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Penguins and Red Wings going for third straight wins

by Adam Schwartz

Nicklas Lidstrom and the Detroit Red Wings look to take a commanding lead in their series with J.P. Dumont and the Nashville Predators tonight at the Sommet Center.
The first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs continues Monday night with three Game 3s.

The Pittsburgh Penguins look to go up 3-0 in their series against the Ottawa Senators, the Nashville Predators look to get back into their series with the Detroit Red Wings, and a leader will emerge in the deadlocked Minnesota Wild-Colorado Avalanche series.

Here's what to watch:

* The Penguins, who scored 247 goals in the regular season, the second-most in the Atlantic Division, have scored nine goals in a pair of wins against the Senators. Pittsburgh has had 10 players record a point in the two games.

* Pittsburgh center Evgeni Malkin, who was second in the League with 106 points this season, leads the League with six points in the playoffs. Malkin, whose 20:41 of ice time per game leads Penguins forwards, has three goals and eight assists for 11 points in six combined playoff and regular season games against Ottawa this season.

* Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, who has lost just two of his last 12 combined regular season and playoff games, recorded his first career playoff shutout last Wednesday in Pittsburgh's 4-0 victory in Game 1. He hasn't allowed more than two goals in a game since March 6.

* Ottawa defenseman Andrej Meszaros, who had a plus-5 rating in 20 playoff games last season, has a minus-4 rating in his last six combined regular season and playoff games. Meszaros, who was second among Ottawa defenseman with 36 points in the regular season, played just 18:11 Friday in Game 2.

* Senators defenseman Mike Commodore, who is known as a defensive defenseman, had two assists in his last game. Commodore, who helped the Carolina Hurricanes win the 2006 Stanley Cup, is one of just nine Ottawa players in the series who is not a minus player.

* Detroit goalie Dominik Hasek, who backstopped the Red Wings to the 2002 Stanley Cup, has a 5-1 combined playoff and regular season record against the Predators this season. Hasek, who has a 1.98 playoff career goals-against average, has yielded just three goals in two games against Nashville so far.

* Red Wings defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom, who had four assists and a minus-4 rating in eight regular-season games against the Predators, has one goal and one assist for two points and a plus-3 rating in Detroit's first two playoff games against Nashville. Lidstrom, who has won five of the last six Norris Trophies as the League's best defenseman, is two assists shy of 100 career playoff assists.

* Nashville right wing Martin Erat, who has scored at least 15 goals in his last four regular seasons, has scored just one goal in 16 career playoff games, including none this season. Erat, whose favorite band is Nirvana, is averaging the second-most ice time among Predators forwards in the playoffs with 19:29 per game.

* The Predators, who scored one more goal than they yielded in the regular season, have given up seven goals in their last two games. Nashville, which lost just three of their eight regular-season games against the Red Wings, has just two active players – Jason Arnott and Greg De Vries – who have won the Stanley Cup.

* Nashville defenseman Greg Zanon, who led the Central Division with 176 blocked shots in the regular season, hasn't played more than 18:08 in the playoffs. Zanon, selected No. 156 in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft, led Nashville defenseman with an average of 4:11 of shorthanded ice time per game in the regular season.

* Minnesota right wing Marian Gaborik, who had three goals and one assist for four points in five playoff games last season, has no points and a minus-2 rating in the first two games against the Avalanche. Gaborik, who has played in all 25 of the Wild's playoff games, led the Wild with 83 points in the regular season – 20 more than any other Minnesota player.

* Avalanche center Joe Sakic, who holds the franchise record with 180 playoff points, has 12 goals and 11 assists for 23 points in his last 22 playoff games. Sakic, who missed 38 games this season with hernia surgery, scored the game-winning goal in overtime and added an assist last Wednesday against Minnesota in Game 1.

* Wild defenseman Keith Carney, who scored the overtime game-winning goal in Game 2, hadn't scored a playoff goal prior to that since 1999, when he was playing with the Phoenix Coyotes. Carney, generally known as a stay-at-home defenseman, has a plus-5 rating in his last 28 playoff games.

* Colorado defenseman Adam Foote, who was re-acquired by the Avalanche from the Columbus Blue Jackets on trade-deadline day, played 25:41 in Game 1 and 22:49 in Game 2 against Minnesota, and has a plus-2 rating. Foote, who wasn't a plus player in his last nine regular-season games, has a plus-21 rating in 156 career playoff games.

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