National Hockey League
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      ***** National Hockey League Previews from The Sports Network *****
                               Friday, October 24
                              (All times Eastern)
 ( - The New Jersey Devils have cooled off considerably since
 a 3-0 start and Peter DeBoer's club will try to halt a three-game slide when
 it welcomes the Dallas Stars for Friday's clash at Prudential Center.
 The Devils jumped out to a 3-0 start for the second time in three seasons only
 to follow with a losing streak. After taking its first three tests in 2012-13,
 New Jersey lost the next four games and the club could follow the same pattern
 this season if it loses again tonight.
 New Jersey coughed up a two-goal lead in the third period of its most recent
 outing and wound up losing 4-3 in overtime against the visiting New York
 The Devils led 2-1 after 40 minutes on Tuesday and grabbed a two-goal cushion
 when Jon Merrill scored 36 seconds into the third period. The Rangers,
 however, would score the game's next three goals, ending their successful
 comeback win with Kevin Klein's goal 2:42 into the extra session.
 All three New Jersey tallies came via the power play, with Jaromir Jagr and
 Adam Henrique finishing with a goal and an assist. Although the Devils went 3-
 for-5 on the power play, the club also allowed New York to score twice on
 three chances with the man advantage.
 New Jersey has killed off only 21-of-29 penalties this season, placing them in
 a tie with Florida for 28th in the league rankings.
 "I think we've got to get back to doing what we do best on the (penalty kill)
 and that's being aggressive and being hard to play against and taking
 advantage of opportunities to be aggressive," DeBoer told
 Cory Schneider, burned for eight goals in the Devils' two consecutive defeats
 coming in, allowed four on 25 shots on Tuesday. Schneider will start tonight
 and could get the call again when Jersey visits Ottawa on Saturday. He is
 7-3-0 with a 2.11 goals against average in 10 career games against the Stars.
 Backup netminder Scott Clemmensen has yet to start a game this season, with
 his only action coming in a relief capacity on Oct. 16 in Washington.
 Devils forward Jordin Tootoo will miss both of Jersey's games this weekend
 with an injured left foot suffered Tuesday against the Rangers.
 New Jersey has dominated the Stars in recent years and hopes to continue that
 trend Friday when aiming for a much-needed win. The Devils went 2-0 against
 Dallas in 2013-14 and have claimed three straight, four of five and seven of
 the last 11 meetings. Dallas has dropped two in a row and seven of eight in
 New Jersey.
 The Stars began the season with two straight losses, but are 3-0-1 since then
 and are coming off Tuesday's lopsided victory over Vancouver. Dallas slammed
 the visiting Canucks, 6-3, to bounce back from Saturday's 6-5 overtime loss
 against Philadelphia.
 Erik Cole scored a pair of goals Tuesday, while Jamie Benn, Ryan Garbutt and
 Tyler Seguin each added a goal and an assist.
 "We started the game (and) did a lot of great things," Stars coach Lindy Ruff
 said. "When the game was right there I thought we were the better team. When
 it got out of hand we had too many guys leaning on the offensive side."
 Cody Eakin also lit the lamp for the Stars, while Kari Lehtonen stopped 43-
 of-46 shots in the win. Lehtonen rebounded after yielding all six goals on 37
 shots in the previous game versus the Flyers.
 Stars defenseman Alex Goligoski is questionable for tonight after getting cut
 on the ear by Lehtonen's skate in Tuesday's tilt. Goligoski has three assists
 through six games and is second only to blueliner Trevor Daley in ice time.
 Anders Lindback could give Lehtonen a breather and start on Friday. He is
 2-2-0 with a 2.56 GAA in four career games against the Devils, while Lehtonen
 is 7-6-1 with a 2.72 GAA versus New Jersey.
 After playing this evening in the Garden State, the Stars will complete a two-
 game swing Saturday against the New York Islanders.
 ( - The Winnipeg Jets broke through with their first home
 win of the season the last time out and hope to make it two straight when they
 welcome the Tampa Bay Lightning for Friday's battle at MTS Centre.
 The Jets opened 2014-15 with a road win over Arizona before losing their next
 four games, including the first two tests of their current five-game
 Winnipeg was able to take advantage of winless Carolina on Tuesday, notching
 a 3-1 decision over the Hurricanes to improve to 2-4-0 this season.
 Andrew Ladd and Adam Lowry recorded first-period goals to help the Jets down
 Carolina. Jiri Tlusty tallied the Hurricanes' lone goal before the end of 20
 minutes, but Dustin Byfuglien completed the scoring with his second marker of
 the season late in the second period.
 Ondrej Pavelec made 22 saves to earn the win. He expects to start again
 tonight and is 7-6-6 with a 2.92 goals against average in 20 career games
 against the Lightning.
 The Jets, who are averaging a dismal 1.83 goals per game this season, could
 receive an offensive boost soon from the impending return of forward Evander
 Kane. The 23-year-old winger sprained his right knee in a collision with
 teammate Mark Scheifele in the season opener and expects to resume skating
 activities this weekend. However, there is still not timetable for Kane's
 return to game action.
 Tampa Bay has alternated wins and losses since opening the season with a
 victory over Florida and the same pattern holds true so far on the club's
 current five-game road trip. The Lightning kicked off their swing with a 4-2
 win in Vancouver before losing Monday in Edmonton. However, the Bolts
 rebounded with Tuesday's triumph in Calgary, posting a 2-1 overtime victory
 against the Flames.
 Ondrej Palat scored Tuesday's game-winner goal three minutes into overtime
 after Valtteri Filppula tied the game for the Bolts with 2:16 left in
 regulation. On the winning marker, defenseman Anton Stralman drove a right
 point slap shot on net and Palat lifted his backhand past Karri Ramo for the
 deciding marker.
 Evgeni Nabokov made 21 saves for the Lightning, while Jonathan Drouin, the
 third-overall pick in 2013, notched an assist for his first career point in
 his second game.
 Tampa expects to start No. 1 netminder Ben Bishop tonight. He is winless
 (0-1-1) with a 1.94 GAA and .945 save percentage in two career games versus
 the Jets.
 Lightning defenseman Radko Gudas could return to action tonight after sitting
 out the last four games with a lower body injury. Forwards Ryan Callahan
 (lower body) and Alex Killorn (upper body) expect to miss Friday's tilt.
 Winnipeg and the Lightning split two encounters in 2013-14, with each club
 winning a game on the road. The Jets have won seven of the last 11 meetings in
 this series, dating back to when they were still known as the Atlanta
 Thrashers. Tampa is 2-3-1 in Winnipeg since the Jets relocated from Atlanta
 following the 2010-11 season.
 The Lightning will complete their road trip tomorrow in Minnesota, while
 Winnipeg wraps its stay at MTS Centre in Sunday's meeting versus Colorado.
 ( - The struggling Colorado Avalanche hope the return of
 their No. 1 goaltender can help the club end a four-game skid when it hosts
 the Vancouver Canucks in Friday's clash at Pepsi Center.
 The Avalanche are 1-4-2 on the season and in the midst of an 0-2-2 slide.
 However, Colorado head coach Patrick Roy revealed good news Thursday when he
 announced goaltender Semyon Varlamov will return to action in Friday's game.
 Varlamov was placed on injured reserve last Thursday with a groin injury.
 Although he is 0-2-1 with a 3.80 goals-against average and .910 save
 percentage through three games this season, Varlamov led the NHL last season
 with a franchise-record 41 wins and finished second in the voting for the
 Vezina Trophy.
 The 26-year-old Russian netminder is just 2-7-1 with a 2.62 goals against
 average in 10 lifetime games against the Canucks.
 Colorado is lagging far behind last season's pace, as the club shocked the
 hockey world by winning their first six games and going 12-1-0 out of the
 gates. The Avs, of course, wound up winning their first division title since
 2003 last season, as they finished ahead of Chicago and St. Louis for the
 Central crown.
 After losing the final three tests of a four-game road trip, the Avs returned
 to Denver to face Florida on Tuesday, but dropped a 4-3 overtime decision to
 the Panthers. Colorado fought its way back into the game after falling behind
 2-0 in the first, but Florida's Brad Boyes scored the game-winning goal in
 Tyson Barrie, Alex Tanguay and Gabriel Landeskog each lit the lamp in the loss
 and Reto Berra stopped 32-of-36 shots for Colorado.
 "We came back after a really bad first period," Berra said. "We needed the
 wake-up call."
 Colorado had a strong 26-11-4 record on home ice last season, but fell to
 0-1-1 as the host with Tuesday's setback. The Avs' next game is Sunday's away
 tilt in Winnipeg, but the club will follow that up with another two-game
 homestand against San Jose and the New York Islanders.
 Roy's club posted a 2-1-0 record against the Canucks last season, but
 Vancouver has claimed 11 of the last 14 meetings in this series. The Canucks
 have lost two in a row in Denver after winning the previous four encounters at
 Pepsi Center.
 Vancouver will shoot for a second straight win Friday after recording an
 impressive 4-1 road victory last night in St. Louis. Ryan Miller had 31 saves
 against his former club and the Canucks used a three-goal third period to beat
 the Blues at Scottrade Center.
 Miller, who signed with the Canucks during the summer after spending the
 second half of last season in St. Louis, turned aside 16 shots in the first
 two periods before stopping all 15 he faced in the third.
 "It was interesting," said Miller. "I've never done that before. I've never
 had a chance to play against a former team like that. ... A lot of good guys
 on the (Blues); it was one that I was actually really looking forward to,
 especially here in St. Louis. It was fun."
 Chris Higgins, Nick Bonino, Linden Vey and Jannik Hansen all scored for
 Vancouver, which got back on track after consecutive losses.
 The Canucks are 3-1-0 on the road this season and are closing a three-game
 trip tonight. Next up for Vancouver is a three-game homestand, beginning with
 Sunday's tilt against Washington.
 It's unclear if Miller will play on back-to-back nights Friday, or if Eddie
 Lack will get his second start of the season. Lack suffered an overtime loss
 in his only career outing against Colorado, while Miller is 1-4-3 with a 3.32
 GAA in eight lifetime games versus the Avs.
 ( - Injuries and a struggling offense have led to the
 Carolina Hurricanes posting their worst start in franchise history.
 The Hurricanes hope to bounce back quickly and earn their first win of the
 campaign on Friday night as they visit the Edmonton Oilers.
 Carolina remains without Jordan Staal, Eric Staal and Patrick Dwyer due to
 injury and has also seen Jeff Skinner, Nathan Gerbe and John-Michael Liles sit
 out at times this season. The Hurricanes have lost 24 man games to injury
 through six contests, part of the reason they are 0-4-2.
 The other reason is the fact that the 'Canes have scored only two goals in
 their past three outings and they officially got off to their worst start in
 club history with last night's 5-0 setback in Calgary.
 Cam Ward allowed all five goals on 24 shots as Carolina surpassed five-game
 winless streaks set in 1987-88 and 2003-04.
 "It got away from us," Carolina head coach Bill Peters said. "There were too
 many freebies, too many easy goals, and too much time and space. It's not the
 way we've played up to this point."
 Carolina concludes a five-game road trip on Tuesday in Vancouver -- a game in
 which Eric Staal may return for -- and Peters is likely to go with Anton
 Khudobin in net tonight. Khudobin is 2-1-0 with a 1.40 goals against average
 and .960 save percentage in three games versus the Oilers, including two
 The Oilers lost their first five games (0-4-1) of the season, including the
 opener of a seven-game homestand on Oct. 17, but have rebounded to win two
 straight. They have picked up wins over Tampa Bay and Washington, both by a
 3-2 score, most recently topping the Capitals on Wednesday.
 Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Justin Schultz and Nikita Nikitin all scored and Ben
 Scrivens made 13 of his 32 saves in the third period to win his second
 straight outing.
 "I haven't done anything different the last two games. We're just starting to
 get bounces," Scrivens said.
 Scrivens has allowed only five goals in his last three starts after giving up
 14 over his first three appearances. He is 1-2-0 with a 2.38 GAA and .933 save
 percentage in three previous starts against the Hurricanes.
 The Oilers won both of their meetings against the Hurricanes last season and
 have won four of the last six encounters in Edmonton.
 ( - The Anaheim Ducks take aim at a seventh straight victory
 on Friday evening as they resume their homestand against the Columbus Blue
 The Ducks have not lost since their season opener on Oct. 9 against hosting
 Pittsburgh. They followed up with three straight road wins and have taken the
 first three of a five-game residency that concludes on Sunday against San
 Anaheim lost its opener last season as well before ripping off seven wins in a
 Forward Corey Perry and goaltender Frederik Andersen have led the quick start.
 Perry notched his second hat trick of the season in Wednesday's 4-1 win over
 Buffalo, while Andersen improved to 6-0-0 on the year with 22 saves.
 Perry became the fastest player in Ducks history to reach eight goals in a
 season, while Andersen is the first player in NHL history to win 26 of his
 first 31 career decisions (26-5-0).
 "Things are going well," said Perry. "The whole team has been playing well.
 It's just not me. There are a lot of things that are being done well. I'm just
 shooting the puck and good things are happening."
 Ryan Kesler scored a goal and Ryan Getzlaf added two assists for the Ducks.
 The Blue Jackets aim to win on a second straight night as they topped the
 Sharks 5-4 on Thursday. Ryan Johansen and Mark Letestu both scored twice, with
 Letestu deflecting David Savard's shot for the winner with 20.7 seconds left
 to play.
 Nick Foligno scored a game-tying goal on the power play with 8:20 left in
 regulation and added two assists, while Scott Hartnell assisted on four goals.
 Sergei Bobrovsky made 33 saves.
 "It's a great victory now but we can spoil it in 24 hours," said Letestu after
 his club battled back from a 2-0 deficit after the first period to split the
 first two of a four-game road trip and improve to 4-2-0 on the young season.
 The Blue Jackets and Ducks split two meetings a season ago, with each team
 winning on the road. Columbus has won three of four and seven of its past 10
 in Anaheim.
 10/24 10:47:18 ET