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Flyers, Penguins meet in Eastern Finals rematch

by Adam Schwartz /
Wednesday's schedule is highlighted by three intradivisional rivalries on a night that is sure to be full of fast-paced action.

Two early games feature the Minnesota Wild at the Atlanta Thrashers and the Pittsburgh Penguins hosting the Philadelphia Flyers (7:30 p.m. ET, VERSUS, RIS, TSN2) in a rematch of last season's Eastern Conference Finals.

Later, the Calgary Flames look for their first win against the Colorado Avalanche (9:30 p.m. ET, TSN), the Anaheim Ducks take on the Los Angeles Kings and the San Jose Sharks look to add to their three-game winning streak when they play the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Here's what to keep an eye out for:

* The Wild, who are one of just two teams in the League to only play one game, beat the Boston Bruins, 4-3, in their opening game, and start a three-game road trip Tuesday night. Minnesota, whose only coach in franchise history is defensive mastermind Jacques Lemaire, won their first Northwest Division title last season.

* Minnesota right wing Marian Gaborik, who led the Wild with 42 goals and 83 points last season, has 4 goals and 7 points in five career games against the Thrashers. Gaborik, who is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season, played 77 games last season, the most since he played 81 in 2002-03.
* The Thrashers, who lost their first six games and finished in 14th place in the Eastern Conference last season, have 3 points in their first two games this season. The Thrashers and Wild have played just three times ever in Atlanta, with the most recent game coming last season - a Thrashers 3-2 shootout win.

* Atlanta defenseman Niclas Havelid, who had 13 assists last season, has 4 assists in the Thrashers' first two games. Havelid, who won a gold medal with Sweden at the 2006 Olympics, has a career minus-33 rating, but has a plus-9 rating in his last four seasons.

* Philadelphia center Mike Richards, who led Flyers forwards with a plus-14 rating last season, has a minus-2 rating in Philadelphia's first two games. Richards, whose favorite actor is Edward Norton, is tied for the team lead with 7 penalty minutes.

* Pittsburgh center Evgeni Malkin, who was nominated for the Hart Trophy as the NHL's most valuable player last season, has 14 assists and 24 points in 15 career games against the Flyers.

Pittsburgh defenseman Alex Goligoski, who played for the United States at the 2005 World Junior Championship, leads Pittsburgh defensemen with an average of 7:03 of power-play ice time. Goligoski, who is seeing an abundance of man-advantage ice time because of injuries to Sergei Gonchar and Ryan Whitney, scored his first NHL goal in a 3-1 loss to the Ottawa Senators during the 2008 Bridgestone NHL Premiere Stockholm.

* Colorado center Paul Stastny, who is the son of Hall of Famer Peter Stastny, has scored at least 70 points in both of his NHL seasons. He had 71 points last season despite missing 16 games last season with appendicitis and a groin injury.

* Calgary center Daymond Langkow, who plays alongside Jarome Iginla, has 143 points in his last 163 games. Langkow, who scored his fewest points in the third period last season, was a minus-19 in Calgary losses last season.

* The Ducks, who were one of only five teams with 100 points last season, have lost their first two games, against the Phoenix Coyotes and the San Jose Sharks. Anaheim, which is two seasons removed from its first Stanley Cup victory in 2007, still has 17 players from that championship team.
Kings defenseman Drew Doughty, picked second at the 2008 Entry Draft, played 17:40 in his first game, but saw 23:56 of ice time in his second game. Doughty should expect to see more minutes with fellow Los Angeles defenseman Jack Johnson sidelined with a shoulder injury.

* Columbus left wing Kristian Huselius, who signed as a free agent with the Blue Jackets this summer, has a plus-31 rating in his last two seasons, but has a minus-1 rating in two games this season. Huselius had at least 40 assists in each of his last two seasons.

San Jose defenseman Rob Blake, 38, was second on the team with an average ice time of 23:04 through three games. Blake, who played 14 seasons with the rival Kings, had 2 assists in his first game as a Shark.
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