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Busy night for both conferences

by Adam Schwartz

After missing 21 games, Sidney Crosby is back on the ice for the Pittsburgh Penguins when they meet Martin St. Louis and the Tampa Bay Lightning tonight at the St. Pete Times Forum
There is a full slate of NHL games Tuesday night, as 20 of the League’s 30 teams hit the ice.

The night starts at 7 p.m., when the Florida Panthers visit the Boston Bruins, the New York Islanders face the rival New York Rangers and the Philadelphia Flyers host the Buffalo Sabres.

A half-hour later, the New Jersey Devils are in Toronto and the Pittsburgh Penguins play the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Later, 10 Western Conference teams take the ice when the Chicago Blackhawks square off against the Minnesota Wild, the Los Angeles Kings travel to St. Louis, the Columbus Blue Jackets conclude their three-game road trip against the Calgary Flames, the Edmonton Oilers host the Nashville Predators and the Vancouver Canucks face off against the Colorado Avalanche in a Northwest Division match.

Here’s what to keep an eye out for:

* Florida backup goalie Craig Anderson, who has played in just 12 games this season, recorded a 53-save shutout – his first shutout since the 2005-06 season – Sunday in the Panthers’ 1-0 victory against the Islanders. After losing his first five decisions of the season, Anderson has won four of his last five games.


* Even though Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist has not lost a game in regulation in his last five starts, he has yielded at least three goals in three of them. Lundqvist, who was selected in the seventh round of the 2000 NHL Entry Draft, was pulled after allowing three goals while facing eight shots Sunday in the Rangers’ 5-4 shootout victory against the Philadelphia Flyers.

* Boston center Marc Savard, who leads the League with 60 assists, has seven goals and 25 assists for 32 points and a minus-3 rating in 27 career games against the Panthers.

* Islanders right wing Trent Hunter, who is 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds, has the most hits among Eastern Conference forwards, with 216.

* Buffalo defenseman Jaroslav Spacek, who leads the team with an average ice time of 23:20 per game, has a plus-7 rating in his last seven games while playing at least 22 minutes in five games during that span.

* Philadelphia center Mike Richards, whose favorite actor is Edward Norton, is tied for third in the League with five shorthanded goals. But Richards, who leads Flyers forwards with a plus-14 rating, has just one goal in his last 10 games.

* New Jersey defenseman Johnny Oduya, who is tied for the team lead with a plus-19 rating, is plus-5 in his last eight games while playing at least 20 minutes in six games during that span.

* Toronto center Mats Sundin leads the NHL with 869 faceoff wins.


* Chicago center Jonathan Toews is fourth in rookie scoring with 43 points despite missing 16 games with a sprained knee. Toews has the highest plus-minus rating among the top-10 in rookie scoring, at plus-10.

* After helping the Penguins surge back into the fight for the Atlantic Division crown, goalie Ty Conklin has won just one of his last five games and has allowed at least three goals three times in that span.

* Tampa Bay center Vincent Lecavalier has just one goal in his last 13 games. Lecavalier, who won the Rocket Richard Trophy last season with 52, has slipped into a tie for ninth this season with 32 goals.

* The Wild are in first place in the Northwest Division with 79 points, despite scoring just two more goals than it has allowed.

* Kings center Patrick O’Sullivan, who was traded to the Kings by Minnesota with a first-round draft pick for Pavol Demitra in June 2006, has one goal and five assists for six points in three games against the Blues this season.

* St. Louis, which has scored the fewest goals in the NHL with 161, has the second-fewest points in the Western Conference with 66.

* Calgary center Craig Conroy has won the most faceoffs in the Northwest Division, with 618.


* Predators right wing Alexander Radulov, who is tied for the team lead with 24 goals, has 20 points in his last 18 games.

* Vancouver defenseman Mattias Ohlund, who loves to cook Italian food, is plus-4 in his past seven games and has played at least 22 minutes six times during that span.

* Colorado center Joe Sakic has two goals and one assist for three points in four games since returning from hernia surgery, which sidelined him for 38 games.

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