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Four Western Conference games on Friday schedule

by Adam Schwartz /
The Eastern Conference is off Friday night, but the Western Conference has four games on tap, including a battle for first place in the Northwest Division when the slumping Vancouver Canucks visit the Minnesota Wild.

In addition to the Vancouver-Minnesota game, the Calgary Flames begin a four-game road trip against the St. Louis Blues, the Dallas Stars host the Colorado Avalanche and the Edmonton Oilers play their first of back-to-back California games, highlighted tonight by Oilers defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky returning to Los Angeles for the first time since being traded from there.

Here's what to watch:

* Canucks center Kyle Wellwood, who cleared waivers earlier this season, not only has found his way onto the Vancouver roster, but is tied for the team lead with 11 goals. Wellwood, who had 21 points in 59 games last season, is on pace for a career-high of 50 points this season.

* Minnesota right wing Cal Clutterbuck, one of three rookies on the Wild's roster this season, leads the Northwest Division with 68 hits. Clutterbuck, who averages just 9:34 of ice time per game, scored both of his goals this season Nov. 24 in a 4-3 victory against the Washington Capitals.

* Flames captain Jarome Iginla, who had a six-game point streak snapped Tuesday in Calgary's 3-1 loss to the Dallas Stars, has nine multiple-point games this season. Iginla, who was a Hart Trophy finalist last season, leads the team with 34 missed shots and 89 shots on goal.

* St. Louis defenseman Jay McKee, who has missed significant time due to injury in his first two seasons with the Blues, is second in the Central Division with 57 blocked shots. McKee, who averages just 16:58 of ice time per game, has played more than 20 minutes only once this season.

* Avalanche left wing Wojtek Wolski, who went 17 games without a goal, has 3 goals in his last two games. Wolski, who had 30 assists last season and is tied for second on the team with 10 assists this season, has 5 assists and 9 points in 10 career games against the Stars, including 2 assists in Colorado's 5-4 win against Dallas on Oct. 18 in the clubs' lone meeting this season.

* Stars center Mike Ribeiro, who leads the team with 17 assists, has just 1 assist in his last eight games. Ribeiro, who averages the second-most ice time among Stars forwards at 21:13 per game, has a minus-7 rating.

* Los Angeles defenseman Kyle Quincey, who was picked up off waivers from the Detroit Red Wings in October, leads the team's defensemen with 14 points. Quincey, who averaged just 13:58 of ice time last season with Detroit and frequently was a healthy scratch, is second on the team with an average ice time of 22:11.      

* The Oilers, who are tied for last place in the Northwest Division with the Avalanche, also are tied with Colorado for the fewest goals scored in the division with 66. Edmonton, which is the only team in the League that hasn't played 10 home games yet, has the worst home penalty killing in the NHL at 71.4 percent.

* Minnesota defenseman Marc-Andre Bergeron, who has 7 assists in his last six games, leads Wild defensemen with 15 points and is on pace for a career-high of 51. Bergeron, who had 101 points in 69 games with the Shawinigan Cataractes of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League in his last season in junior hockey, is playing for his fourth team in just three seasons.

* Flames center Daymond Langkow, who averages 18:07 of ice time per game, has just 2 goals in his last 11 games. Langkow, who has scored 30 goals each of the last two seasons, has just 6 goals in 25 games this season.

* St. Louis left wing David Perron, who is tied for the team lead with 13 assists, has 2 assists in his last seven games. Perron, who had 14 assists in 62 games last season, is second on the team with a plus-4 rating.

* The Kings, who have a 7-6-3 home record, have a 1-5 record in two-goal games. Los Angeles, which has outshot their opponent in 19 of their 24 games this season, has an 8-9-2 record in those games.

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