The NHL homestretch continues Thursday night with seven games scheduled, featuring a team from every division.
The action gets started at 7 p.m. when the Pittsburgh Penguins play the Boston Bruins, the Ottawa Senators face the Philadelphia Flyers, the New York Rangers visit the Carolina Hurricanes and the Atlanta Thrashers host the New York Islanders.
Later, the Phoenix Coyotes travel to St. Louis to play the Blues, the Chicago Blackhawks battle the Dallas Stars and the Los Angeles Kings visit the Edmonton Oilers.
Here’s what to watch:
* Penguins right wing Marian Hossa, who was acquired during Tuesday’s trade deadline along with right wing Pascal Dupuis, has 16 goals and 22 assists for 38 points in 40 career games against the Bruins. Hossa, whose brother Marcel also was traded Tuesday, has three goals and five assists for eight points in his last six games.
* The Bruins, who have an impressive 18-11-3 road record, have won their last four games and are in sixth place in the Eastern Conference with 72 points. Boston has allowed the fewest goals in the Northeast Division, with 167, has scored the second-fewest goals in the Eastern Conference, 169.
* Ottawa center Mike Fisher, who normally is a reliable two-way center, doesn’t have a point in his last nine games and has a minus-7 rating during that span. Despite his recent troubles, Fisher remains just six points shy of his career-high of the 48 he recorded last season.
* Philadelphia defenseman Braydon Coburn, whose favorite food is perogies, has the highest plus-minus among Flyers defensemen at plus-11. Coburn averages 20:29 of ice time per game, third-most among the team’s defenders.
* Flyers center Daniel Briere, who has a dog named Zora, has just one point in his last seven games. Briere, who had 95 points last season, is scoring at a 72-point pace this season.
* After struggling through a seven-game pointless drought, Rangers right wing Jaromir Jagr has two goals and six assists for eight points in his last five games, including a four-assist effort Feb. 19 in the Rangers’ 6-5 shootout loss to the Montreal Canadiens.
* Carolina left wing Sergei Samsonov, who had just four points and a minus-7 rating in 23 games with the Chicago Blackhawks this season before being waived, has nine goals and nine assists for 18 points and a plus-10 rating in 22 games with the Hurricanes.
* The Islanders, who are tied with the Columbus Blue Jackets for the fewest goals scored in the League, with 158, have lost their last two games and have fallen to No. 10 in the Eastern Conference, four points out of a playoff spot.
* Atlanta center Erik Christensen, who was acquired from Pittsburgh as part of Tuesday’s Marian Hossa deal, is tied with eight other players for the League lead with five shootout goals.
* Phoenix, which is in fourth place in the Pacific Division with 69 points, has a 15-7 divisional record. The Pacific Division includes the Stars, the San Jose Sharks and the Anaheim Ducks, who are three of the top four teams in the Western Conference.
* Coyotes defenseman Zbynek Michalek, whose brother Milan plays for the San Jose Sharks, is tied with Radim Vrbata for the team lead with a plus-11 rating. Phoenix’s Michalek, who was not drafted, has played at least 20 minutes in his last nine games.
* St. Louis left wing David Perron, who was drafted No. 26 overall in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, leads the team and is tied for third among rookies in the League with a plus-10 rating.
* Dallas defenseman Mattias Norstrom, whose first job was picking strawberries, is second among Stars players with 77 blocked shots, but he’s averaging less ice time than five other Dallas defensemen.
* Blackhawks goalie Patrick Lalime, who is 12-9-1 and enjoying a resurgent season in Chicago, recorded his a shutout Wednesday night in a 1-0 Blackhawks victory against the Coyotes. It was his first shutout since Feb. 7, 2007.
* The Stars are the only team in the League to have three players with more than 160 hits. Center Brenden Morrow has 211 hits, defenseman Stephane Robidas has 189 and agitating center Steve Ott has 162.
* Kings defenseman Jack Johnson, who has been trusted with more responsibility than most 21-year-old blueliners, has a plus-2 rating in his last five games while playing at least 21 minutes during that span.
* Edmonton defenseman Steve Staios, who is averaging 22:01 of ice time per game, has the most giveaways in the Northwest Division, with 73.