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Flames, Wild meet for first time this season

by Adam Schwartz / NHL.com
Northwest Division foes Calgary and Minnesota meet for the first of six games this season (8 p.m. ET, RIS, TSN, NHLN-US) in one of five games Wednesday night.

Earlier, the Devils will look to exact some revenge on the Sabres for their 4-2 loss Saturday, and San Jose Sharks continue their three-game road trip in Columbus.

Two late games feature a second Northwest Division rivalry when the Canucks host the Oilers, while the Rangers continue their three-game California road trip in Los Angeles.

Here's what to watch:

* New Jersey defenseman Colin White, who has a combined minus-15 rating in his last three seasons, leads the team's defensemen with a plus-11 rating this season. White had 10 points in 57 games last season, but has 10 points in 28 games this season, and his next point will be the 100th of his career.

* Sabres defenseman Jaroslav Spacek, who has 8 power-play points, leads the club's defensemen with 15 points. Spacek, who played less than 20 minutes Saturday night for the first time since Nov. 12, leads the team with an average ice time of 23:02 per game.

* Sharks center Joe Pavelski, one of five San Jose players with at least 10 goals, hasn't scored in his last four games after getting four in the three previous games. Pavelski, who had a career-best 40 points last season, is on pace for 64 points this season.   

* Columbus center Derick Brassard, who has 3 assists and 4 points in his last four games, is tied for the lead among rookies with 24 points. Brassard, who averages just 14:43 of ice time per game, leads the team with a plus-12 rating.

* The Blue Jackets, who are fourth in the Central Division with 29 points, have allowed four fewer goals than the division-leading Red Wings. Columbus, which is 7-9-2 when outshooting their opponent, is 6-5-1 when being outshot.

* Calgary, which leads the Northwest Division with 37 points, has the most home wins in the division, with nine. The Flames have the fourth-best penalty kill in the League at 85.2 percent.

* Flames left wing Rene Bourque, who had 10 goals in 62 games last season, has 10 goals in 31 games this season. Bourque, who averages 2:18 of shorthanded ice time per game, is second on the team with 18 takeaways.

* Wild defenseman Nick Schultz, who is four minutes shy of 200 career penalty minutes, leads the team with 54 blocked shots. Schultz, who has a terrier named Caymus, is second on the team with an average of 3:40 of shorthanded ice time per game.

* Minnesota, which has yielded 66 goals, the fewest goals in the Western Conference, has the best penalty kill in the conference at 88.4 percent. The Wild, however, have scored more goals than just two more teams in the League, with 73.

 
* Edmonton defenseman Sheldon Souray, who is known for his blistering slap shot, is seventh among the League's defensemen with 22 points. Souray, who plays the point on the power play, is tied for the team lead with 89 shots on net.

* Vancouver right wing Steve Bernier, who the Canucks acquired for two draft picks this summer, leads the team with 58 hits. Bernier, who has been held pointless in four of his last five games, has played more than 14 minutes in just one of his last four games.

* Canucks center Ryan Kesler, who idolized Mike Modano growing up, has won 295 faceoffs, the ninth-most in the League. Kesler, who has 10 assists and 12 points in 24 career games against the Oilers, has 3 assists and 4 points in his last four games.

* Los Angeles defenseman Drew Doughty, who is third among rookie defensemen with 11 points, averages the most ice time among rookies at 23:35 per game. Doughty, who has played at least 25 minutes in three of his last five games, has 3 assists during that span.

* Rangers left wing Markus Naslund, who has a minus-30 rating in his last 279 games, leads the team with 12 goals. Naslund, who has 22 assists and 40 points in 50 career games against the Kings, has 4 points in his last four games.

Contact Adam Schwartz at aschwartz@nhl.com.
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