and the Detroit Red Wings (29 wins, 63 points). The clubs will meet for third time this season on Saturday in San Jose.

The Wings scored a 6-0 victory in the previous meeting on Dec. 18 to even the season series, 1-1-0. The contest will mark the 66th regular season clash between the clubs with the Wings holding a 44-17-4 lead in the all-time series. Detroit defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom has 55 points (11 goals) in 61 career games against San Jose.

Glenn Anderson honored -- A little over two months after being inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, Glenn Anderson will now have his No. 9 retired by the Edmonton Oilers prior to the Oilers game with Wayne Gretzky's Phoenix Coyotes Sunday.

Anderson will become the seventh Oiler to have his number retired by the team, joining Gretzky, Al Hamilton, Jari Kurri, Grant Fuhr, Paul Coffey and Mark Messier with their numbers raised to the rafters of Rexall Place.

Anderson, who was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame on Nov. 10, posted 1,099 points in 1,129 regular season games during a 16-season career. Beginning his NHL career with the Oilers in 1980-81, Anderson scored 498 goals and 601 assists with 1,120 penalty minutes before retiring following the 1995-96 season. He scored 50-or-more goals twice during his career, netting 54 goals as an Oiler in both 1983-84 and 1985-86. He also had three seasons with 100-or-more points.

"Putting Glenn's number up with the other honored players at Rexall Place is absolutely deserving and it's the right thing for our organization to do," said Oilers President of Hockey Operations Kevin Lowe. "Glenn could bring fans out of their seats with his unbelievable goals and they always seemed to be such timely goals, especially in the playoffs. Being inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame is what should happen to a player of his stature and having No. 9 up with the others is also the perfect tribute to one of the greatest Oilers."

In 12 seasons with the Oilers (1980-81 to 1990-91 & 1995-96), Anderson scored 906 points and 417 goals in 845 career games to rank fourth all-time on the Edmonton scoring list.

NHL on NBC -- The New York Rangers will battle the Pittsburgh Penguins Sunday at 12:30 p.m. (ET) in the NBC Game of the Week. Both teams will enter the game looking for a little momentum.

The Rangers are 4-4-2 over their last 10 and are currently fifth in the Eastern Conference with 25 wins and 54 points. It has been almost a month since the Rangers last celebrated back-to-back victories. Goalie Henrik Lundqvist will represent the Eastern Conference in his first NHL All-Star Game in Montreal on Jan. 25. Additionally, center Brandon Dubinsky and defenseman Marc Staal were named to the "sophomore" team for the YoungStars game on Jan. 24.

The Penguins, meanwhile, are a disappointing 2-8-0 over their last 10 games and 10th in the Eastern Conference with 20 wins and 44 points. The last time the Pens earned consecutive wins was in early November when they reeled off six straight from Nov. 1 through Nov. 15.

Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin will represent the Eastern Conference in the All-Star Game. Crosby led all voters for the third consecutive year with 1,713,021 votes, while Malkin finished second with 1,585,936. Both Crosby and Malkin surpassed Jaromir Jagr's all-time record of 1,020,736 votes set in 2000 for one year of NHL All-Star fan balloting. The last time the Penguins had two players in the starting lineup in the same season was Mario Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr in 1995-96.
This will be the second of three January meetings. The Rangers have won all three previous matchups at Madison Square Garden, including two via shootout. Overall, the Rangers hold a 110-89-23-6 record but are just 47-46-14-5 at Mellon Arena. Ranger forwards Scott Gomez (10 goals, 46 points in 53 career games) and Chris Drury (11 goals, 28 points in 30 career games) have had much success against the Pens over the years. Crosby leads all Penguins with 30 points (10 goals) in 25 career games against the Blueshirts while Miroslav Satan has 48 points (28 goals) in 61 contests.

Air time - The NHL Hour With Commissioner Gary Bettman and co-host Bill Clement airs every Thursday from 4-5 p.m. ET throughout the season on NHL Home Ice (XM Channel 204 and Sirius Channel 208).

NHL Hour With Commissioner Gary Bettman provides the latest news and events from the highest levels of the NHL. The show encourages fans to submit questions via phone and email. To submit questions to NHL Hour call 1-877-645-6696 or email The archived shows of The NHL Hour, a production of NHL Radio, are available for download on via a podcast. NHL Hour is a production of NHL Radio.

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