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NHL • Saturday Service Plays • 2/6/16

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    Preview: Washington at New Jersey

    When: 1:00 PM ET, Saturday, February 6, 2016
    Where: Prudential Center, Newark, New Jersey

    It’s scary to imagine that Alex Ovechkin and Braden Holtby – the best players on the NHL’s top team – might be even better when the Washington Capitals visit the New Jersey Devils on Saturday. Both admitted to being a bit rusty after Thursday’s 3-2 victory over the New York Islanders in their first regular-season game in more than a week, but that didn’t prevent Ovechkin from scoring the game-winner and Holtby – the Vezina Trophy favorite – from making 24 saves.

    Washington coach Barry Trotz opted not to play Holtby in Tuesday’s 5-2 loss to Florida after he competed in the All-Star Game on Sunday while Ovechkin was suspended for missing the All-Star Game because of a lower-body injury. “The first (period) felt like it was the first day after summer,” Holtby told reporters, while Ovechkin said: “Practicing is one thing, but when you’re playing, it’s a totally different thing, a different level. It was a little bit hard, but at the end, I just kept rolling and we did our job.” The Capitals lead the Metropolitan Division by 15 points over the New York Rangers and the NHL’s most prolific team is also a league-best 17-5-2 on the road. New Jersey is tied for third in the Metropolitan with the Islanders – but have played three more games than New York – while among eight teams ranging from 52-58 points fighting for three playoff spots in the tight Eastern Conference playoff race through Thursday.

    TV: 1 p.m. ET, CSN DC (Washington), MSG Plus (New Jersey)

    ABOUT THE CAPITALS (36-9-4): Andre Burakovsky has scored in four straight games (five goals) and has nine this season – matching his total from his rookie season of 2014-15 and prompting Trotz to tell reporters: “I think when you’ve got confidence, you want the puck and the puck wants you.” Ovechkin has plenty of support as six teammates range from 13 to 17 goals including two of the premier playmakers in the NHL in Evgeny Kuznetsov (team-best 51 points), who was third in the league in assists with 36 entering Friday, and Nicklas Backstrom (31 assists, 48 points). Trotz said Holtby (31-5-3, .928 save percentage, 2.07 goals-against average), who has lost once in regulation since Nov. 10 and is 23-1-3 since, will also start Sunday versus Philadelphia.

    ABOUT THE DEVILS (26-20-6): New Jersey is 5-1-1 in its last seven games after Thursday’s 3-2 shootout loss in Toronto as it continues to surprise many by remaining in the postseason picture. The Devils are receiving solid goaltending from Cory Schneider (23-15-5, .929, 2.03), who has won five of his last six games but did not play against Toronto after defeating the New York Rangers 3-2 on Tuesday. Michael Cammalleri, who has a club-most 24 assists and shares the team lead in points with Lee Stempniak at 38, will miss his third straight game because of a hand injury.


    1. Washington leads the NHL at 3.29 goals per game and is one of two teams averaging better than three (Dallas 3.25) while New Jersey averages the second-fewest at 2.25.

    2. The Capitals boast the league’s best power play at 25 percent, but hasn’t scored in three games (0-for-12).

    3. Washington has won four straight meetings, including 5-3 on Oct. 10 in the first of four encounters this season.

    PREDICTION: Capitals 3, Devils 2


    Preview: NY Rangers at Philadelphia

    When: 1:00 PM ET, Saturday, February 6, 2016
    Where: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

    Philadelphia Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds has been scorching hot of late and a date with the New York Rangers isn’t expected to slow him down. With six goals and three assists during his five-game point streak, Simmonds looks to send the Flyers to their fourth straight win on Saturday afternoon when they host the Metropolitan Division-rival Rangers.

    Simmonds scored two goals and set up another as Philadelphia improved to 8-3-1 in its last 12 with a 6-3 win over Nashville on Thursday. The 27-year-old recorded the same line in the Flyers’ 3-0 triumph over New York on Nov. 28 and also tallied in a 3-2 shootout loss to the Rangers on Jan. 16. New York’s J.T. Miller is also enjoying a white-hot stretch, collecting eight goals and an assist in his last eight games – with one of each coming in a 4-2 victory over Minnesota on Thursday. The 22-year-old Miller has 16 goals in 51 contests this season, one more than he had in his first 114 NHL games.

    TV: 1 p.m. ET, MSG (New York), CSN Philadelphia

    ABOUT THE RANGERS (28-18-5): Defenseman Kevin Klein initially feared the worst when he jammed his thumb into the boards in Tuesday’s 3-2 loss to New Jersey, but was relieved to hear positive news from the team doctors. “After the game, when the (doctors) were going through what possibly could happen, I was not happy obviously,” the 31-year-old Klein told the New York Daily News on Friday. “Most of the time it goes the other way. This time it went the right way. So I’m happy with that.” While Klein is expected to return on Saturday, top-line forward Rick Nash will miss the contest with a left leg bone bruise.

    ABOUT THE FLYERS (23-18-8): Second-line center Sean Couturier is expected to miss the next four weeks with a lower-body injury, the team announced on Friday. “(Couturier) is a big loss to our team, but we’ve got a bunch of guys here that believe in what we’re doing,” coach Dave Hakstol told The Courier Post. “Everybody’s gonna have to chip in and take a little bit of that slack. One guy’s not gonna step into that role and do it all. Everybody’s got to step in.” Philadelphia recalled forward Nick Cousins from Lehigh Valley of the American Hockey League to replace the 23-year-old Couturier, whose 24 points (nine goals, 15 assists) are fifth-best on the team.


    1. Philadelphia rookie D Shayne Gostisbehere has one goal and seven assists on his six-game point streak.

    2. New York has struggled mightily on the road (9-13-3), as opposed to a 19-5-2 mark at Madison Square Garden.

    3. Flyers LW Jakub Voracek (three goals, seven assists) and C Brayden Schenn (four goals, three assists) are both riding five-game point streaks.

    PREDICTION: Rangers 3, Flyers 1


    Preview: NY Islanders at Detroit

    When: 2:00 PM ET, Saturday, February 6, 2016
    Where: Joe Louis Arena, Detroit, Michigan

    Mired in a five-game losing skid at Joe Louis Arena, the Detroit Red Wings look to pick themselves off the mat on Saturday afternoon when they open a five-game homestand versus the New York Islanders. Detroit didn’t fare much better in its brief jaunt through the Sunshine State, falling to both Tampa Bay and Florida to drop to 2-4-1 in the last seven games overall.

    One of the two victories was a 4-2 triumph over New York on Jan. 25, with Justin Abdelkader scoring in that contest while also notching two assists in the Red Wings’ 6-3 setback to the Panthers on Thursday. Dylan Larkin tallied twice to increase his goal total to 17, one behind Chicago’s Artemi Panarin for the NHL lead among rookies. Like Larkin, New York’s Brock Nelson also is on quite the tear – scoring seven goals and setting up three others in his last 10 contests. The 24-year-old Nelson also tallied in the last meeting versus Detroit for his sixth point (four goals, two assists) in seven encounters with the Red Wings.

    TV: 2 p.m. ET, MSG-Plus 2 (New York), FSN Detroit

    ABOUT THE ISLANDERS (26-17-6): Veteran defenseman Johnny Boychuk is expected to return to the lineup for the first time since suffering a shoulder injury on a failed check against Buffalo rookie Jack Eichel on Dec. 31. “We never want to rush guys back, obviously, and the few extra days were important,” coach Jack Capuano told Newsday of Boychuk. “Our defense has been playing pretty well, too.” Cal Clutterbuck, who suffered a lower-body injury in Thursday’s 3-2 loss to Washington, practiced fully on Friday and expects to be in the lineup against Detroit.

    ABOUT THE RED WINGS (25-18-8): Speedy Andreas Athanasiou, who was recalled from Grand Rapids of the American Hockey League on Friday, looks to ignite a spark when he’s paired with Tomas Tatar and Gustav Nyquist on a line. “Those are two good players and obviously they have a lot of skill,” the 21-year-old Athanasiou told MLive. “I think my speed can help them out and complement their play.” Athanasiou scored his first career NHL goal on Nov. 10 during his first stint with the club this season.


    1. Islanders G Jaroslav Halak has lost eight of 12 decisions (4-5-3) on the road this season.

    2. Detroit is just 3-6-2 in its last 11 encounters with New York.

    3. The Islanders have dropped 11 of 15 (4-9-2) meetings against Atlantic Division representatives.

    PREDICTION: Islanders 3, Red Wings 2


    Preview: Edmonton at Montreal

    When: 2:00 PM ET, Saturday, February 6, 2016
    Where: Bell Centre, Montreal, Quebec

    The Montreal Canadiens were arguably the NHL’s best team during the season’s first two months with four regulation losses in 26 contests. Things have slowly fallen apart since and the Canadiens are in complete freefall with nine losses in the last 10 games as they prepare to host the rejuvenated Edmonton Oilers on Saturday.

    Montreal’s only victory in the last 10 contests (1-8-1) was in a shootout against Toronto and the Canadiens are 7-20-2 since Vezina Trophy-winning goalie Carey Price went down with a leg injury. Offense has still been the biggest problem, but Montreal must be sharp on the defensive end against an Edmonton team that has put up 12 goals in two wins since the All-Star break. The return of standout rookie Connor McDavid sparked the Oilers to a 5-1 victory over Columbus and a 7-2 rout at Ottawa this week. “I think we have to limit how high we get here, it’s only two games,” Edmonton right wing Jordan Eberle told reporters. “We have to make sure we temper that, but this is a start.”

    TV: 2 p.m. ET, Sportsnet West (Edmonton), RDS and CBC (Montreal)

    ABOUT THE OILERS (21-26-5): McDavid has registered one goal and four assists in two games since returning from a broken clavicle and his linemate Eberle scored three times and equaled him with five points in the same span. Taylor Hall has also extended his point streak to seven games (two goals, seven assists) and center Leon Draisaitl has goals in three straight and four of five. Despite two big wins, goalie Cam Talbot has been quite busy while stopping 72-of-75 shots and improved to 4-2-1 in his last seven games (13 goals allowed).

    ABOUT THE CANADIENS (24-24-4): Montreal gave up a third-period lead at home in a 4-2 loss to Buffalo on Wednesday for its fourth straight defeat and stands 23rd in the league at 2.71 goals-against per game. Defenseman P.K. Subban has been the only consistent offensive force with six points during a four-game streak and 15 over the past 15 contests (three goals, 12 assists). Captain Max Pacioretty is slumping of late with one point in his past six outings and sparkplug forward Brendan Gallagher has one goal in an 11-game span.


    1. Edmonton has won the last four meetings overall, including a 4-3 triumph on Oct. 29, and owns four straight wins at Montreal.

    2. The Oilers were 5-of-6 on the power play the last two games while Montreal allowed five in the past three contests.

    3. Montreal F Alex Galchenyuk posted goals in two of the past three contests after an eight-game drought.

    PREDICTION: Oilers 5, Canadiens 2


    Preview: Buffalo at Boston

    When: 7:00 PM ET, Saturday, February 6, 2016
    Where: TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts

    The Boston Bruins squeezed out a shootout win at Buffalo on Thursday night in the first leg of a home-and-home set, but playing the back end in their own arena doesn’t exactly translate to an advantage. The Bruins will look to reverse their season-long struggles at TD Garden when they host the Sabres in Saturday night’s rematch.

    “The best thing about this league is you get another opportunity,” Buffalo forward Sam Reinhart said. “Even better, it’s against those guys in Boston in a couple days so we’re going to prepare and focus on playing these guys again.” The Sabres are similar to the Bruins in one regard, playing markedly better on the road (12-11-2) than at home (9-15-3). Boston has dropped seven of its last 10 games (3-6-1) at home, including a 6-3 loss to Buffalo on Dec. 26. The Bruins’ 16 road victories are second only to NHL-best Washington, but they are a mediocre 11-13-3 at TD Garden.

    TV: 7 p.m. ET, MSG (Buffalo), NESN (Boston)

    ABOUT THE SABRES (21-26-5): Buffalo’s win over the Bruins in December served as a homecoming party for rookie Jack Eichel, who scored a pair of goals and set up two others in the city where he starred collegiately at Boston University. Ryan O’Reilly leads the Sabres in goals (17) and points (42), but has not tallied in 11 games. “It’s something I’m trying to figure out. I don’t why I’m not having success,” O’Reilly said. “Maybe it’s just back to reality and maybe I’m not the goal scorer I thought I was. I have to find a new way because these are key points that we need, and I have to help.”

    ABOUT THE BRUINS (26-18-6): Forward Brad Marchard extended his torrid stretch, netting the tying goal in the third period Thursday for his eighth tally in the past eight games. It was the 23rd goal for Marchand, leaving him one shy of last season’s total and within five of his career high (2011-12). “I think I could still improve some areas in my game defensively, and at times I can force things a little too much,” Marchand said. “But that normally happens when I feel confident about my game, and things are going well for me. So if I can still play smart and clean things up defensively, it can help us even more.”


    1. Boston has not scored a power-play goal in eight of its last nine games and is 0-for-12 in the past three.

    2. Eichel has eight points in his last eight games.

    3. Marchand’s goal Thursday was his 14th versus the Sabres, his most against any opponent.

    PREDICTION: Bruins 3, Sabres 2


    Preview: Pittsburgh at Florida

    When: 7:00 PM ET, Saturday, February 6, 2016
    Where: BB&T Center, Sunrise, Florida

    Vincent Trocheck has emerged as another big offensive threat for the Florida Panthers, and the 22-year-old center looks to extend his goal-scoring streak to five games Saturday against the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins. Trocheck leads the way with 17 tallies for the Atlantic Division-leading Panthers, who have won five straight contests.

    “I think experience has a lot to do with it,” the Pittsburgh native told the Miami Herald. “I’m focusing on the defensive side of the puck more and realize if you work hard on the defensive side, it will create more offense.” Florida has recorded 25 goals during its winning streak and seven power-play tallies in the last four contests as it prepares to host the Penguins, who dropped a 6-3 decision at Tampa Bay on Friday to end their four-game winning streak. With leading scorer Evgeni Malkin (lower body) out, Pittsburgh will depend even more on captain Sidney Crosby, who has scored seven goals in the last five games and is riding a nine-game point streak.

    TV: 7 p.m. ET, CITY, ROOT (Pittsburgh), FSN Florida

    ABOUT THE PENGUINS (25-18-7): Crosby, who trails Malkin by three points with 46, has netted at least one goal in five straight contests and 19 in the last 31 games after a slow start to the season. Patric Hornqvist recorded a goal and an assist on Friday, giving him six points in his last five games, while Phil Kessel has registered at least one point in five consecutive contests. Marc-Andre Fleury has allowed nine goals in his last two games, including four before being pulled on Friday, but is 14-8-1 with a .921 save percentage in his career against Florida.

    ABOUT THE PANTHERS (31-15-5): Trocheck leads Jaromir Jagr and Reilly Smith by one goal for the team lead while 20-year-old center Aleksander Barkov has tallied in each of his last three contests. Barkov and Jussi Jokinen both are riding five-game point streaks while Jagr has posted two goals and three assists in his last four contests. Veteran Willie Mitchell (lower body) is not likely to return and fellow defenseman Erik Gudbranson (undisclosed) is doubtful, which could give Brent Regner a chance to make his NHL debut.


    1. Florida G Roberto Luongo, who is expected to get the start, has allowed six goals during a four-game winning streak.

    2. Pittsburgh C Oskar Sundqvist registered one shot in his first NHL game Friday after being recalled to replace injured C Eric Fehr (lower body).

    3. The Penguins have earned at least one point in four straight meetings (3-0-1) with the Panthers, including a 3-2 overtime triumph on Oct. 20.

    PREDICTION: Panthers 4, Penguins 2


    Preview: Toronto at Ottawa

    When: 7:00 PM ET, Saturday, February 6, 2016
    Where: Canadian Tire Centre, Ottawa, Ontario

    The Ottawa Senators are searching for answers in the defensive end of the rink as their playoff hopes continue to fade away. The Senators, who allow a league-worst 3.15 goals per game through Thursday, are desperate for points after losing five of the last six contests as they prepare to host the improving Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night.

    Ottawa stood six points out of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference going into Friday’s games and are in danger of falling below .500 for the first time this season. “It seems like everything we’re trying to do right ends up going wrong,” Senators goalie Andrew Hammond told reporters. “There’s things that we’re working on in practice and right now it’s just not translating.” Toronto won’t be an easy mark for Ottawa after winning its last two games, including a 3-2 shootout victory over New Jersey on Thursday. Leafs goalie James Reimer stopped 71-of-76 shots in the last two games and is among the league leaders with a .932 save percentage.

    TV: 7 p.m. ET, Sportsnet One (Toronto), RDS and TSN5 (Ottawa)

    ABOUT THE MAPLE LEAFS (19-22-9): Tyler Bozak snapped a 15-game goal drought by tallying in Thursday’s victory and stands second on the team with 31 points behind All-Star Leo Komarov (33). “I thought (Bozak) had the puck all night (Thursday) and was good. … I still think he can be way better,” Toronto coach Mike Babcock, who coached his 1,000th game Thursday, told reporters. “We need him to be consistently competitive like he was (against New Jersey).” Nazem Kadri recorded three goals in the last five contests.

    ABOUT THE SENATORS (23-23-6): While Ottawa has yielded 38 goals in its last seven losses and allows a league-worst 33.2 shots per game, the Senators are in the top third of the league on the other end of the ice. Erik Karlsson leads the team and all defensemen in the league with 55 points – boasting 10 in the last eight contests. Mike Hoffman registered his team-leading 23rd goal in Thursday’s 7-2 loss against Edmonton and Mark Stone has tallied in two straight since the All-Star break, but Ottawa has given up 16 in three straight defeats.


    1. The Senators have allowed nine power-play goals in the last six outings and the Maple Leafs are 3-for-56 with the man advantage in a 17-game span.

    2. Toronto RW P.A. Parenteau, who could be trade bait later this month, has 12 goals and is on pace to match his best season in 2010-11 (20).

    3. Ottawa has points in five straight against the Maple Leafs (3-0-2), including a 5-4 shootout win Oct. 10.

    PREDICTION: Maple Leafs 4, Senators 3


    Preview: Minnesota at St. Louis

    When: 8:00 PM ET, Saturday, February 6, 2016
    Where: Scottrade Center, St. Louis, Missouri

    A pair of Central Division rivals who are mired in deep offensive funks will square off Saturday when the St. Louis Blues host the reeling Minnesota Wild. The Blues have managed to produce only five goals in their last five games while the Wild, losers of four in a row, have scored only 16 tallies during a miserable 1-8-1 stretch.

    St. Louis opened a three-game homestand with a 3-1 loss to San Jose on Thursday, giving it three goals during a 1-2-1 stretch. “To win in the league you have to spend as much time in the offensive zone as you can,” Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. “That’s got to be our focus.” The focus for the Wild is finding a way to win after blowing a two-goal lead in a 4-2 loss at the New York Rangers on Thursday. “We’re a very fragile team,” defenseman Ryan Suter said after Minnesota fell to 3-9-3 in 2016.

    TV: 8 p.m. ET, NHL.TV, FSN North, FSN Wisconsin (Wild), FSN Midwest (Blues)

    ABOUT THE WILD (23-19-9): Not only is the offense slumping, but goaltender Devan Dubnyk has surrendered eight goals in back-to-back losses to the Islanders and Rangers to remain winless since Jan. 9. “We’re hoping to win and afraid of losing,” Minnesota coach Mike Yeo said. “The result is not good. We have to go out and win a game. We’re going to St. Louis and I’m pretty sure they’re not going to give us a gift.” One bright spot has been the power play, which has produced a goal in four of the past five games after coming up empty in 11 contests.

    ABOUT THE BLUES (29-17-8): Forward Jaden Schwartz, who posted career highs with 28 goals and 63 points last season, continues to practice with the team but will miss his 48th consecutive game due to a fractured ankle. “He did some quick feet drills today, looks good,” Hitchcock said after Friday’s practice. “He’s got to come and tell us now.” Leading scorer Vladimir Tarasenko, who scored 24 goals in his first 41 games this season, has tallied only once in the last 11 contests and has failed to find the scoresheet in the past five contests.


    1. Blues G Brian Elliott is 7-2-0 with a pair of shutouts versus Minnesota.

    2. Wild F Zach Parise has one goal and one point in his last nine games, but he has scored 10 times in 18 contests versus St. Louis.

    3. D Kevin Shattenkirk needs one point to reach 200 with the Blues.

    PREDICTION: Blues 4, Wild 2


    Preview: San Jose at Nashville

    When: 8:00 PM ET, Saturday, February 6, 2016
    Where: Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, Tennessee

    The San Jose Sharks attempt to continue their surge toward the top of the Pacific Division when they visit the Nashville Predators on Saturday. San Jose went 8-0-2 over its final 10 games in January and began this month by splitting the first two contests of its four-game road trip to climb within seven points of Los Angeles for the top spot in the Pacific.

    Joe Thornton has been an offensive force since the middle of December, registering six goals and 20 assists in 21 games while being kept off the scoresheet only twice in that span. Thornton and the Sharks resume their trek in the Music City, where the Predators have struggled of late. Nashville lost two of its three games at Bridgestone Arena last month before kicking off its four-game homestand to start February with a pair of defeats. The Predators posted a 2-1 victory at San Jose in the first meeting of the season on Oct. 28, with Calle Jarnkrok snapping a tie 8:52 into the third period.

    TV: 8 p.m. ET, CSN California (San Jose), FSN Tennessee (Nashville)

    ABOUT THE SHARKS (27-19-4): Martin Jones leads the league with 15 road victories and is 8-1-1 with a 1.97 goals-against average in his last 10 games overall. All-Star defenseman Brent Burns is two away from reaching the 20-goal plateau for the second time in his career but is mired in a 10-game drought. Captain Joe Pavelski, who has collected three tallies and five assists over his last six contests, has hit the 25-goal mark for the third straight season and sixth time in his 10 NHL campaigns.

    ABOUT THE PREDATORS (24-20-8): Ryan Johansen is averaging a point per game since being acquired from Columbus, recording four goals – three on the power play – and eight assists in 12 contests. All-Star James Neal scored at least 21 goals in each of his first seven NHL seasons and is three away from making eight in a row after tallying twice in his last eight games. Defenseman Anthony Bitetto has appeared in seven contests each of the last two seasons but has yet to register his first career point.


    1. The Sharks own the best road record in the Western Conference at 17-7-2.

    2. Nashville captain Shea Weber has scored 10 of his 13 goals on the power play.

    3. San Jose is 19-0-2 when leading after two periods.

    PREDICTION: Sharks 4, Predators 2


    Preview: Chicago at Dallas

    When: 8:00 PM ET, Saturday, February 6, 2016
    Where: American Airlines Center, Dallas, Texas

    After a franchise-best 12-game winning streak helped the Chicago Blackhawks move into first place, the Dallas Stars would like to continue their recent hot streak on Saturday when the Central Division rivals meet at American Airlines Center. Dallas, which resides three points behind Chicago with three games in hand, has won three in a row – including the first two contests of five straight against division representatives.

    John Klingberg scored 35 seconds into overtime for his second goal in as many games as the Stars rallied to a 4-3 victory over Colorado on Thursday. The defenseman is riding a three-game point streak and also had an assist in Dallas’ 4-0 victory over Chicago on Dec. 22. Antti Niemi turned aside all 20 shots he faced in that contest and fellow former Blackhawk Patrick Sharp scored and set up a goal. Corey Crawford yielded four goals on 32 shots to take the loss in that game, but has since rebounded with a 12-3-0 mark.

    TV: 8 p.m. ET, WGN (Chicago), FSN Southwest-Plus

    ABOUT THE BLACKHAWKS (35-16-4): After serving a one-game suspension for missing the NHL All-Star Game, captain Jonathan Toews came back with a vengeance – capping a two-goal performance with an overtime tally in Chicago’s 5-4 victory over Arizona on Thursday. Toews’ eighth-game winning goal tied him with San Jose captain Joe Pavelski for the league lead while his fifth overtime tally matched the NHL record of Tampa Bay’s Steven Stamkos, who set the mark in 2011-12. Toews has 32 points (12 goals, 20 assists) in 31 career encounters with the Stars, but was held in check in the teams’ first meeting.

    ABOUT THE STARS (33-14-5): Dallas’ high-octane offense was dealt a jolt with the news that veteran Jason Spezza will be sidelined for a few games with an upper-body injury. “I’m going to say it’s more than few days,” coach Lindy Ruff said of Spezza, who is third on the team with 18 goals – with one coming in the Stars’ victory over the Blackhawks. With Spezza sidelined, Dallas recalled center Radek Faksa from Texas of the American Hockey League.


    1. Chicago RW Marian Hossa is five goals shy of 500 for his career.

    2. Dallas has won 11 of its last 14 home games.

    3. The Blackhawks are 1-for-19 on the power play in the last seven contests.

    PREDICTION: Stars 4, Blackhawks 3


    Preview: Calgary at Vancouver

    When: 10:00 PM ET, Saturday, February 6, 2016
    Where: Rogers Arena, Vancouver, British Columbia

    The Vancouver Canucks look to end a three-game slide and salvage the finale of their three-game homestand when they host the Pacific Division-rival Calgary Flames on Saturday. All three of Vancouver’s setbacks have been by one goal, including Thursday’s 2-1 shootout defeat to Columbus.

    All-Star Daniel Sedin leads the Canucks with 21 goals but has not tallied during the team’s skid. Calgary also dropped a 2-1 decision to the Blue Jackets on Friday, falling for the fourth time in its last five contests. All-Star Johnny Gaudreau is in a slump of his own, recording only one of his team-leading 21 goals over his last five games. Calgary and Vancouver are meeting for the first time since splitting a season-opening home-and-home series.

    TV: 10 p.m. ET, CBC

    ABOUT THE FLAMES (22-25-3): Jiri Hudler, who led the team with a career-high 31 goals last season, has recorded only seven in 43 games. The 32-year-old Czech scored Friday for his second goal since Dec. 4 – a span of 19 contests. Defenseman TJ Brodie was in the lineup against Columbus after exiting Wednesday’s game with a lower-body injury and notched an assist.

    ABOUT THE CANUCKS (20-19-12): Sven Baertschi had an assist Thursday as Vancouver moved to 7-1-7 when the 23-year-old registers a point. The left wing, who spent the first 3 1/2 seasons of his career with Calgary, has recorded nine goals and nine assists in 43 games. Captain Henrik Sedin enters with a 16-game goal-scoring drought since tallying versus Buffalo on Dec. 7.


    1. Daniel Sedin also leads the Canucks in points (44), power-play goals (six) and game-winners (six).

    2. Hudler is two points shy of 400 for his career.

    3. Vancouver RW Jannik Hansen has scored in one of his last 10 games, registering a hat trick at Pittsburgh on Jan. 23.

    PREDICTION: Canucks 2, Flames 1


    Preview: Winnipeg at Colorado

    When: 10:00 PM ET, Saturday, February 6, 2016
    Where: Pepsi Center, Denver, Colorado

    As if the struggling Winnipeg Jets do not have enough going against them, they will face an old nemesis Saturday as they begin a stretch of eight of their next 10 games on the road against the Colorado Avalanche. Colorado’s Semyon Varlamov, who has not played since Jan. 23 due to a legal matter, has posted a 1.67 goals-against average in beating the Jets three times this season.

    “I skated (Friday) morning with the goalie coach and a few guys out there on the ice and I feel really good,” Varlamov told reporters Friday, three days after a jury awarded him $126,000. “I’m ready to play.” Colorado enters Saturday in the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference while the Jets’ playoff hopes continue to slip away after a disheartening 5-3 home loss to Carolina on Friday. Winnipeg gave up four first-period goals before battling back to pull within one but lost for the fifth time in six games. All-Star defenseman Dustin Byfuglien has scored seven goals in his last eight games for the Jets, who trail Nashville by nine points for the second wild card in the West.

    TV: 10 p.m. ET, Sportsnet (Winnipeg), Altitude (Denver)

    ABOUT THE JETS (22-26-3): Byfuglien’s third-period tally gave him the team lead in goals (16) and extended his goal-scoring streak to four games. Nikolaj Ehlers has recorded four goals and four assists during his six-game point streak for the Jets, who showed plenty of fight in the final two periods Friday after an ugly opening session. Michael Hutchinson could be in line to start Saturday after relieving rookie Connor Hellebuyck five minutes into Friday’s contest and stopping 21-of-23 shots.

    ABOUT THE AVALANCHE (27-23-4): Varlamov is 19-12-3 with a 2.59 GAA and .918 save percentage in 35 games, and looks to settle Colorado as Calvin Pickard has allowed 15 goals in losing four of his last five starts. Colorado yielded 44 shots in Thursday’s 4-3 loss to Dallas, leading coach Patrick Roy to lament the amount of pressure opponents are putting on his team’s defense. Nathan MacKinnon played in his 200th NHL game, recording an assist to move into a tie with Matt Duchene for the team lead at 42 points.


    1. Winnipeg had scored a power-play goal in three straight games before going 0-for-2 Friday.

    2. The Avalanche came away with a point Thursday but nonetheless were frustrated by several missed opportunities, including MacKinnon missing Colorado’s first penalty shot since 2011.

    3. The Jets are 6-13-1 against Central Division opposition, being outscored 67-45 and allowing 18 power-play goals.

    PREDICTION: Avalanche 4, Jets 3



    Hot teams
    — Washington won eight of its last 11 games. New Jersey won five of its last seven.
    — Philly won last three games, scoring 14 goals. Rangers won their last four home games.
    — Edmonton is 2-0 since All-Star break, winning 5-4/7-2.
    — Bruins won six of their last nine games.
    — Penguins won five of their last seven games. Florida won its last five games.
    — Toronto is 2-0 since All-Star break, winning 4-3ot/3-2- they had lost nine of previous ten. Ottawa lost five of its last six games.
    — Blackhawks won 15 of their last 18 games. Dallas Stars won their last three games.
    — San Jose won nine of its last twelve games.

    Cold teams
    — Montreal lost nine of its last ten games.
    — Detroit lost five of its last seven games. Islanders lost three of last four road games.
    — Buffalo lost four of its last six games.
    — Nashville is 0-2 since All-Star break, losing 1-0/6-3.
    — Minnesota lost nine of its last ten games. St Louis lost three of its last four.
    — Winnipeg lost five of its last six games. Colorado lost three of its last four.
    — Flames lost five of their last six games. Vancouver lost its last three games.

    Series records
    — Washington won its last four games with New Jersey.
    — Rangers lost three of last four games with Philly.
    — Islanders won seven of last ten games with Detroit.
    — Oilers won their last four games with Montreal.
    — Bruins won six of last eight games with Buffalo.
    — Penguins won three of last four games with Florida.
    — Maple Leafs lost three of last four visits to Ottawa.
    — Dallas won three games in row vs Chicago, shutting them out in last two.
    — Predators won five of last seven games with San Jose.
    — Blues lost four of last five games with Minnesota.
    — Avalanche won five of last six games with Winnipeg.
    — Flames won six of last nine games with Vancouver.

    — Over is 4-0-1 in last five Washington games.
    — Over is 4-0-1 in last five Philadelphia games.
    — Over is 4-0-2 in last six Edmonton games.
    — Over is 3-0-1 in last four Islander games.
    — Over is 6-2-1 in last nine Boston home games.
    — Five of last six Florida games went over the total.
    — Over is 7-2-1 in last ten Ottawa games.
    — Under is 4-1-1 in last six Chicago games.
    — Three of last four Nashville games stayed under.
    — Last five St Louis games stayed under the total.
    — Three of last four Colorado games went over.
    — Under is 3-0-1 in last four Calgary games.

    — Pittsburgh lost eight of last nine games if they played night before.
    — Winnipeg lost seven of last eight games if it played night before.
    — Calgary is 2-5 if it played the night before.


    Grand Salami – February
    By VI News

    The Grand Salami in pro hockey is decided by adding up all the goals scored in every game scheduled for that particular day. You can wager on ‘over’ or ‘under’ the Grand Salami total. The total is set by adding up all listed ‘over/under’ odds for each game on that particular day.

    Note: The Grand Salami will have no action if any game is suspended or cancelled before the regulation time of three twenty minute periods. Also, regardless of the number of goals scored during the shoot out portion of the overtime, the final scored recorded for the game will give the winning team on more goal than its opponent based on the score at the end of regulation time.

    *The majority of sportsbooks do not put out a total on the Grand Salami when there is only one game on the card. For tracking purposes, we will continue to show the ‘over/under’ for goals and combined goals scored on days with just one game.


    Date No. of Games Total Goals Combined Goals Scored Result

    2/1 No games scheduled – – –
    2/2 12 64.5 75 OVER
    2/3 3 16 15 UNDER
    2/4 12 64.5 77 OVER
    2/5 4 21 27 OVER
    2/6 12 –


    Hockey Crusher

    Montreal Canadiens -135 over Edmonton Oilers
    (System Record: 41-4, won last game)
    Overall Record: 41-52-17

    Chicago Blackhawks -105 over Dallas Stars

    Minnesota Wild + St Louis Blues – OVER 5

    Washington Capitals + New Jersey Devils – UNDER 5

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