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Luongo goes for fourth straight shutout vs. Avalanche

by Adam Schwartz /
The Vancouver Canucks look to regain their Northwest Division lead when they battle the Colorado Avalanche (10 p.m. ET, TSN, RIS) as part of the NHL's six-game docket Wednesday night. Roberto Luongo is riding a streak of three consecutive shutouts and has stopped 81 shots during that span.

Three 7 p.m. starts feature the Buffalo Sabres hosting the St. Louis Blues, who are looking to end their five-game losing streak; the battered New Jersey Devils renewing their rivalry with the New York Rangers; and the Phoenix Coyotes traveling to Columbus.

Later, the Florida Panthers play the Tampa Bay Lightning, and the Boston Bruins visit the Chicago Blackhawks, who will be celebrating the retirement of No. 3 for Pierre Pilote and the late Keith Magnuson.

Here's what to watch:

* Blues center Andy McDonald, who was traded from the Anaheim Ducks last season for a package which included Doug Weight, leads the team with 16 points. McDonald, who has 8 points at home and 8 points on the road, has a minus-7 rating, including a minus-2 rating in his last 2 games.

* The Sabres, who have lost their last two games and have slipped to a tie for fifth place in the Eastern Conference with 19 points, have allowed 33 goals, the fewest allowed in the highly competitive Northeast Division. Buffalo averages 29.6 shots for and 29.6 shots against per game.

* Rangers right wing Nikolai Zherdev, who leads the team with 14 points, has been held pointless in four of his last five games and has a minus-2 rating during that span. Zherdev, who never has had a plus-minus rating better than minus-9 in a season, has a plus-9 rating this season.

* Phoenix captain Shane Doan, who set the all-time franchise record for game-winning goals this season with 41, is third in the Western Conference with 49 hits. Doan, who tried to pattern his game after Cam Neely while growing up, is tied for the team lead with 44 shots on net.

* Florida left wing David Booth, a fan favorite at the BankAtlantic Center, has 6 points and a plus-7 rating in 14 career games against the Lightning. Booth, who leads the team with 7 goals this season, scored all three goals Sunday in the Panthers' 3-1 victory against the Ducks.

* Lightning defenseman Mike Lundin, who played for the Eastern Conference in the 2008 YoungStars Game as a rookie last season, leads the team with 32 blocked shots. Lundin, one of just three players to play 81 games for the Lightning last season, has played more than 20 minutes in just one of his last six games.

* The Devils, who lost their first game against the Rangers this season 4-1, haven't beaten the Rangers in regulation since Feb. 20, 2007, when they won 2-1 at the Meadowlands. New Jersey, which has a League-high nine injured players, has lost three of four games since losing goalie Martin Brodeur to a torn biceps tendon.

* Columbus left wing Jason Chimera, who scored his first goal as a Blue Jacket in his first game with the team, is tied for second on the squad with 5 goals. Chimera, who has never scored more than 17 goals in a season, is on pace to score 27 this season.     

* No Canuck that has played in at least 10 of the club's 15 games this season is a minus player. Vancouver, which has six players with at least 4 goals, has 48 goals, the second-most goals in the Northwest Division.     

* Boston right wing Phil Kessel, who scored more goals than any other player in the U.S. National Team Developmental Program with 104, leads the Bruins with 7 goals. Kessel, the fifth pick of the 2006 Entry Draft, has played less than 19 minutes in each of his last five games.

* Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane, who won last season's Calder Trophy, has had multiple-point games in three of his last four games and has 9 points during that span. Kane, who had just 1 assist in his first four games this season, has 10 in his last nine games.

* Colorado right wing Milan Hejduk, selected in the fourth round of the 1994 Entry Draft, is tied for the team lead with 13 points. Hejduk, in his 10th season with the Avalanche, has 33 goals, 52 points and a plus-16 rating in 55 career games against the Canucks.

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