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Avery's return to New York highlight of the night

by Adam Schwartz
After an eventful weekend in the NHL, Monday features just 4 games, but it should be a noteworthy evening when Sean Avery returns to Madison Square Garden as a member of the Dallas Stars to face the Rangers.

In addition to the Stars-Rangers game, the Pittsburgh Penguins take on the Boston Bruins, the Florida Panthers visit the Montreal Canadiens (7:30 p.m. ET, VERSUS) and the Los Angeles Kings host the Colorado Avalanche.

Here's what to keep an eye out for:

* Penguins right wing Miroslav Satan had just 1 goal in his first 3 games with the Penguins this season, but has 2 goals and 3 points in his last 2 games.

* Pittsburgh defenseman Mark Eaton, whose favorite road city is Vancouver, is tied for the team lead with a plus-3 rating. Eaton, who has played more than 17 minutes in a game twice this season, has a plus-17 rating since the 2003-04 season.

* Boston center Marc Savard, who led the Eastern Conference with 63 assists last season, is tied for the League lead with a 2.25 points-per-game average this season. Savard, who had 15 goals last season, has 5 goals in just 4 games this season.

* The Bruins, who have scored the fifth-most goals per game in the League with an average of 3.75, have 5 players with at least 4 points. Boston, which has just 1 regulation loss in its 4 games this season, has allowed the most goals per game in the Northeast Division with an average of 3.25.

* Dallas left wing Joel Lundqvist, who has not played more than 13 minutes in a game this season, leads the team with 17 hits. Lundqvist, twin brother of Rangers goalie Henrik, was fourth on the team with 88 hits in 55 games last season.

* Stars center Mike Ribeiro, who led the team with 83 points last season, has 4 assists this season but a minus-6 rating. Ribeiro, who lists Aaron Downey as the funniest teammate he's ever had, has played at least 20 minutes in 3 of 5 games this season.

* Rangers left wing Aaron Voros, who had 7 goals and 14 points in 55 games with the Minnesota Wild last season, is tied for fourth in the League with 5 goals and is tied for third in the NHL with 9 points through just 8 games this season. He's played so well despite not playing more than 17 minutes in any game this season.

* The Panthers' Tomas Vokoun, who is one of just a few goalies who catch right-handed, recorded his first shutout of the season, the 26th of his career, against the Islanders last Saturday in Florida's 2-0 victory. Vokoun, who faced 2,213 shots last season, the most in the League, hasn't faced more than 33 shots in a game this season.

* Canadiens captain Saku Koivu, annually among the League's best in the faceoff circle, has the eighth-best faceoff winning percentage this season at 60.7. Koivu, who was fifth on the team with 56 points last season, is tied for the team lead with 8 points this season.

* Habs defenseman Andrei Markov, who had a plus-1 rating last season, has a plus-7 rating in 5 games this season. Markov, who leads NHL defensemen with 8 points, has 2 assists in each of his last 3 games.

* Colorado left wing Ryan Smyth, who pays the physical price to score goals in front of the net, has 21 goals and 44 points in 44 career games against the Kings. Smyth, who played just 55 games last season, has 4 points in 5 games this season.

* The Avalanche, who are in fourth place in the Northwest Division with 4 points, are tied for the division lead with 20 goals scored. Colorado, which has won its last two games, has yielded at least 4 goals in 3 of 5 games this season.

* Kings right wing Dustin Brown, who led the League with 311 hits last season, leads Los Angeles with 11 shots on goal this season. Brown, who is averaging a point per game, also has a minus-3 rating in 4 games this season.

* Los Angeles center Michal Handzus, who had 7 goals and 21 points and a minus-21 rating last season, has 2 goals, 4 points and a plus-3 rating through 4 games this season. Handzus, whose favorite superhero is Superman, has scored at least 40 points in 5 different seasons.      

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