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Ovechkin makes rare trip to Minnesota

by Adam Schwartz / NHL.com
Washington Capitals left wing Alexander Ovechkin plays just his third career game against the Minnesota Wild (8 p.m. ET, VERSUS, TSN2) in one of seven games on Monday's schedule.

Four early games feature the New York Rangers hosting the Phoenix Coyotes, the Philadelphia Flyers looking for their fifth straight win when they play the Dallas Stars, the Montreal Canadiens looking to rebound from a disappointing loss on Patrick Roy night when they face the New York Islanders (7:30 p.m. ET, RDS), and the Carolina Hurricanes clashing with the Florida Panthers in a Southeast Division match-up.

Two late games see the Detroit Red Wings finishing their three-game Western Canadian road trip against the Vancouver Canucks and the Colorado Avalanche visiting the Anaheim Ducks.

Here's what to watch:

* Phoenix center Shane Doan, who leads the Coyotes with 11 goals and 65 hits, is the only player in the League with at least 10 goals and 60 hits. Doan, who has been with the Coyotes franchise since they were the Winnipeg Jets, has played at least 24 minutes in two of his last three games.

* The Rangers, who are in first place in the Atlantic Division with 30 points, have allowed 10 goals in their last two games. The Rangers, who have the best penalty killing in the Eastern Conference with an 89.9-percent success rate, have scored the fewest first-period goals in the division with 13.

* Dallas center Mike Ribeiro, who played in the All-Star Game in Atlanta last season, is tied for fifth in the League with 11 even-strength assists. Ribeiro, who lists Aaron Downey as his funniest former teammate, has failed to record an assist in five of his past six games.

* Flyers left wing Simon Gagne, who missed the majority of last season with a concussion, leads the team with 25 points and a plus-10 rating. Gagne, who scored 40 goals in the two prior seasons, has 11 points in his last seven games.

* Islanders center Andy Hilbert, who never has scored more than 8 goals in a season, has 5 goals in 20 games this season. Hilbert, who has scored goals in back-to-back games just twice prior to this season, has scored in his past two games.

* The Canadiens, who are winless in regulation in their last six games, have a 5-2-1 record at the Bell Centre this season. Montreal, which is one of eight teams with at least four overtime/shootout victories, has scored 17 first-period goals, 19 second-period goals and 18 third-period goals.

* The 3 goals scored by Carolina center Eric Staal on Friday are his only goals in his last 10 games. Staal, who led the team with 38 goals last season and is leading the team with 8 goals this season, has just 8 goals in 31 career games against the Panthers.

 
* The Panthers, who have just three players with 10 points, have scored the fewest goals in the Southeast Division with 44. Florida, which is in last place in the division with 15 points, is 4-3-0 at home, but 3-8-1 on the road.  

* Washington center Tomas Fleischmann, who is tied for second on the team with 8 goals, has 4 goals in his last five games.

* Wild goalie Niklas Backstrom, who is tied for second in the League with 11 wins, leads the Northwest Division with a 2.00 goals-against average. Backstrom, who has yielded more than two goals just once in his last seven games, has faced more than 35 shots in four of his 17 games this season.

* Detroit right wing Mikael Samuelsson, who is one assist behind Brian Rafalski, Pavel Datsyuk and Marian Hossa for the team lead with 12, has 6 assists at even strength and 6 power-play assists. Samuelsson, who is averaging 15:21 of ice time per game, played more than 18 minutes for just the second time Saturday in the Red Wings' 5-2 defeat of the Calgary Flames.

* The Canucks, who are in first place in the Northwest Division with 28 points, are the only team in the division to score more than 60 goals with 66. Vancouver, which has allowed the fewest five-on-five goals in the League with 26, has the fifth-best home penalty kill in the League at 88.1.

* Ducks center Samuel Pahlsson, who plays alongside Travis Moen and Rob Niedermayer, leads Anaheim's forwards with 5:20 of shorthanded ice time per game. Pahlsson, who is used in a primarily defensive role, is a team-worst minus-7.

* Colorado left wing Wojtek Wolski, who had his third multiple-point game of the season Saturday in Colorado's 4-3 shootout victory against the Los Angeles Kings, has 3 goals in three shootout attempts this season.

Contact Adam Schwartz at aschwartz@nhl.com.
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