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Lots on tap with nine games scheduled Thursday

by Adam Schwartz
The Senators try to get back on track after losing to the Devils on Tuesday when they face the injury-ravaged Blues (8:30 p.m. ET, NHLN) in one of nine games Thursday night.

Five early games features two division leaders battling it out when the Bruins host the Devils; the Hurricanes host the Lightning in a Southeast Division clash; the Islanders visit the Thrashers; the Panthers look to retain the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference when they face the Canadiens (7 p.m. ET, TSN, RDS), and the Stars play the Red Wings in a rematch of last season's Western Conference Finals.

Later, the Maple Leafs try to avoid their fifth consecutive loss when they are in Colorado; the Blackhawks continue their eight-game road trip in Los Angeles; and the Coyotes try to hand the Sharks their second regulation home loss.

Here's what to watch:

* New Jersey right wing David Clarkson, who plays on a line with Brian Rolston and John Madden, is one of seven Devils with at least 10 goals. Clarkson, who is one of only two players in the League with at least 20 points and 90 penalty minutes, has 3 goals and 5 points in his last seven games.

* Sharks left wing Ryane Clowe, who is one of three Sharks with at least 19 goals, has 6 assists and 8 points in his last six games, including a four-assist effort Jan. 17 in San Jose's 6-5 win against Detroit. Clowe, who had an assist in his last game against the Coyotes, has a plus-5 rating at home.

* Carolina, which is within one point of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, is tied for the second-most wins in one-goal games with 16. The Hurricanes, who lead the League with 689 missed shots, have scored the fewest goals in the Southeast Division with 122.

* Blackhawks center Patrick Kane, who is second on the team with 17 goals, snapped his season-long 12 game goal drought Wednesday in Chicago's 3-2 win against Anaheim. Kane, who started for the Western Conference at the All-Star Game, has no assists in his last eight games.

* Colorado goalie Peter Budaj, who has Ned Flanders adorned in a Slovakian jersey painted on the back of his mask, has allowed 4 goals in three of his last five games. Budaj, who has only won one of his last five decisions, but in his lone game against the Maple Leafs, allowed just one goal Oct. 18, 2006 in Colorado's 4-1 victory.

* Islanders right wing Trent Hunter, who leads the team with 111 hits, has been held pointless in nine of his last 11 games. Hunter, who is second on the team with 11 goals, has 8 goals and 15 points in 19 career games against the Thrashers.

* Panthers left wing David Booth, who had 22 goals in 73 games last season, has 20 goals in 43 games this season, putting him on pace to for 37. Booth, who averaged 16:10 of ice time last season, has seen a moderate increase to 17:27 this season.

* Montreal left wing Andrei Kostitsyn, who plays on a line with his brother Sergei and Robert Lang, is tied for the team lead with 16 goals. Andrei, who only has 1 game-winning goal this season, had 2 goals in his last game against the Panthers.

* Stars center Mike Modano, who holds the franchise records of 542 goals and 1,312 points, has 3 points in his last five games, but also has a minus-3 rating during that span. Modano, who has scored 20 goals in 11 of his last 12 seasons, is second on the team with 14 goals.

* Detroit left wing Henrik Zetterberg, who signed a 12-year contract extension Wednesday, has 19 assists and 23 points in 21 career games against Dallas. Zetterberg, who won the Conn Smythe Trophy last season, has 7 assists and 9 points in nine Thursday games.

* Senators center Jason Spezza, who has had at least 50 assists in each of his last three seasons, has just 20 assists in 45 games this season, putting him pace for just 36. Spezza, who switched from a wooden stick to a composite model this season, has 4 assists and 5 points in his last five games.

* St. Louis, which is 10-8-1 when outshooting an opponent, is 6-14-2 when being outshot. The Blues, who currently have seven players on injured reserve, have the best home power play in the Western Conference, at 26.8 percent. 

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