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Ducks-Leafs among five games on docket tonight

by Adam Schwartz
There are 5 games in the NHL on Tuesday night, including two divisional showdowns.

At 7 p.m. ET, the struggling Anaheim Ducks look for only their second victory of the season when they meet the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre in a game telecast on TSN.
Also at 7 p.m. ET, the Boston Bruins look to rebound from Monday night's 2-1 shootout loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins when they face off against the Buffalo Sabres in a game that will be broadcast on VERSUS, RIS and TSN2.

In Columbus, the Vancouver Canucks conclude their six-game road trip against the Blue Jackets. The puck drops here at 7 p.m. ET.

In a 7:30 p.m. ET start, the Tampa Bay Lightning host the Atlanta Thrashers and in Calgary, two Hart Trophy nominees from last season, Jarome Iginla and Alexander Ovechkin, battle it out when the Washington Capitals visit the Calgary Flames (9:30 p.m. ET, TSN).

Here's what to watch:

* Buffalo right wing Thomas Vanek, who leads the League with 7 goals, has taken at least 7 shots in 4 of his first 5 games this season. Vanek, who had a minus-5 rating last season, has had a plus rating in just 1 of his previous 3 seasons in the League.

* Boston center Phil Kessel, who had 19 goals and 37 points in 82 games last season, has 5 goals and 6 points in 5 games this season, including 3 goals and 1 assist in his last two games and a successful shootout attempt in Monday night's 2-1 loss to the Penguins. Kessel, who was the early favorite to be drafted first in the 2006 Entry Draft, slipped to No. 5.

* Bruins goalie Tim Thomas, who has a .919 save percentage, has not lost a game in regulation in his 3 starts this season. Thomas, who graduated from the University of Vermont with a degree in English, played in the East Coast Hockey League, the American Hockey League and the defunct International Hockey League in addition to playing in Finland and Sweden prior to starting his first NHL game in the 2002-03 season.

* Sabres goalie Ryan Miller, who leads the League with a .945 save percentage and a 1.30 goals-against average, played in both the Winter Classic last season and the famous Cold War Game, which featured Michigan State against the University of Michigan. Miller, who started playing goalie while living in California, has not faced more than 28 shots in the 3 games he has started this season.

* The Ducks, who are in last place in the Pacific Division with just 2 points, have lost 4 games in which they have outshot their opponent. Anaheim has the worst power play in the League with a 4.2 percent success rate and has only scored 1 power-play goal this season.

* Anaheim center Ryan Getzlaf, who had 82 points last season, has just 1 assist this season. Getzlaf, who had a plus-32 rating last season, has a minus-5 rating through 6 games this season.

* After winning their first game against the defending Stanley Cup-champion Detroit Red Wings, the Maple Leafs have not won a game. The Leafs, who haven't made the playoffs in the past 3 seasons, are 1 of just 2 teams that hasn't scored 10 goals yet with just 9 in 5 games.   

* Toronto goalie Vesa Toskala, who has only lost 1 game in regulation this season, has faced at least 25 shots in 3 of his 4 starts. When Toskala shutout the New York Rangers in a 1-0 shootout loss at Madison Square Garden, it was the first time a Leafs goalie shut out the Rangers in New York since Johnny Bower did it in 1965 at the old Madison Square Garden.

* Vancouver left wing Daniel Sedin, who had 2 goals and 3 assists in his first 2 games this season, has no points in his last 4 games. Sedin, who finished second in team scoring to twin brother Henrik last season with 74 points, has at least 45 assists in the last 3 seasons.

* Blue Jackets right wing Rick Nash, who has scored at least 30 goals in 3 of his last 4 seasons, had just 1 goal in his first 3 games, but has 3 in his last 2.

* Atlanta center Todd White, who has had more than 50 points just once in his career, has 4 assists and 5 points in his first 5 games. White, who had just 37 points in 74 games last season, is third in the League with a 64.3 faceoff-winning percentage.

* Tampa goalie Mike Smith, who is second in the NHL with a .944 save percentage, has faced at least 40 shots in 2 of his 3 starts. Smith, who was acquired in a package that sent Brad Richards to the Dallas Stars, has never played more than 23 games in an NHL season.

* Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom, who was considered for the Calder Trophy for the NHL's best rookie last season, has just 1 assist in 5 games this season, including none in his last 4 games.

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