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Red-hot Ovechkin hoping to feast on Canadiens again

by Adam Kimelman /
Get your Black Friday shopping done early -- or stay home and hit -- and then settle in for some great prime-time ice action tonight.

While there are five afternoon games, the highlight of the night-time slate will be the Capitals hosting the Canadiens (7 p.m. ET, NHLN-CA).

Other action sees the Penguins in Buffalo, Nashville in Atlanta, the Rangers at Florida, Columbus at Detroit and San Jose at Dallas.

Here's what to watch for tonight:

* Despite missing seven regulars, the Capitals beat the Thrashers on Wednesday behind 3 goals and an assist from Alex Ovechkin. The Caps have won six straight at home, and a win tonight would give them their first seven-game home win streak since 2000.

* Ovechkin has 21 points in his nine-game scoring streak, and has a good chance to make it 10 games against Montreal. In his last game against the Canadiens, Ovechkin scored four times -- including the overtime winner -- plus had an assist in a 5-4 win Jan. 31. He has 16 points in 12 games against Montreal.

* Canadiens goalie Carey Price has allowed two goals or fewer in six straight starts, including coming within 6:29 of a shutout Wednesday against the Red Wings.

* Evgeni Malkin, the League's leading scorer with 35 points, had a goal and 3 assists the last time the Penguins faced the Sabres, on Nov. 15.

* The Sabres will be happy to see November come to an end. After starting the month with a pair of wins, they're 2-6-1 since, including a five-game losing streak, which they snapped with a win against the Bruins on Wednesday. After tonight's game, they close the month with a game in Montreal on Saturday.

* Sabres center Derek Roy has 4 goals in his last three games, and he has 8 points in 14 career games against the Penguins.

* The Predators took a season-high 47 shots and allowed a season-low 17, but it wasn't good enough as they dropped a 1-0 shootout decision to the Blues.

* With 10 goals in 21 games, Predators defenseman Shea Weber is on pace for 39 goals, which would be the most for a defenseman since Edmonton's Paul Coffey had 48 in 1985-86.

* Expect to see Johan Hedberg in net for the Thrashers tonight. Hedberg has won four of his last five games, posting a 3.01 goals-against average in that span. He's 1-1-0 with a tie and a 2.27 GAA in three lifetime starts against the Predators.

* Rangers forward Markus Naslund had his first two-goal as Ranger in Wednesday's win against the Lightning. It was his first multi-goal game since Feb. 5, a span of 52 games.

* Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist is 6-2-0 with a 1.85 GAA and three shutouts in eight starts against the Panthers, and he's 5-1-1 with a 2.13 GAA on the road this season. Tonight's game will be at Florida's Bank Atlantic Center before the teams move to Madison Square Garden for the rematch Sunday.

* Panthers defenseman Jay Bouwmeester, who had a career-best 15 goals last season, scored his first of this season Wednesday against the Devils.

* Since Columbus entered the League in the 2000-01 season, Detroit has gone 17-3-2 against them at Joe Louis Arena. All-time, the Red Wings are 33-8-3 with one tie all-time against the Blue Jackets.

* The Red Wings have the League's best power play, at 31.8 percent, while the Blue Jackets have the League's worst, at 10.8 percent. Columbus is 1-for-21 with the extra man in its last five games.

* Columbus captain Rick Nash had his five-game goal-scoring streak snapped in Wednesday's loss against Phoenix, but he has 15 goals and 31 points in 32 games against the Red Wings, and has at least a point in eight straight games against them.

* The Stars, which eliminated the Sharks in six games in the second round of last season's playoffs, will try to win consecutive games for the first time this season tonight. The Sharks, though, have won five straight games.

* Sharks captain Patrick Marleau, who had just 19 goals, 48 points and a minus-19 rating last season, now has 11 goals, 25 points and a plus-11 rating in 22 games this season. He had a nine points during his current six-game point streak.

* Third-year forward Loui Eriksson leads the Stars with 10 goals, including the game-winner in Wednesday's victory against the Wild.

Contact Adam Kimelman at

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