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Five games highlight busy night

by Adam Schwartz

Milan Lucic and the Boston Bruins hope to tie their series 2-2 against Andrei Kostitsyn and the Montreal Canadiens tonight.
The playoffs are in full swing Tuesday night with five games on the NHL's docket.

A pair of 7 p.m. games features the Boston Bruins trying to even their series against the Montreal Canadiens, and a leader emerging out of the Washington Capitals-Philadelphia Flyers series. Later, the Dallas Stars look to extend their series lead to three games against the Anaheim Ducks, the San Jose Sharks look to get even with the Calgary Flames and the Minnesota Wild play the Colorado Avalanche in Game 4 of a series in which all three games have gone to overtime.

Here's what to watch:

* Montreal right wing Alex Kovalev, who scored the game-winning goal in overtime in Game 2, totaled 37 more points in the regular season than he did last season and has seen his plus-minus rating sky rocket from a minus-19 to a plus-18 during that span. Kovalev had just one shot on net in Game 3 after firing 7 shots on net the previous game.

* Canadiens center Bryan Smolinski, who tied a League record in Game 1 by scoring a playoff goal for his sixth team, had the second-highest faceoff percentage on the team during the regular season at 51.8 percent. Smolinksi, who had just 25 points in the regular season, has a goal and two assists in three games this series.

* Boston goalie Tim Thomas, who has faced 91 shots in three games, limited the Habs to just one goal after allowing seven in the first two games. Thomas, who had the best save percentage in the regular season among starting Eastern Conference playoff goalies, faced less than 30 shots in Game 3 for the first time in the series.

* Bruins center Marc Savard, selected No. 91 overall in the 1995 NHL Entry Draft by the New York Rangers, has two goals and 10 assists for 12 points in 11 regular season and playoff games against the Canadiens this season, including a goal and two assists in three playoff games.

* Washington defenseman Mike Green, who led the League's defensemen with 18 goals during the regular season, is one of just two defensemen to have scored two goals in the playoffs.

* Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom, who led Eastern Conference rookies with 69 points during the regular season, has been a minus player in just two of his last 12 combined regular season and playoff games.

* The Flyers, who have won three of their last four games dating to the regular season, have not won a playoff series since they defeated the New Jersey Devils in five games in 2004.

* Philadelphia goalie Martin Biron, who had not started a playoff game prior to this season, has three shutouts – including his first in the playoffs – in his last four combined regular season and playoff games.

* The Ducks, who have allowed nine goals and scored just two in the first two games of their series with the Stars, allowed the fewest goals in the Pacific Division during the regular season with 191. Anaheim, which had a 19-18-4 road record this season, will play its next two games in Dallas.

* Stars center Brad Richards, who had five assists in his first game with Dallas this season after being traded during trade deadline day from the Tampa Bay Lightning, had just two goals and four assists for six points and a minus-4 rating in his final 11 regular season games. Richards, who won the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP in 2004, has one goal and two assists for three points in two playoff games this season.

* San Jose right wing Ryane Clowe, who has never scored more than 16 goals in the regular season, is one of just four players with three playoff goals. Clowe, selected No. 175 in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft, is one of just two Western Conference players with five points in the playoffs.

* Calgary defenseman Robyn Regehr, who is second among Flames with an average ice time of 21:53, has been a minus player in just two of his last 20 combined regular season and playoff games.

* Minnesota right wing Brian Rolston, who assisted on Pierre-Marc Bouchard's game-winning-overtime goal Monday in Game 3, leads the Western Conference with a plus-4 rating in the playoffs.

* Colorado center Paul Stastny, who led the team with 71 points during the regular season, has no points and a minus-3 rating in three playoff games.

* Colorado center Joe Sakic, who scored the game-winning goal in overtime of Game 1, has not finished a playoff season with a higher rating than plus-1 since he won the 2001 Stanley Cup with a plus-6 rating.
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