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Bruins-Habs and Pens-Flyers renew rivalries

by Adam Schwartz /
The Montreal Canadiens go for their second win in as many tries against the Boston Bruins (7 p.m. ET, NHL-CA, RDS) as the pair of Original Six clubs hooks up in one of eight NHL games Thursday.

At 7:30 p.m. the Ottawa Senators battle the New York Islanders; the Pittsburgh Penguins look for their fifth consecutive win when they play Philadelphia Flyers in a rematch of last season's Eastern Conference Final; and the Tampa Bay Lightning host the defending Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings.

Later, the Minnesota Wild, who have lost just one game at home in regulation, host the Los Angeles Kings; the Los Angeles Kings face the Dallas Stars in a Pacific Division showdown; the Toronto Maple Leafs continue their three-game Western Canada road trip when they play the Edmonton Oilers; and the Calgary Flames aim for the Northwest Division lead when they face the Western Conference-leading San Jose Sharks.

Here's what to watch:

* Bruins left wing Milan Lucic scored his first career hat trick Oct. 25 against the Atlanta Thrashers, but has not scored in seven games since then. Lucic, who is second in the League with 56 hits, has seen his average ice time increase from 12:07 per game last season to 15:28 this season.

* Edmonton goalie Jeff Drouin-Deslauries, who is one of just a few right-handed catching goalies in the League, has won all three of his starts this season, including back-to-back starts against the New York Rangers and the New Jersey Devils in which he allowed 3 goals on 80 shots.

* Senators left wing Dany Heatley, who is tied for fifth in the League with 9 goals, is one of nine Senators with a minus-3 rating or worst. Heatley, who averages 21:12 of ice time per game, has 11 goals and 20 points in 18 career games against the Islanders.

* Dallas center Mike Ribeiro leads the team with 13 assists. Ribeiro, who had 56 assists last season, is on pace for 71 this season.

* Philadelphia center Mike Richards, who was named captain this summer, is tied for fifth in the League with 9 power-play points. Richards, who leads the team with 17 points, has an active six-game point-scoring streak, during which he's scored 7 points.

* Red Wings defenseman Brian Rafalski played 25 minutes for the first time in six games Tuesday against Pittsburgh. Rafalski, who tied his career-high with 55 points last season, leads Detroit defensemen and is tied for sixth among the League's defensemen with 13 points.

* Montreal defenseman Andrei Markov, who has played at least 20 minutes in every game except one this season, is second among League defensemen with 13 assists. Markov, who had 10 assists in his first 7 games, has 3 assists in his last 6 games.

* Islanders center Doug Weight, who had 25 points last season, has 13 points so far this season, putting him on a 71-point pace. Weight, 37, hasn't had more than 60 points since the 2003-04 season.

* Penguins center Jordan Staal, who had 4 of his 9 points Tuesday in Pittsburgh's 7-6 win against the Red Wings, has played at least 19 minutes in each of his last three games. Staal, whose nickname is Gronk, has a plus-4 rating in 17 career games against the Flyers.

* Tampa Bay defenseman Lukas Krajicek has just 2 assists in 13 games. Krajicek, who averaged 18:10 of ice time last season with the Canucks, is averaging 16:54 this season.      

* Coyotes left wing Daniel Carcillo, who had 13 goals and 24 points in 57 games last season, has no points in 11 games this season. Carcillo, who scored two of his goals against the Wild last season, is second on the team with 30 penalty minutes.

* Calgary center Dustin Boyd, who has been moved onto a line with Jarome Iginla, has 3 goals in his last two games, including two Tuesday in the Flames' 4-3 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Boyd had played just 61 career NHL games in two seasons prior to 2008-09.

* The Sharks, who have six more points than any Western Conference team, haven't lost in regulation in 10 home games this season. San Jose, which has scored more goals than any team in the League with 57, has won four of the six games they were trailing after the first period.  

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