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Canucks vs Blackhawks, Sunday at 6:30PM - Tickets available

Naslund welcomes former team to MSG

Wednesday, 19.11.2008 / 5:54 PM / Features
By Adam Schwartz
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Naslund welcomes former team to MSG
Markus Naslund played 12 seasons in Vancouver and always believed he'd retire as a Canuck.

It didn't work out that way, though, and tonight his new team, the New York Rangers, will face his former team, the Canucks (7:30 p.m. ET, TSN, RIS), in one of three games on the schedule.

At 7 p.m. the Buffalo Sabres and the Boston Bruins face off in a Northeast Division clash, and at 10 p.m., the Washington Capitals play their first of three games in California and their second game of a five-game road trip when they visit the Honda Center to battle the Anaheim Ducks.

Here's what to keep an eye out for:

* Buffalo left wing Thomas Vanek, who is tied for the League lead with 13 goals, has just 1 goal and a minus-5 rating in his last three games. Vanek had a plus-47 rating in the 2006-07 season, but has a minus-17 rating in his 180 other games, including a minus-1 rating in 17 games this season.

* Sabres defenseman Andrej Sekera, who had 8 points in 37 games last season, leads Buffalo with 9 assists in 17 games this season, but has a minus-5 rating. Sekera has one of his two career goals against the Bruins.

* Boston right wing Phil Kessel, who leads the team with 8 goals this season, has scored just 2 goals at the TD Banknorth Garden. Kessel, who leads the team with 59 shots on goal, has points in four of his last five games.

* Bruins center Stephane Yelle, who was signed as a free agent this summer, has 6 of his 7 points at home this season. Yelle, who averages just 12:47 of ice time, has 4 points in his last three games, including a three-point performance last Thursday in the Bruins' 6-1 defeat of the Montreal Canadiens.   

* Vancouver center Henrik Sedin, who has led the team in assists the last three seasons, has four more assists than any other Canuck this season. Sedin, who averages 19:56 of ice time per game, has played more than 20 minutes in four of his last five games.

* The Canucks, who are one point behind the Minnesota Wild for first place in the Northwest Division, have just one regulation loss in the 12 games in which they have scored first. Vancouver has yielded the second fewest full-strength goals in the League and the fewest in the Western Conference with 23.

* The Rangers, who don't have a player averaging more than 0.76 points per game, have the No. 23 power play in the League, which is operating at a 15.4-percent success rate. The Rangers, who have allowed the fewest goals in the Atlantic Division with 45, have the most home overtime wins in the League with four.

* Rangers defenseman Dan Girardi, who is paired with Wade Redden, has the most points among Atlantic Division defensemen with 14. Girardi, who has faced Vancouver just one time in his career, has 9 of his 14 points on the road.

* Capitals left wing Alexander Ovechkin, who was held pointless in six of his first 11 games this season, has 5 goals and 10 points in his last 4 games. Ovechkin, who has played at least 22 minutes in each of his last two games, is tied for the League lead with teammate Alex Semin with a plus-17 rating.

* Ducks left wing Chris Kunitz, who plays alongside Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, has only faced the Capitals twice in his career, and has just 1 goal and 1 assist in his last four games.

* Anaheim, which lost five of its first six games this season, has 10 wins in the 13 games they have played since then. While the Ducks are in second place in the Pacific Division with 22 points, they are 10 points behind the division and Western Conference-leading San Jose Sharks.