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Biron, Flyers shuffle into Buffalo

by Adam Schwartz /
Goalie Martin Biron was a fan favorite during his nine seasons in Buffalo, but he'll return tonight as the enemy when his Philadelphia Flyers face the Sabres at 7:30 p.m. ET in one of six games in the NHL Friday night.

A half-hour prior to the Buffalo-Philadelphia game, the Northeast Division-leading Boston Bruins host the Florida Panthers, the New York Islanders renew their rivalry with the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center, and the Phoenix Coyotes look to end their three-game losing skid when they play the Carolina Hurricanes.

Later, the Nashville Predators try to climb up the Central Division standings against the Tampa Bay Lightning (7:30 p.m. ET, RIS), and the St. Louis Blues play the Anaheim Ducks in their final game at the Scottrade Center before starting a three-game road trip.

Here's what to watch:

* Panthers center Stephen Weiss, who has 9 points in 14 games, is on pace for a 50-point season. His career best is 48 points, in 2006-07.

* Boston, which has seven players with at least 10 points, has the best winning percentage in the Eastern Conference at .737. The Bruins, who finished in the eighth and final playoff spot last season, have allowed the fewest goals in the conference with 45.

* Islanders defenseman Mark Streit, who was regarded as a power-play specialist, is averaging the most ice time on the team at 25:53 per game. Streit, signed as a free agent this summer, has six power-play points and four even-strength points.

* New Jersey left wing Patrik Elias has 4 goals and 6 points in his last three games. Elias, who had 20 goals in 74 games last season, is on pace to score 36 this season.

* Coyotes center Shane Doan, who tried to fashion his game after Bruins legend Cam Neely, is the only player in the League with at least 60 hits and at least 18 points. Doan, who has five multiple-point games this season, played his 900th NHL game Tuesday in Phoenix's 3-2 shootout loss to the Chicago Blackhawks.

* Carolina center Rod Brind'Amour, who has not been a minus player in his last four seasons, has the worst plus-minus rating in the Eastern Conference at minus-13. Brind'Amour, who has the second-best faceoff-winning percentage in the League at 62.3 percent, leads the team with eight power-play points.

* Flyers left wing Simon Gagne is tied for fourth in the League with 11 goals. Gagne, who leads the team with a 27.5 shooting percentage, has 3 goals and 8 points during his current five-game point streak.

* Buffalo right wing Jason Pominville has two three-point games this season, most recently Wednesday in the Sabres' 7-4 loss to the Boston Bruins at TD Banknorth Garden. Pominville, who has seven of his 16 points this season in his last five games, has 8 goals and 15 points in 11 career games against the Flyers.

* The Predators, who are one of just three teams in the League to have multiple defensemen with at least 10 assists, have the second-worst power play in the Central Division at 15.6 percent. Nashville, which has won four of its five games that have gone past regulation, has a 5-2-1 record in one-goal games.

* The Lightning, who have lost their last five games, haven't lost to the Predators since Jan. 25, 2003, when the Predators won 3-2 in Nashville. Tampa Bay is the only team in the League that hasn't scored 40 goals yet.

* Anaheim center Ryan Getzlaf, who has three dogs, leads the Pacific Division with 24 points. Getzlaf, whose brother Chris is a wide receiver for the Saskatchewan Roughriders in the Canadian Football League, has had at least two points in seven of his last 12 games.

* Ducks right wing Teemu Selanne, who is playing with Bobby Ryan and Brendan Morrison, leads the team with 12 power-play points. Selanne, 38, is averaging the second-most power-play ice time among Ducks forwards at 3:53 per game.

* Blues defenseman Eric Brewer, whose favorite TV channel is the National Geographic Channel, is averaging the eighth-most ice time in the League at 25:54 per game. Brewer, who has played at least 28 minutes in four of his last five games, has a minus-9 rating, but that is largely due to the amount of ice time against the opponent's top players he gets.
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