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Light night, but lots of action

by Adam Schwartz / NHL.com
There are just 3 games on the schedule for Wednesday, but they should provide ample entertainment.

Among the games is the Edmonton Oilers visiting the Columbus Blue Jackets (7:30 p.m. ET, TSN, RIS). Blue Jackets General Manager Scott Howson spent 6 seasons as the assistant GM in Edmonton.

In addition to the Edmonton-Columbus game, the New Jersey Devils, who have lost 4 of their last 5 games, look to get back to their winning ways when they face the surging Tampa Bay Lightning, who have won their last 3 games. This also will be the Devils' first game since learning All-Star goaltender Martin Brodeur would be out 3-4 months after tearing a biceps tendon during last Saturday's game against the Thrashers. Kevin Weekes will start in goal, and the team called up Scott Clemmensen from Lowell of the American Hockey League to back him up.

At 10 p.m. the Anaheim Ducks, who are 8-1-1 in their last 10 games, look to draw closer to the San Jose Sharks for the Pacific Division lead when they host the St. Louis Blues.

Here's what to watch:

* The Lightning, who lost their first 5 games of the season, are 4-1 since then, including their current 3-game win streak. Tampa Bay, which finished with the fewest points in the Eastern Conference last season, is just 5 points behind the Carolina Hurricanes for the Southeast Division lead.

* Tampa Bay center Vaclav Prospal, who is in his third stint with the Lightning, leads the team with 6 assists. Prospal, who has a career minus-35 rating, has a plus-6 rating in 10 games this season.

* Devils right wing Brian Gionta, who had just 2 points in his first 5 games this season, had 6 points in the next 5 games before New Jersey was shut out 2-0 Monday by the Buffalo Sabres. Gionta, who idolized Sabres forward Pat LaFontaine growing up, set the single-season franchise goal-scoring record with 48 in 2005-06.

* Devils left wing Zach Parise, who is tied for second in the League with 9 goals, has more goals than any other New Jersey player has points. Parise, who plays with captain Jamie Langenbrunner and Travis Zajac, is second on the team with 43 shots.

* Edmonton left wing Erik Cole, who was acquired from the Carolina Hurricanes for Joni Pitkanen this summer, leads the team with 29 hits. Cole, who has had at least 50 points in his last 3 seasons, has just 3 points in his first 11 games this season.

* Oilers right wing Ales Hemsky, who has led Edmonton in assists the last 3 seasons, is doing it again this season with 9 assists through 11 games, including 7 power-play assists. Hemsky, 25, leads the League with 8 road assists.

* The Blue Jackets, who have a 2-4-1 road record, are tied for last place in the Central Division with 10 points. Columbus, which has the worst power play in the division with a 14.3-percent success rate, is 1 of just 4 Western Conference teams with fewer than 9 power-play goals this season.

* Columbus center Derick Brassard, who leads rookies and the Blue Jackets with 11 points, had the first 2 multiple-point games of his career in his last 2 games. Brassard, selected sixth by Columbus in the 2006 Entry Draft, had 116 points in 58 games for the Drummondville Voltigeurs of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League in 2005-06. 

* St. Louis center Keith Tkachuk, who helped the United States win the 1996 World Cup of Hockey, leads the Blues with 8 goals. Tkachuk, whose nickname is Walt, after his father who played in the NHL, has a minus-5 rating.

* Blues rookie center Patrik Berglund has a team-leading plus-4 rating. Berglund, who averages just 12:54 of ice time per game, has 2 goals and 4 points in 9 games.

* Ducks center Ryan Getzlaf, who is tied for the team lead with 15 points, has 8 of his 11 assists at the Honda Center this season. Getzlaf, who has just 1 goal in 9 career games against the Blues, has scored just 1 goal at home this season.

* Anaheim left wing Chris Kunitz, who plays alongside Getzlaf and Corey Perry, leads the team with 32 hits. Kunitz averages 16:05 of ice time per game, including an average of 2:30 of power-play ice time per game.

Contact Adam Schwartz at aschwartz@nhl.com.
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