Daily Deke: Sabres and Flyers square off; Flames go for third straight win

Updated: October 26, 2010 at 3:44 pm by Reggie Yinger

After an interesting schedule of Monday night games in the NHL, Tuesday brings an exciting batch of games.  Six games are on the schedule tonight and as always, be sure to check out the Starting Goalies section for all of your confirmed netminders for tonight’s action.

The Toronto Maple Leafs play host to the Florida Panthers tonight, with the Leafs splitting during their four matchups last season, but losing the last two meetings.  For the Leafs, it’s about finding the winning formula again, as they’ve gone 0-2-1 over their past three games.

Toronto’s offense has heavily relied upon the play of wingers Clarke MacArthur and Phil Kessel over the first seven games. Each has eight total points along with six goals.  Defenseman Luke Schenn is starting to make some noise on the blue line, as he’s collected three points over his last five games and is averaging over twenty minutes of ice time this season with 23 hits to start the year.

Jean-Sebastien Giguere looks to rebound from a poor game against the Flyers over the weekend.  Although Giggy had 35 saves last Saturday night, he also allowed five goals.  He hasn’t faired well against Panthers over his career, going 4-5 with a 2.8 GAA and a .907 SV% during ten career games.

Ryan Miller and Sabres travel to Philly to take on the Flyers who will be playing twice in two nights.  The Flyers are coming off a disappointing loss to the Blue Jackets in Ohio.  Both of these teams have high hopes this season, but neither has posted consistent back-to-back games.

Despite the standings, Buffalo is packed with plenty of offensive threats that could explode during any game.  Derek Roy leads the team in goals and points, while rookie Tyler Ennis has chipped in with seven points.  On a good note, the Sabres could see Jason Pominville return to the lineup soon, as he’s expected to resume skating later this week. Netminder Miller is 10-6-1 with a 2.75 GAA against the Flyers during his career.

The Flyers were just disappointing to watch last night.  They didn’t crack the scoring sheet until late in the third period. After a so-so start, winger Ville Leino has picked his game up, scoring in his last two contest and collecing three points over his past three games.

The Flyers will turn to rookie Sergei Bobrovsky for in-net duties tonight.  “Bob” will be searching for his third win of the season and has dropped his last two starts, allowing seven goals on a total of 53 shots.

The Coyotes will play their second in game in as many nights, paying a visit to the Ottawa Senators.  Captain Shane Doan returns to the ice after serving his three-game suspension.  The Yotes fell to the Canadians in overtime last night, but had excellent goaltending from Ilya Bryzgalov. With Bryzgalov going last night expect Jason LaBarbera to make his second start of the season. Center Kyle Turris continues to find the back of net and he’ll look to score in his third straight game tonight, the 21-year old has four points over his last two games and should now be added to your fantasy stock watch.

The Senators are searching for any type of spark to get their team going this season.  Injuries to goalie Pascal Leclaire and center Jason Spezza (Spezza is out again tonight) have forced the team into tough decisions over the past week.  Despite the injuries, captain Daniel Alfredsson continues to play well, as he’s a game removed from a hat trick against the Sabres.  Brian Elliott gets the nod tonight and although he took a loss against the Montreal on Saturday, he did manage to snag 31 saves and allow just three goals.  Either way, this team seems lost right now.

In the Battle of Alberta, the Oilers travel to Calgary to take on the red-hot Flames.  The Flames are looking for their third straight win, while the Oilers are still searching for consistent play from their young group.

The Oilers are still searching for someone to step up and make plays on the offensive side of the puck.  Defenseman Ryan Whitney leads the team with six points (all assists) with Shawn HorcoffAles Hemsky, and Dustin Penner each having three goals.  Rookie winger Jordan Eberle hopes he can continue his points streak, as he has a goal and an assist over his last two.

For the Flames, look no further than Rene Bourque and Miikka Kiprusoff. Bourque is not only looking to score in his third straight game, but he’s collected six goals and seven total points over his last four games.  Behind the terrific offense has been terrific netminding.  Kipper not only boasts a 2.14 GAA and a .923 SV% this season, he’s also posted two shutouts over his past three starts.  One area where the Flames hope to improve over the next few games is on their power play.  Even with their even-strength play being excellent, their power play ranks 26th in the NHL.

It will be a Pacific Division rivalry when the Anaheim Ducks invade Dallas tonight.  The Ducks will be happy that this is their last road game of the trip, as they’ve lost five of their last six games on the road.  Dallas comes off a shutout via the hands of Pekka Rinne and the Preds.

The Ducks are getting the scoring they need, but just need to close games out.  They’ve carried leads over their past few games, but have failed to close the door on their opponents.  Fantasy owners are starting to smile now that defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky is finally contributing, as he’s collected four points over his last three games.  Netminder Jonas Hiller will have his hands full tonight against the Stars.  While Hiller has seen the most action of any NHL netminder, he’s likely to see more thanks to the Brad Richards, James Neal, and Loui Eriksson line.  Richards is one of the best passers in the NHL, and compliments Neal nicely.

Where has Brenden Morrow gone?  After scoring four points over his first three games this season, he’s collected just two points over his last four.

Kari Lehtonen starts against tonight.  This will be his eight straight start this season, as backup netminder Andrew Raycroft has not seen action.  The Stars might consider giving Lehtonen a break here soon given his injury and stamina history.  Lehtonen has faced the third most shots in the NHL at 242, but has allowed just two goals over his last two games.  “Ride ’em while he’s hot!”

In the final matchup of the night, the Colorado Avalanche pay visit to to the Vancouver Canucks.  The Avs have lost three of their last four games, while the Canucks will be playing their only game this week.

John-Michael Liles and Chris Stewart have ten points apiece with Paul Stastny pitching in with nine points. Craig Anderson takes a seat tonight, as Peter Budaj makes his his second start of the season.  Budaj has faced the Canucks eleven times over his career, going 5-3-1 with a 2.86 GAA and a .891 SV%.  Not sure if Anderson needs the rest, or if it’s his awful numbers against the Canucks, as he’s 2-8-1 with a 3.51 GAA against the Canucks lifetime.

The Avs are expected to be without captain Adam Foote, who is out indefinitely after suffering a concussion.

After allowing 14 goals over a three game span, Olympian Roberto Luongo has allowed just one goal on 32 shots against the Blackhawks close to a week ago.  The Canucks are not only hoping for that type of performance again, but are hoping “Bobby Lou” can find some consistency in back-to-back performances.

Regardless of the outcome during the Canucks’ games, you can always count on points from Henrik and Daniel Sendin.  They have combined for 21 total points through the team’s first eight games.

Mason Raymond is dealing with a hand injury, but is expected to go tonight.  Alex Burrows is still on injured reserve, but is expected to start skating this week.

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Reggie Yinger

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