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Hudson River rivalry resumes at The Rock

by Adam Schwartz / NHL.com
The Devils, who have won three in a row, will have another chance to beat the Rangers in regulation -- something they haven't done in seven games, dating to Feb. 20, 2007, when they host their Hudson River rivals in one of seven games in the NHL Friday night.

In addition to the Devils-Rangers game, two capital cities square off when Ottawa visits Washington (7 p.m. ET, RDS); Buffalo renews its rivalry with Toronto; and Boston looks to rebound from its first loss in six games when it travels to Atlanta.

Later, Dallas hosts Detroit; Colorado plays the final game of a three-game homestand when they face Chicago; and Florida tries for its first win in Calgary since 1999.

Here's what to watch:

* Rangers left wing Markus Naslund has just 1 goal in his last six games. Naslund, who has just 2 goals in 20 career games against the Devils, has seen his point total decline in each of his last four seasons.

* New Jersey center Travis Zajac, who had 20 assists and a minus-11 rating in 82 games last season, has 12 assists and a plus-11 rating in 25 games this season.

* Calgary center Jarome Iginla has 10 more points than any teammate and leads the team's forwards with an average ice time of 21:36 per game. Iginla, whose career high for assists is 55, is on pace for 54 this season.

* Senators goalie Alex Auld, who is playing for his fifth team in the last four seasons, has just one regulation loss in his last eight games. Auld, drafted in the second round by the Panthers in 1999, has allowed a power-play goal in just five of his last 14 games.

* Washington center David Steckel, who led the League's rookies with a 56.3 percent faceoff winning percentage last season, is at 53.8 this season. Steckel, who averages just 13:42 of ice time per game, leads Capitals forwards with an average of 3:37 of shorthanded ice time per game.

* The Sabres, who are in third place in the Northeast Division with 31 points, have scored four goals in each game during their current three-game win streak.

* Defenseman Ron Hainsey, who signed a five-year contract with the Thrashers this summer, is third in the League among American-born defenseman with 16 points. Hainsey, whose career-high is 9 goals, has 5 in 27 games, putting him on pace for 15 this season.

* Maple Leafs left wing Niklas Hagman, who had 6 goals in his first 15 games this season, has just 2 goals in 12 games since then. Hagman, who has 12 of his 19 points in Toronto losses, has no goals in 15 career games against the Sabres.

 
* The Bruins, who lead the Eastern Conference with 42 points, have allowed 58 goals, the fewest in the conference. Boston, which has the most road wins in the Northeast Division with nine, has a 13-3-2 record when scoring first.

* Detroit right wing Mikael Samuelsson, who is third on the team with 16 assists, is averaging just 15:48 of ice time. He's been pointless, though, in his last four games.

* Stars defenseman Stephane Robidas leads the team with 79 hits and 42 blocked shots. He is a plus-14 in his past three seasons and currently is tied for the team lead at plus-5.

* Chicago left wing Andrew Ladd, who was traded by Hurricanes last February for Tuomo Ruutu, is third on the team with a plus-11 rating. Ladd, whose career-high is 21 points, has 15 points in 26 games this season, putting him on pace for 47.

* Avalanche right wing Milan Hejduk, who leads the team with 12 goals, has 8 points in his last five games. Hejduk, who has represented the Czech Republic in each of the last three Olympics, has 14 goals and 32 points in 35 career games against the Blackhawks, including a goal in their first meeting this season.

* Washington defenseman Karl Alzner, who was named the Canadian Hockey League defenseman of the year last season, is averaging 20:21 of ice time in eight games since his promotion from Hershey of the American Hockey League.

Contact Adam Schwartz at aschwartz@nhl.com.
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