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Western Conference Notebook (Dec. 14)

by Jay Levin / Nashville Predators
The league continues to have a heavy dose of inter-conference match-ups around the Holidays with another 15 East/West contests among the 48 NHL games scheduled for the upcoming week. By week's end, the league will have played 138 of the 270 East/West inter-conference games on the '10-11 regular season schedule.


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Central Division
Blackhawks Spotlight: Chicago has struggled at home this season, posting a 8-8-0 record through its first 16 games at United Center. By comparison, the Hawks were 29-8-4 at the UC last season ... The Hawks have scored 4-or-more goals in six of their last 10 games, including three of their last four ... Chicago has been battling injuries to their forward corps. Entering the week Fernando Pisani had missed the team's last 7 games, Marian Hossa the last 6 games, Patrick Kane the last 3 games ... Captain Jonathan Toews has four multi-point games in his last six outings (4g-5a in that stretch).
Detroit's Pavel Datsyuk leads the Western Conference with 24 points scored in home games this season (8g-16a in 17 home games). Johan Franzen leads the Conference with 11 goals scored in home games this year ... Anders Lindback leads all Western Conference goaltenders with a .945 save percentage in even strength situations ... Pekka Rinne leads all NHL goaltenders with 4 shootout wins this season. Rinne also leads all goaltenders with 17 shootout saves ... There are two intra-divisional games on the schedule this week: St. Louis at Detroit on Wednesday; Detroit at Chicago on Friday ... There is just one inter-conference game on the slate this week: Nashville at New Jersey on Friday.


Northwest Division
Canucks Spotlight: The Vancouver Canuks are 6-1-1 in their last eight games to move into first place in the Divison ... Roberto Luongo has started 10 of Vancouver's last 11 games ... The Sedin twins rank No. 1 and No. 2 on the team in scoring. Daniel leads with 36 points (16g-20a), one better than Henrik (5g-30a) ... Vancouver has four defensemen averaging more than 21:30 of ice time per game, led by Alex Edler at 24:34/game.
Vancouver's Daniel Sedin leads the Western Conference with 22 road points (in 14 road games) ...On December 10, Edmonton became the first NHL team to participate in 70 career shootout games. The Oilers are 40-30 in shootouts, the third highest shootout win total in the NHL (Dallas-43, New Jersey 41) ... Calgary, Colorado, and Edmonton are all tied for the Conference lead with four shorthanded goals each ... There are two intra-divisional games scheduled for this week, a home-and-home series between Calgary and Minnesota (at Calgary on Saturday, at Minnesota on Monday) ... Northwest Division teams will play six inter-conference games this week: Toronto at Edmonton on Tuesday; Ottawa at Minnesota and Toronto at Calgary on Thursday; Ottawa at Colorado on Friday; Toronto at Vancouver on Saturday; Montreal at Colorado on Sunday.


Pacific Division
King Spotlight: LA is 4-0-1 in five games during December. The Kings have opened all three months strong with a combined 12-2-1 in the first five games in October, November, December this season. LA is 5-8-0 after the first five games of the month ... The Kings lead the Western Conference with a 2.32 goals against average. LA's defense allows the second fewest shots in the Conference (28.5 shots per game) ... The Kings have been balanced defensively this season, allowing 21 first period goals, 22 second period goals, and 21 third period goals ... LA has three forwards with 10+ goals and 20+ points: Anze Kopitar 13g-29pts, Justin Williams 10g-27pts, Dustin Brown 10g-21pts.
Anaheim's Corey Perry leads all forwards in average ice time this season (21:59 per game) ... There are only 4 defensemen with a shootout conversion this season, 3 reside in the Pacific Division: Dan Boyle (San Jose, 1-for-1), Cam Fowler (Anaheim, 1-for-1), Jack Johnson (Los Angeles, 1-for-3). Pittsburgh's Kris Letang (1-for-2) is the fourth defenseman ... Anaheim's Jonas Hiller leads the NHL with 827 saves this season ... LA's Jonathan Quick leads the Western Conference with a .933 save percentage ... Dallas forward Brad Richards leads the NHL with 4 shootout conversions this season ... San Jose rookie forward Logan Couture leads the Western Conference with 11 goals on the road this season ... Anaheim's Bobby Ryan leads the Conference with a +15 rating at home this season ... There is just one inter-divisional match-up this week: San Jose at Dallas on Thursday ... Pacific Division teams play eight inter-conference games this week: Phoenix at New Jersey and Anaheim at Washington on Wednesday; Anaheim at NY Islanders and Phoenix at NY Rangers on Thursday; Phoenix at NY Islanders and Anaheim at Carolina on Saturday; Phoenix at Pittsburgh and Anaheim at Boston on Monday.

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