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Thirteen games highlight Saturday's action

by Adam Schwartz
With the NHL season in full swing there is plenty of action to keep tabs on. Saturday, 26 of the League's 30 teams take the ice.

The lone matinee sees the Colorado Avalanche face off against the Dallas Stars. At 7 p.m. the Phoenix Coyotes meet the Montreal Canadiens, the Boston Bruins visit the Ottawa Senators, the Toronto Maple Leafs travel to Pittsburgh, the New Jersey Devils conclude a four-game road trip in Washington, the Atlanta Thrashers host the Buffalo Sabres, the New York Islanders begin a two-game Florida road trip against the Panthers and the New York Rangers pay a visit to the Detroit Red Wings.

In addition, the Minnesota Wild face the Lightning, the Columbus Blue Jackets take on the Predators, the Chicago Blackhawks renew their rivalry with the St. Louis Blues, the Calgary Flames play the second half of their home-and-home series with the Edmonton Oilers and the Philadelphia Flyers play the first half of a cross-country, home-and-home series with the San Jose Sharks.

Here's what to watch:

 * After Colorado goalie Peter Budaj allowed 13 goals while facing 74 shots in the Avalanche's first 3 games, coach Tony Granato decided to make a change and started Andrew Raycroft, who allowed just 2 goals while facing 18 shots. The Avalanche won their first game of the season 5-2 against the Flyers Thursday.

* Dallas center Brenden Morrow has 2 assists and 3 points, but a minus-3 rating in his first 4 games this season. Morrow, who was the only player in the League with 70 points and 100 penalty minutes last season, never had more than 65 points in a season before last season when he had 74.

* Montreal goalie Carey Price, who became the Habs' starting goalie after they traded Cristobal Huet at the trade deadline last season, has allowed just 7 goals while facing 102 shots in his first 3 games of the season. Price, selected No. 5 by the Canadiens in the 2005 Entry Draft, has faced at least 30 shots in 2 of the 3 Montreal games this season.

* Capitals left wing Alexander Ovechkin has no assists and has scored in just one of Washington's 4 games this season. Ovechkin, who won the Hart, Art Ross and Maurice "Rocket" Richard trophies last season, has played at least 23 minutes in each game this season.

* Boston goalie Tim Thomas, who has allowed 7 goals on 67 shots this season, has not lost in regulation. Thomas, who faced 1,731 shots last season, led the Northeast Division with a .921 save percentage.

* Panthers right wing Nathan Horton, who had 62 points in each of his last two seasons, has 2 assists and 3 points in his first 3 games this season. Horton, who knew Marty McSorley growing up, had a minus-3 rating in Florida's season-opening 6-4 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes.

* Red Wings right wing Tomas Holmstrom, who finished tied for fourth on the team with 20 goals last season, leads Detroit with 4 goals this season. Holmstrom, who played with Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk during the playoffs last season, has played all 762 of his NHL games with the Red Wings.

* Penguins center Evgeni Malkin, who has 14 assists and 19 points in 8 career games against the Maple Leafs, had 3 points, but a minus-1 rating, Thursday in a 4-3 loss to the Capitals. Malkin, who was nominated for the Hart Trophy as the NHL's most valuable player, had a plus-16 rating last season.

* Minnesota defenseman Brent Burns, who led Wild defensemen with 43 points last season, has 1 point in 3 games this season. Burns, who had the third best plus-minus rating on the team last season with a plus-12 rating, has a minus-2 rating this season.

* Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane, who won the Calder Trophy as the League's top rookie last season, has a minus-4 rating in his last 3 games. Kane, who was selected No. 1 in the 2007 Entry Draft, hasn't scored a goal in his last 3 games.

* Islanders right wing Trent Hunter, who is second on the team with 13 hits, has 6 assists and 10 points in 14 career games against the Panthers. Hunter, who is tied for the team lead with 11 shots on goal, was tied for the second worst plus-minus on the team with a minus-17 rating last season.

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