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Let the battles begin!

by Adam Kimelman

Another chapter in the Battle of Albetra takes place tonight when Daymond Langkow and the Calgary Flames meet Jarret Stoll and the Edmonton Oilers at Rexall Place.
There might be just three games on the Monday schedule, but the battles will be fierce.

The New Jersey Devils will host the Pittsburgh Penguins in a battle for supremacy in the Atlantic Division at 7 p.m. The Battle of Alberta will be rejoined at 9 p.m. when the Calgary Flames skate into Edmonton. And the battle for one of the final playoff spots in the Western Conference will be fought in Denver starting at 9 p.m., between the Phoenix Coyotes and the Colorado Avalanche.

Here’s what to watch for tonight:

* This will be the sixth time the Penguins and Devils have played this season, with the road team winning all five games.

* In two games at the Devils’ Prudential Center, the Penguins have outscored their hosts 9-2.


* With Sidney Crosby out, Evgeni Malkin has picked up the scoring slack for the Penguins, with five goals and four assists in six games without Crosby, out with a high right ankle sprain.

* The Devils have the fourth-fewest goals in the NHL, but notched six in their last game, a 6-3 win over Los Angeles. The win featured defenseman Colin White’s first goal in 126 games.

* With Jose Theodore suffering from back spasms, Peter Budaj could be back in net for the Avalanche, which could bode well for the Coyotes. Phoenix has beaten Budaj twice this season.

* Phoenix forward Steven Reinprecht is looking forward to the trip to Colorado. Four of his 13 goals this season have come against the Avalanche.

* Despite missing top scoring threats Joe Sakic, Ryan Smyth and Paul Stastny, the Avalanche are tied with Calgary for sixth in the Western Conference. The Coyotes are 10th, only three points behind.


* Calgary captain Jarome Iginla still can’t find the back of the net, going nine games without a goal. He has chipped in five assists in that span.

* Tonight’s game could mark the on-ice Flames debut for veteran Curtis Joseph. Joseph, who played for the Oilers from 1995-98, is 10-6-2 with a 2.40 goals-against average and two shutouts against Edmonton. A win would tie Joseph with Hall of Famer Terry Sawchuk for fourth all-time on the career wins list with 447.

* The banged-up Oilers, already without defenseman Sheldon Souray and forward Raffi Torres, learned Monday leading scorer Shawn Horcoff will miss the rest of the season after it was revealed he needs surgery on his left shoulder.

Contact Adam Kimelman at

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