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Weekly Primer

Hockey Hall of Fame induction, Ovechkin vs. Laine highlight week ahead

Rangers, Islanders renewing rivalry among 5 things to watch

by Jon Lane @JonLaneNHL / Staff Writer

The 2018 Hockey Hall of Fame induction ceremony and Alex Ovechkin and Patrik Laine going head to head for the first time this season are among the highlights of the week ahead in the NHL.

Here's a look at 5 things to watch:


1. Hockey Hall of Fame Class of 2018

Martin Brodeur, Jayna Hefford, Martin St. Louis and Alexander Yakushev will be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto on Monday. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and Willie O'Ree, the first black player in the NHL, will enter in the Builders category. Joe Bowen, the longtime radio voice of the Toronto Maple Leafs, will receive the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award for outstanding contributions as a hockey broadcaster, and Larry Brooks of the New York Post will receive the Elmer Ferguson Award for excellence in hockey journalism.


2. Ovechkin vs. Laine

Alex Ovechkin and Patrik Laine, the top two goal scorers in 2017-18, go head to head for the first time this season when the Washington Capitals play the Winnipeg Jets at Bell MTS Place on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; SN, TVAS, NBCSWA+, NHL.TV).

Ovechkin (94) and Laine (88) rank first and second in goals since the latter entered the NHL in 2016-17. The Capitals captain has six points (four goals, two assists) in four games against Laine and the Jets. Laine, 20, has scored one goal in the four games.


3. Walk with Elias

Elias Pettersson will celebrate his 20th birthday by making his debut on Broadway when the Vancouver Canucks play the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Monday (7 p.m. ET; MSG, SNP, NHL.TV).

The center was named the Rookie of the Month for October after getting 10 points (seven goals, three assists) in eight games. He's been a sparkplug for the Canucks, who started November with the most points in their division (16) for the sixth time in their history (1979-80, 1991-92, 1999-00, 2003-04 and 2005-06).

Pettersson leads all NHL rookies in scoring with 17 points (10 goals, seven assists). He'll look to further build his case for the Calder Trophy when the Canucks continue a six-game road trip at the New York Islanders on Tuesday and the Minnesota Wild on Thursday before returning to Rogers Arena to play the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday.

Video: VAN@DET: Pettersson beats Howard over the glove


4. New York, New York

The Islanders and Rangers face off for the first time this season at Barclays Center on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; MSG+ 2, MSG, NHL.TV).

Though the Rangers lead the all-time series 125-110-8 (19 ties) since the Islanders entered the NHL in 1972, the Islanders were 4-0-0 against their New York metropolitan area rivals last season. Islanders center Mathew Barzal had 10 points (three goals, seven assists) in the four games, including five points (two goals, three assists) in a 7-2 win at Madison Square Garden on Jan. 13.

Video: NYI@FLA: Barzal finishes breakaway on his backhand


5. Milestone watch

* Sharks forward Joe Thornton, who returned Oct. 30 after missing nine games with an infection in his surgically repaired right knee, is one goal from 400 in the NHL and two assists from passing Mario Lemieux (1,033) for 11th place on the all-time list. The Sharks continue a six-game homestand against the Nashville Predators on Tuesday (10:30 p.m. ET; SN1, SNE, SNP, NBCSCA, FS-TN, NHL.TV), the Maple Leafs on Thursday and the St. Louis Blues on Saturday.

Thornton would become the 11th player in NHL history with at least 400 goals and 1,000 assists. Every player to achieve the feat is in the Hockey Hall of Fame except for Jaromir Jagr, who's not yet eligible.

* Patrice Bergeron needs two goals for 300 in the NHL with the Boston Bruins, who visit the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday (10 p.m. ET; ALT, NESN, NHL.TV), the Dallas Stars on Friday and the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday.

* Anze Kopitar is six goals from 300 in the NHL with the Los Angeles Kings, who are home against the Maple Leafs on Tuesday (10:30 p.m. ET; FS-W, SNO, NHL.TV) and at the Blackhawks on Friday and Predators on Saturday.

* Cam Fowler is four goals from passing Scott Niedermayer (60) to become the Anaheim Ducks' all-time goal scoring leader among defensemen. The Ducks play four games this week: against the Nashville Predators at Honda Center on Monday (10 p.m. ET; SN, FS-W, FS-TN, NHL.TV), at the Vegas Golden Knights on Wednesday, and back home against the Maple Leafs on Friday and Colorado Avalanche on Sunday.

* Defenseman Dion Phaneuf is expected to play his 1,000th NHL regular-season game when the Los Angeles Kings visit the Predators at Bridgestone Arena on Saturday (8 p.m. ET; FS-TN, FS-W, NHL.TV).

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