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New faces to debut in new places

by Adam Schwartz

Veteran Cory Stillman makes his debut for the Ottawa Senators tonight when they host the Buffalo Sabres at Scotiabank Place.
After just one game Monday night, the NHL returns in full force Tuesday night with nine games.

The night kicks off at 7 p.m. when the Carolina Hurricanes play the Boston Bruins, the Philadelphia Flyers visit the New York Islanders and the Montreal Canadiens face off against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Later, the Buffalo Sabres face the Ottawa Senators, the Nashville Predators host the Detroit Red Wings and the Los Angeles Kings visit the St. Louis Blues.

Three late games pit the Minnesota Wild against the Edmonton Oilers, the Anaheim Ducks against the Colorado Avalanche and the San Jose Sharks against the Calgary Flames.

Here’s what to watch:

Eaves

* On Monday the Hurricanes acquired defenseman Joe Corvo and Patrick Eaves from Ottawa. Eaves is sidelined with a shoulder injury, but Corvo, a mobile defenseman, is expected to make his Carolina debut Tuesday night in Boston.

* The Bruins are one of just three Eastern Conference teams – the Islanders and the New York Rangers are the others – that don’t have a 20-goal scorer.

* Flyers forward R.J. Umberger, who played for Ohio State University, has the second highest plus-minus rating among Philadelphia forwards with a plus-8 rating while averaging 17:52 of ice time. Last season, Umberger was a League-worst minus-32.

* After being in the thick of the playoff race, the Islanders have lost seven games in a row and are just three points ahead of the last-place Lightning in the Eastern Conference.

* Montreal right wing Alex Kovalev has rebounded this season after having a sub-par 2006-07 season. With 54 points in 56 games, Kovalev is on pace for a 79-point season, which would be his highest point total since he scored 44 goals and added 51 assists for 95 points in 2000-01 with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

* Tampa Bay right wing Martin St. Louis, who wears No. 26 as a tribute to former Montreal center Mats Naslund, has one goal and six assists for seven points in his last five games.

* The Sabres have won three of their last four games and suddenly find themselves a point out of a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

Heatley

* Ottawa’s Pizza Line of Jason Spezza (three goals, three assists), Daniel Alfredsson (two goals, three assists) and Dany Heatley (one goal, three assists), which was reunited Thursday when Heatley returned to the lineup from a shoulder injury, accounted for all of the Senators goals in Ottawa’s 6-1 victory against the Canadiens.

* After flying from Boston to Raleigh to pick up their passports, the newest Senators, forward Cory Stillman and defenseman Mike Commodore, are expected to play tonight.

* Despite having the best record in the League at 41-12-5 through 58 games, the Red Wings have just a 7-7-2 divisional record.

* Nashville’s top line of Jason Arnott, Alexander Radulov and J.P. Dumont combined for seven points Sunday in the Predators’ 6-3 win against the Phoenix Coyotes.

* Kings defenseman Jack Johnson, who was drafted No. 3 overall in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft by the Hurricanes, played more than 30 minutes for the first time in his career Sunday in the Kings’ 3-2 shootout victory against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

* Blues forward Brad Boyes has reached a career-high with 30 goals this season.

* Minnesota defenseman Brent Burns, whose first job was as a paperboy, has the second-most points among Northwest Division defensemen with 30 points, on 10 goals and 20 assists.

* Oilers goalie Mathieu Garon’s .920 save percentage is the second-highest in the Northwest Division – only Roberto Luongo of Vancouver is better, with a .922 save percentage.

* No Edmonton player has more than 80 hits and no Oilers defenseman has 70 hits.

Perry

* Anaheim right wing Corey Perry has the most shots on goal by any player in the Pacific Division with 176, but also has the most missed shots among Pacific Division skaters with 76.

* Colorado goalie Jose Theodore, who plays guitar, has won his last three games and has only yielded four goals while facing 67 shots during that span.

* Avalanche left wing Andrew Brunette, who has scored at least 20 goals in four different seasons, hasn’t scored a goal in his last five contests.

* Calgary defenseman David Hale, who was drafted No. 22 overall in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft, will play in his 200th NHL regular-season game Tuesday night. The 26-year-old backliner has never finished a season with a minus rating.

* San Jose center Joe Thornton leads the Sharks with 66 points, which is 30 more than anyone other San Jose player.

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