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Western Conference Notebook (Dec. 21)

by Jay Levin / Nashville Predators
The NHL enters the Christmas Break this week, with no games scheduled on Friday (December 24) or Saturday (December 25), however the league has 13 games on tap for Thursday night and 11 games set for Sunday. Chicago and Anaheim are the only Western Conference teams not on Thursday's schedule, while Calgary, Edmonton, and San Jose are the lone Conference teams not in action on Sunday.

Interestingly, five of the eight teams in a Western Conference playoff seed have played more road games than home games at this point in the season (Anaheim, Colorado, Los Angeles, Nashville, San Jose), while only three of the seven teams outside the playoff seeding have played more road contests than home contests so far in '10-11 (Calgary, Phoenix, St. Louis).

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Central Division
Blues Spotlight: The Holiday Season has not been kind to St. Louis. The Blues were 12-5-3 heading into Thanksgiving Day and riding a three-game winning streak. Since then, the team has gone 4-7-2, defensively allowing four-or-more goals in five of those 13 games ... The Blues have four forwards on Injured Reserve -- David Perron has been out of action since Nov. 4, TJ Oshie has been out since Nov. 10, Andy McDonald has been out since Dec. 4, and injury call up Dave Scatchard has been out the last two games. McDonald, Oshie, and Perron accounted for 62 goals and 152 points for the Blues last season ... Jaroslav Halak has been a work-horse in net for St. Louis ranking fifth in the NHL in minutes played.
With 10 days remaining in the 2010 Calendar Year, Pavel Datsyuk is leading all Central Division skaters with 79 points in 2010 ... Rick Nash and Patrick Sharp are leading the division with 31 goals in the '10 calendar year ... Nash is tied for the NHL lead with 9 game-winning goals in 2010 ... Nick Lidstrom and Shea Weber have both scored 15 goals in 2010, tied for the most by an NHL defenseman in the '10 calendar year ... Jimmy Howard leads all NHL goaltenders with 41 wins during the 2010 calendar year ...  There is just one intra-conference game on the schedule this week: Ottawa at Nashville on Thursday ... There are four inter-divisional match-ups this week: Nashville at Chicago on Wednesday; Detroit at St. Louis on Thursday; Columbus at Chicago and Nashville at St. Louis on Sunday.

Northwest Division
Avalanche Spotlight: The Avalanche are 6-2-2 in December ... Matt Duchene has scored 6 goals and 12 points during the 10 games in December, while mid-season acquisition Tomas Fleischmann has added 5 goals and 11 points in his first 10 games with the Avalanche ... Defensively John-Michael Liles has scored 28 points this season, most among Western Conference defensemen ... Goaltender Craig Anderson has a 2.57 goals against average and .923 save percentage in his wins, compared to a 3.84 GAA and .872 SV% in his losses ... Only three Avs skaters are averaging over 20:00 of ice time, and none are skating more than 22:30.
Vancouver's Henrik Sedin is leading the Western Conference with 96 points during the 2010 calendar year. Daniel Sedin is second in the conference with 94 points ... Daniel Sedin leads the Western Conference with 35 goals during the 2010 calendar year ... Roberto Luongo leads the division with 36 wins during 2010, second most in the NHL during that time frame ... There is one intra-conference match-up scheduled for this week: Buffalo at Calgary on Monday ... There are two inter-divisional games on tap this week: Minnesota at Colorado on Thursday; Edmonton at Vancouver on Sunday.

Pacific Division
Ducks Spotlight: Anaheim enters the week having played more games than any team in the NHL (38), three more than any other Western Conference team ... The Ducks are five games in to a seven game road trip, with stops at LA and Phoenix to close out the road swing. Anaheim went 2-3-0 during the Eastern Conference portion of the road trip, with the two Western Conference opponents remaining ... After falling a game below .500 with a loss to Chicago on Nov. 26, the Ducks have rebounded to post a 8-5-1 mark in the 14 games since ... Corey Perry leads the Western Conference with 41 points this season. Perry has 11 points (6g-5a) in his last 6 games.
Brad Richards leads Pacific Division skaters with 83 points during the 2010 calendar year ... Anze Kopitar leads the division with 32 goals during 2010 ... Jonas Hiller and Jonathan Quick are tied for the division lead with 34 wins during the 2010 calendar year ... There are no intra-conference games involving Pacific Division teams this week ... There are four inter-divisional match-ups on the schedule: Phoenix at San Jose on Thursday; Phoenix at Dallas and Anaheim at Los Angeles on Sunday; Los Angeles at San Jose on Monday.
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