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Canadiens-Leafs in Hall of Fame Game kicks off Saturday slate

by Adam Schwartz /
In the annual Hall of Fame Game, the Montreal Canadiens visit the Toronto Maple Leafs in tan Original 6 showdown that also serves as the opening game of Hockey Night in Canada (7 p.m. ET, CBC, NHLN-US).

The second game of the Hockey Night doubleheader is a Northwest Division clash between the Wild and Canucks (10 p.m. ET, CBC, NHLN-US).

Other games on a 12-game slate: At 7 p.m. the Buffalo Sabres play the Boston Bruins in their lone road game in a 4-game stretch against the Boston Bruins; the Pittsburgh Penguins look for their third consecutive win when they face the New York Islanders; the Tampa Bay Lightning try for their first win in 3 games when they skate against the Philadelphia Flyers; the New York Rangers try to lengthen their Atlantic Division lead against the Washington Capitals; the banged-up New Jersey Devils visit the Detroit Red Wings, and the Columbus Blue Jackets play their second game in 2 nights, against the Calgary Flames.

Later, the Colorado Avalanche host the Nashville Predators; the Florida Panthers take on the Phoenix Coyotes; the Pacific Division-leading San Jose Sharks host the Dallas Stars; and the St. Louis Blues play the Los Angeles Kings in the third game of a 5-game road trip.

Here's what to watch:

* Boston right wing Blake Wheeler, who was picked fifth in the 2004 Entry Draft by the Coyotes but never signed with the team, scored his first career hat trick Thursday in the Bruins' 5-2 victory against the Maple Leafs. Wheeler, who is tied for fourth on the team with 8 points, has 6 points in his last 3 games.

* Los Angeles defenseman Drew Doughty, 1 of 5 rookies to skate for the Kings this season, is second on the team with an average of 21:40 of ice time per game. Doughty, 18, leads the team with a plus-6 rating.

* Maple Leafs center Matt Stajan has 6 of his 9 points in Toronto wins this season. Stajan, who was held pointless in his first 5 games this season, has had points in 7 of his last 8 games and has 9 points during that span.

* San Jose right wing Devin Setoguchi, who has been playing mostly alongside Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton, is tied for the team lead with Marleau with 14 points. Setoguchi, selected eighth in the 2005 Entry Draft, had 11 goals in 44 games last season, but has 7 goals in just 14 games so far this season.

* Penguins center Sidney Crosby has the most giveaways among Pittsburgh players with 14, but that is largely because of his team-leading 22:05 average ice time. Crosby, who has a career plus-32 rating, has a plus-5 rating in 13 games this season.

* Lightning defenseman Paul Ranger, who has been paired with Lukas Krajicek and Matt Carle this season, has played at least 24 minutes in each of his last 5 games. Ranger, who missed 3 games at the start of the season with a shoulder injury, has 2 of his 3 points on the road this season.

* Florida defenseman Keith Ballard, who was acquired from the Coyotes with Nick Boynton for Olli Jokinen in June, leads the team with 10 points. Ballard, who averaged 21:15 of ice time last season, is averaging 25:37 this season.

* Predators defenseman Greg Zanon, who led the Central Division with 176 blocked shots last season, leads Nashville with 39 blocked shots this season. Zanon, who averages just 18:09 of ice time, has been a minus player in just 3 games this season.

* Calgary, which has a 3-3 road record this season, has won both of its games against the Central Division so far this season. The Flames, who have lost in the first round of the playoffs each of the last 3 seasons, has the best power play in the Northwest Division with a 22.2-percent success rate.

* Red Wings center Henrik Zetterberg, who won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player of the playoffs last season, has had 4 multiple-point games this season. Zetterberg, who had 2 points Sunday in the Red Wings' 3-2 victory against the Canucks, has a minus-3 rating in his last 2 games.

* Washington center Sergei Fedorov has 24 assists and 34 points in 26 career games against the Rangers. Fedorov, who has been a minus player in his last 4 seasons, has a plus-6 rating in 12 games this season.

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