Five Canadian teams in NHL action tonight

TSN.ca Staff
10/30/2008 11:39:41 AM
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It's a busy night in the National Hockey League with five of 12 games involving Canadian teams.

In Calgary, Tim Thomas is oming off back-to-back shutouts and will lead the Bruins into Pengrowth Saddledome to take on the Flames.

Thomas has saved a total of 58 shots in posting 1-0 wins over Edmonton and Vancouver. Thomas made 31 saves in Tuesday's 1-0 win over the Canucks, his ninth career shutout. He has never faced the Flames before.

Michael Ryder scored the lone goal for the Bruins, who have now won three consecutive one-goal games. In his first year with Boston, Ryder has two goals and five assists.  Marc Savard and Marco Strum assisted on the tally, with the helper giving Savard a team-high 13 points (5 goals, 8 assists) on the year.

The Flames are also coming off a shutout win, as Miikka Kiprusoff made 22 saves in a 3-0 victory over Colorado on Tuesday. It was Kiprusoff's first shutout of the year and 24th of his career. The win moved his goals against average to 2.99, and he is 2-1-0 with a 1.67 GAA and one shutout in three career starts versus the Bruins.

Calgary, which is 3-1-1 at home this year, has won two of its last three over Boston and is 3-0 with a tie in its last four versus the Bruins at home.

Brothers Saku and Mikko Koivu will be the first siblings to wear a 'C' at the same game in 17 years when the Montreal Canadiens visit the Minnesota Wild. The last time two brothers serving as team captains have met was Feb. 23, 1991, when the Flyers' Ron Sutter played against the Islanders' Brent Sutter.

The Wild and Canadiens are two of the best teams in the early part of the 2008-09 season. The Wild were the only team left in the NHL without a regulation loss, but that changed Wednesday night in Dallas as Brad Richards registered a goal and an assist to lead the Stars to a 4-2 decision at American Airlines Center.

Niklas Backstrom had played every minute this season, but was pulled after allowing three goals on 13 shots in the first period. Josh Harding stopped 19- of-20 shots the rest of the way.

The Canadiens, meanwhile, are 6-1-1 this year and are coming off a close victory in their latest outing Tuesday night against visiting Carolina. Saku Koivu scored the lone goal of the shootout as the Montreal Canadiens snapped a home-losing streak to Hurricanes with a 3-2 win at the Bell Centre.

Carey Price, who made 31 saves in net for Montreal, will start in goal. Tonight marks the first of four straight on the road for the Canadiens, who are 2-0-1 as the visiting team this season.

In Los Angeles, the Vancouver Canucks will try to solve their road woes and put more pucks in the net as they visit the Kings at the Staples Center.

Vancouver went 2-4-0 on a recent six-game road trip and are averaging just 2.67 goals per game as the road team. The Canucks have lost four of their last five games, including their 1-0 loss to Boston on Tuesday.

Roberto Luongo has a 4.05 goals against average and .870 save percentage in five road starts this year compared to a 1.34 GAA and .952 save percentage in three home tests. He is 5-5-1 in 11 career starts against the Kings, going 1-2-0 against them last year.

Meanwhile, the struggling Edmonton Oilers will try to get back on the right track tonight as they begin their longest road trip of the season with a test at the Sommet Center in Nashville.

Edmonton began the season with four straight victories, but have since gone 0-3-1 during a four-game losing streak. The first stop won't be a pretty sight for the Oilers, as they've lost five straight games in Nashville and have dropped eight in a row overall to the Predators.

Edmonton has been outscored 14-4 during its recent four-game slide, but was defeated by a slim 1-0 margin Monday against visiting Boston. It was the second time Edmonton was shut out this season, having also dropped a 3-0 decision in Chicago last week.

Nashville has also struggled to a 4-4-1 record early this year and has dropped two of its last three contests. The Predators' latest outing was a shootout loss, as they dropped Tuesday's 4-3 decision in Washington.

Finally, the Ottawa Senators will get a chance to win back-to-back games for the first time this season when they visit the Florida Panthers tonight.

The Senators will finish October with a losing record giving them three losing Octobers since 2000. In 2002-03, they went 3-4-1 but ended up going to the Conference Final. In 2006-07, they went 5-6 but ended up going to the Stanley Cup Final.

Ottawa is just 3-5-1 so far in the 2008-09 campaign and is coming off Tuesday's 5-2 victory in Buffalo. The victory ended a four-game losing streak for the Senators. Jason Spezza scored two goals and assisted on another to help send the Senators to the easy win. Ottawa led 5-0 early in the third period before Buffalo scored a pair of goals in the final six minutes of the game.

Florida is 3-1-0 as the home team this season with its only loss in Sunrise coming in a 6-2 thrashing at the hands of Minnesota on Oct. 16.

Tim Thomas (Photo: Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)


(Photo: Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)
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