The Toronto Maple Leafs look to get back on track against the Ottawa Senators tonight. In fact, the Leafs will look for any offense, as they’ve been shutout in back-to-back games. Jean-Sebastien Giguere gets the nod tonight for the Leafs and has done well against the Sens over his career. Already this season, JSG is 1-0 with a 1.00 GAA against the them and is 6-2-1 with a 1.85 GAA and a .932 SV% over his career against Ottawa.
For Ottawa, they are listing their leading scorer and captain Daniel Alfredsson as a game time decision, but the team is optimistic he’ll be ready for the game.
Montreal will look to start up another winning steak after suffering a disappointing loss against the Florida Panthers last weekend. The Canadians will travel to Columbus to take on a Blue Jackets team that is coming off an ugly loss themselves via the Colorado Avalanche.
Habs’ defenseman Andrei Markov made his season debut last game for the Habs and while he didn’t collect a point, he spent over 23 minutes on the ice. In an interesting move, the Habs have paired Jaroslav Spacek with Markov while leaving P.K. Subban on the top line with Roman Hamrlik, which means Spacek will get one more opportunity to prove himself. Subban, by contrast, does not have a goal this year, but has registered four assists in his last five games while continuing to play on the top line of the power play unit.
After minimal effort from netminder Steve Mason against the Avs, Columbus has decided to give another start to Mathieu Garon. Garon is 2-0-0 this season with a 1.61 GAA and a .938 SV%.
The Blue Jackets haven’t had much offense this year and captain Rick Nash hasn’t scored a goal in his last five games. Columbus will also be without winger Kristian Huselius for another week or so, as he continues to recover from a foot injury.
After a frenzy of offense over the past two games, the San Jose Sharks travel to Minnesota to take on the Wild. Since coach Todd McLellan reunited Joe Thornton with Dany Heatley and Patrick Marleau, the group has been red-hot, tallying twenty points, including eight points over the past two games for Thornton. Heatley has scored four goals in his past five games and has also cashed in with 11 points during the same time frame.
Netminder Antero Niittymaki should receive the start for the Sharks once again, as he’s proven he’s the number one in San Jose, not Antti Nemi. Niitty is 4-0-1 this season with a 1.88 GAA and a .929 sV% and hasn’t allowed more than two goals a game over his last five appearances.
After a hot-start to the season, Minnesota’s Matt Cullen has cooled off over his last five games, as he’s recorded just two points over that span. Center Mikko Koivu will be looking to keep his point streak alive, as he’s recorded a point in each of his last six games.
Netminder Niklas Backstrom gets the start for the Wild tonight, and has allowed more than two goals over his last five games while compiling a 3-1-1 record during those starts. Against the Sharks during 12 career games, Bax is 2-7-3 with a 3.19 GAA and a .892 SV%.
In our final matchup of the night, the Vancouver Canucks hit the road with their three-game winning streak, paying a visit to the Edmonton Oilers. The Canucks are fresh off a 3-0 shutout of the New Jersey Devils, in which Roberto Luongo turned aside 30 shots for his first shutout of the season.
Perhaps the biggest news for the Canucks/Oilers game is the return of winger Alex Burrows. Burrows will join the Sedins along a top line that has already inflicted a lot of damage against goalies this season.
Bobby Lou gets anther shot between the pipes tonight, and why not after his dominant shutout appearance last night? Luongo is 16-8-2 with a .229 GAA and a .918 SV% against the Oilers over his career.
The Sedin twins had nine points apiece against Edmonton last season.
Oilers’ defenseman Ryan Whitney has recorded five assists over his last five games and is expected to play tonight despite an arm laceration which he suffered in practice. Winger Alex Hemsky has recorded five points over his last five games and former first overall pick Taylor Hall has started recording points again after not recording a single point over five games. Hall has collected a total of two goals and two assists over his last two games.