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Surging Rangers, Kings face tough foes on NHLN-US

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Hockey fans in the U.S. can tune in Saturday to the NHL Network for a doubleheader featuring three of the League's Original Six teams and four of the top goaltenders in the NHL.

Each of the four teams features a No. 1 goalie who is in the top 11 in the League in goals against average among netminders with at least 10 appearances.

The action starts at 4 p.m. ET when the Detroit Red Wings come to Staples Center for an afternoon game against the Los Angeles Kings. The Wings have dropped the first two games of their road trip, including a 5-2 loss at San Jose on Thursday. The Kings completed a home-and-home sweep Thursday of their Southern California rivals by winning 5-3 in Anaheim.

Los Angeles has moved past Dallas into the top spot in the Pacific Division. Anze Kopitar has been on the fringes of the discussion about the best players in the NHL for the past few seasons, but he is having a great start to this campaign.

Kopitar leads the Kings with nine goals and 23 points, which is tied for third in the NHL behind Toronto's Phil Kessel and Buffalo's Thomas Vanek. Mike Richards and Simon Gagne were the Kings' marquee offseason additions, and they are both among the team's top four scorers with 15 and 13 points, respectively.

Los Angeles goaltender Jonathan Quick continues to be among the League's top goaltenders after a scorching-hot start to the season, and he's fourth among netminders with at least 10 appearances with a 1.96 goals against average.

Quick will see one of the three goaltenders ahead of him on the other bench. Detroit's Jimmy Howard has sparkled this season, and has kept the Red Wings afloat when some of the team's top stars have not been scoring at their typical pace.

One of Detroit's stars who is producing is 41-year-old defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom. He has six goals (one off the League lead at the position) and 13 points. If Lidstrom can continue to play this well, he could have a chance to claim the Norris trophy for an eighth time, which would tie Bobby Orr for the most in League history.

At 7 p.m. ET, the action moves east, with the New York Rangers visiting the Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre. The Rangers will be looking for their eighth win in a row -- they made it seven straight by beating the New York Islanders 4-2 on Tuesday. The Canadiens also are coming off a game against the Islanders -- a 4-3 loss on Long Island on Thursday.

The Rangers, along with the Boston Bruins, have matched the longest winning streak by a team this season (the Washington Capitals also won seven straight). New York has allowed only 11 goals during this winning streak, but is hasn't just been Henrik Lundqvist – backup Martin Biron has stopped 47 of 49 shots in two starts.

Marian Gaborik leads the Rangers with nine goals and 16 points, while top free agent Brad Richards has six goals and 13 points.

Montreal has rallied from a terrible start to the season, and the Canadiens could be in a three-way tie for seventh place in the Eastern Conference at 21 points with the right results Saturday. Tomas Plekanec leads the Canadiens offense with 18 points, but the surprise has come on defense where Montreal is without four regulars, but young players like Raphael Diaz and Alexei Emelin have performed admirably with stalwarts Andrei Markov, Hal Gill and Jaroslav Spacek not available.

Carey Price is having another solid season, his second as the undisputed No. 1 guy in Montreal. He has a .913 save percentage and a 2.29 goals against average. Price proved he was a workhorse last season, and he's one start off the League lead with 16.
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