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Streaking Devils host East's best

by Adam Schwartz
The red-hot Devils, who have won seven of their last nine games, host the Eastern Conference-leading Bruins (7 p.m. ET, VERSUS, TSN2) in one of 13 games Tuesday night.

In four other 7 p.m. starts, the Islanders host the Thrashers; the Rangers go for their fourth win in five games when they face the Capitals; the Flyers take on the Senators; and the Kings conclude a three-game road trip in Columbus.

A half-hour later the Stars travel to Toronto; the Penguins try for their third win in four games when they face the Lightning (7:30 p.m. ET, RDS); the Predators play the Panthers; and the Red Wings renew their Central Division rivalry with the Blues.

Later, the Wild try to avoid losing for the eighth time in nine games when they face the Hurricanes; the Avalanche begin a three-game homestand when they play the Coyotes; the Calgary Flames continue their five-game homestand when they host the Ducks; and two division leaders clash when the Canucks play the Sharks.

Here's what to watch:

* New Jersey left wing Patrik Elias, who had 55 points in 74 games last season, currently is second on the team with 37 points through just 31 games, putting him on pace for 98 points. Elias, who holds the franchise record with 385 assists, has 9 goals and 17 points during his current 10-game point streak.

* Bruins center David Krejci, who had 27 points in 56 games last season, is third on the team this season with 36 points in 33 games. Krejci, who averaged 14:55 of ice time last season, is averaging 16:40 this season.

* San Jose, which leads the League with 55 points, has the best power play in the Pacific Division, at 22.5 percent. The Sharks, who also have the best penalty kill in the division at 86.0 percent, have a 10-2-1 record when the opposition scores first.

* Thrashers left wing Ilya Kovalchuk, who has scored 40 goals his last four seasons, is on pace for just 27 this season. Kovalchuk has a career minus-82 rating, including a minus-9 mark this season.

* Anaheim defenseman Chris Pronger, who leads Ducks defensemen with 20 points, is sixth in the League with an average ice time 26:31 per game. Pronger, who has played at least 29 minutes in his last two games, has been held pointless in six of his last seven games.

* Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom, who had just 1 point in his first six games this season, has 7 assists and 10 points in his last seven games. Backstrom, who plays on a line with Alex Ovechkin, is tied -- with Ovechkin -- for the Southeast Division lead with 24 assists.

* Philadelphia left wing Scott Hartnell, who plays on a line with Joffrey Lupul and Jeff Carter, is one of five Flyers with at least 13 goals. Hartnell, who has 5 points in his last two games, has 4 goals and 7 points in 11 career games against the Senators.

* Columbus center R.J. Umberger, who was traded to the Blue Jackets from the Flyers for two draft picks in June, has 2 goals and 4 points in his last three games. Umberger, who averages the third-most ice time among Blue Jackets forwards at 18:41 per game, is second on the team with 214 faceoff wins.

* Toronto right wing Nik Antropov, who plays alongside Alexei Ponikarovsky, is tied for the team lead with 29 points. Antropov, who has only played Dallas four times in his nine-season career, has 6 assists and 9 points in his last four games.

* Penguins defenseman Alex Goligoski, who played for United States at the 2005 World Junior Championship, leads rookie defensemen with 18 points. Goligoski, who had 3 points Monday in the Penguins 4-3 win against the Sabres, leads Atlantic Division rookie defensemen with an average ice time of 19:02 per game.

* Nashville, which currently holds the last playoff spot in the Western Conference with 35 points, doesn't have a player with 30 points. The Predators, who are one of just three teams that haven't won a playoff series in their history, has a 9-3-3 record in one-goal games.

* Red Wings center Pavel Datsyuk, who leads the team with 34 points, is second in the League with 39 takeaways. Datsyuk, who has 6 assists and 9 points in his last four games, has 32 assists and 45 points in 38 career games against the Blues.

* Carolina left wing Ray Whitney, who leads the team with 27 points, has the second-worst plus-minus rating on the team at minus-10. Whitney, 36, has had seven 60-point seasons and is on pace for 65 this season.

* The Coyotes, who are seventh in the Western Conference with 36 points, have scored the fewest first-period goals in the Pacific Division, with 25. Phoenix, which had a 6-7-2 record in November, has a 5-3-2 record in December.

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