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Vancouver, Minnesota playing for Northwest lead

by Adam Schwartz
After a busy Thanksgiving weekend in the United States, the Minnesota Wild face the Colorado Avalanche (8 p.m. ET, VERSUS, TSN2) in one of five games tonight.

In addition to the Minnesota-Colorado game, the Vancouver Canucks play the second game of a seven-game road trip when they visit the Columbus Blue Jackets. Vancouver currently leads the Northwest Division by a point over Minnesota and Calgary, but that could change by the end of the night.

Also tonight, the Nashville Predators visit Buffalo, the Anaheim Ducks go for their fifth consecutive win when they face the Central Division-leading Detroit Red Wings, and the Toronto Maple Leafs play their first game in a three-game Pacific Division road trip against the Los Angeles Kings.

Here's what to watch:

* Predators right wing J-P Dumont, who has just 2 assists in his last six games, leads the Central Division with 18 assists. Dumont, who plays alongside captain Jason Arnott, played fewer than 15 minutes for just the second time this season Saturday in Nashville's 6-2 loss to the Wild.

* Buffalo center Derek Roy, whose favorite team growing up was the Red Wings, leads Northeast Division forwards with an average ice time of 21:49. Roy, who has 4 goals and 9 points in his last eight games, has 3 assists, 4 points and a plus-5 rating in two career games against the Predators.

* Canucks center Henrik Sedin, who plays alongside twin brother Daniel and Pavol Demitra, leads the Northwest Division with 19 assists. Henrik, who recorded his 400th career point last Thursday in Vancouver's 4-3 loss to the Calgary Flames, has seven multiple-point games this season.

* Columbus enters tonight one point behind Nashville for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. The Blue Jackets, who have a 3-3-3 record in one-goal games, have the worst power play in the League, at 9.9 percent.

* Ducks center Ryan Getzlaf, who leads the Pacific Division and is tied for third in the League with 31 points, is in the midst of an eight-game point streak during which he has 8 assists and 12 points. Getzlaf, who had a career-high 82 points last season, is on pace for 105 this season.

* Detroit, which has an eight-point lead in the Central Division, has lost three of its last four games and has allowed at least three goals in each game during that span. The Red Wings, who have the best power play in the League at 32.3 percent, have a middling shorthanded unit, which is 16th in the NHL and third in the Central Division at 81.7 percent.

* Avalanche right wing Milan Hejduk, who has had at least 30 assists in seven seasons, has just 6 assists in 23 games this season. Hejduk, who has never finished a season as a minus player and has a career plus-149 rating, is a minus-7 this season.

* Colorado left wing Wojtek Wolski, who has scored 18 and 22 goals in his previous two seasons, had just 2 goals in his first 21 games this season before scoring twice Saturday night in the Avalanche's 4-3 win against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

* Wild defenseman Marek Zidlicky, who was traded to Minnesota by Nashville for prospect Ryan Jones and a second-round pick this summer, is averaging the second-most ice time on the team at 22:10 per game. Zidlicky, who is tied for the lead among Wild defensemen with 3 goals, averages 3:40 of power-play ice time per game.

* Toronto defenseman Ian White, who signed a three-year contract extension last summer, leads Leafs defensemen with a plus-4 rating. White, who has 7 points in 12 games this season, has been held pointless in his last four games.

* The Maple Leafs, who are the only team in the Northeast Division with seven players with at least 15 points, have the second-most overtime/shootout losses in the League with six. Toronto, which is just two points ahead of the Ottawa Senators for last place in the division, has scored the most power-play goals in the division with 23. 

* Los Angeles right wing Dustin Brown, who has three dogs named Macy, Bailey and Milo, is one of just three players in the League with 70 hits and 8 goals. Brown, a minus-44 in his last three seasons, has a plus-1 rating in 22 games this season.
* The Kings, who don't have a player with 20 points yet, are one of just three Western Conference teams who haven't scored 60 goals yet this season. Los Angeles, which is playing its Pacific-Division leading 16th home game Monday, has a 7-5-3 home record.
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