National Hockey League
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      ***** National Hockey League Previews from The Sports Network *****
                               Friday, October 31
                              (All times Eastern)
 ( - The hobbled Columbus Blue Jackets will try to halt a
 three-game skid when they welcome the Toronto Maple Leafs for Friday's battle
 at Nationwide Arena.
 Columbus has been handed three straight regulation setbacks and lost each of
 its last two outings by 5-2 margins. The Blue Jackets are 4-5-0 this season,
 and the slow start has more than a little to with the club's inability to stay
 The Blue Jackets have been beset by injuries in the first month of the season,
 and two more names were added to the list on Wednesday as defenseman James
 Wisniewski and center Mark Letestu were both placed on injured reserve.
 Wisniewski is expected to be sidelined for 1-to-2 weeks with a broken finger
 he suffered in Tuesday's game against Ottawa. Letestu could be out for a month
 with a groin injury he sustained against the Senators.
 Goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky is also out with a broken finger, while forwards
 Artem Anisimov (head), Matt Calvert (upper body) and Nick Foligno (stinger)
 have also been hurt since last weekend. Brandon Dubinsky, Nathan Horton and
 Boone Jenner have yet to play this season because of injuries.
 Foligno, however, could play tonight after missing Tuesday's loss to Ottawa.
 After losing 5-2 in Los Angeles on Sunday, Columbus returned home and fell to
 the Senators by the same margin. The score was tied at 2-2 after 40 minutes,
 but Ottawa scored three unanswered goals in the third to notch the victory.
 "We just ran out of gas," Blue Jackets forward Adam Cracknell said. "We lost
 some guys and made some mistakes."
 David Savard and Cam Atkinson each netted goals in the loss, while Curtis
 McElhinney made 29 saves in place of an injured Bobrovsky.
 McElhinney expects to start again tonight with Anton Forsberg serving as the
 The Maple Leafs hope to take advantage of the injury-riddled Blue Jackets
 tonight after winning for the second time in three games by downing lowly
 Buffalo on Tuesday.
 Jonathan Bernier only needed to stop 10 shots to post a shutout against the
 Sabres, while Tyler Bozak and Phil Kessel each had a goal and an assist en
 route to a 4-0 home win. The 10 shots allowed set a Maple Leafs record for
 fewest shots yielded in a game.
 James van Riemsdyk and Jake Gardiner also scored and Morgan Rielly supplied
 two helpers for the Maple Leafs, who will try to win consecutive games tonight
 for the second time this season.
 "Our expectation is to carry this on to the next one," Toronto head coach
 Randy Carlyle said of the win. "Tonight, everything fell our way and we'll
 take it because we were in drastic need of a performance at home."
 While the Leafs have struggled to a 2-4-0 record at home, they are unbeaten in
 regulation on the road, going 2-0-1 as the guest.
 Columbus is 2-2-0 at home this season and has two wins in five all-time
 meetings with Toronto at Nationwide Arena. The Blue Jackets have taken three
 in a row and four of the past five meetings overall.
 ( - The Los Angeles Kings will be glad to leave Pennsylvania
 behind when they continue their five-game road trip in Friday's meeting with
 the Detroit Red Wings.
 The Kings have dropped the first two tilts on their swing, losing a 3-2
 overtime decision Tuesday in Philadelphia before falling to Pittsburgh 3-0 on
 Thursday. The reigning Stanley Cup champions had won six straight before
 suffering the recent defeats in the Keystone State.
 Los Angeles also had an eight-game point streak snapped in the Steel City,
 suffering its first regulation loss since opening the season with a 4-0 home
 setback against San Jose.
 The Kings fell behind 2-0 in the first period of Thursday's game and never
 recovered. Pittsburgh recorded a pair of power-play tallies in the first and
 went 2-for-6 with the man advantage. Marc-Andre Fleury also stopped 36 shots
 for the shutout victory.
 "We took way too many penalties and they're the best power play in the
 league," Kings forward Dustin Brown said. "That was the story of the game."
 Martin Jones made 20 stops in defeat for the Kings, who played once again
 without star centerman Anze Kopitar.
 Kopitar has missed the last two games with an upper-body injury and is
 questionable for tonight along with fellow forwards Marian Gaborik and Trevor
 Lewis, who are both dealing with upper-body injuries. The Kings also continue
 to be without defenseman Slava Voynov, who is suspended indefinitely by the
 league after being arrested earlier this month on domestic violence charges.
 L.A. was able to use its emergency-roster exemption to recall winger David Van
 der Gulik for Thursday's game after playing with just 11 forwards in
 The Kings will return to No. 1 goaltender Jonathan Quick in net tonight, but
 Quick is just 6-12-1 with a 3.06 goals against average in his career against
 Detroit is at Joe Louis Arena for just one game before playing its next three
 on the road. The Wings are 3-1-1 as the host and have won their last two in
 the Motor City.
 The Red Wings also have won three straight versus L.A. and have claimed four
 of five and seven of the last nine encounters in this series. The Kings have
 lost five straight in Motown since picking up their last win at the Joe on
 March 9, 2011.
 The Red Wings boast a 4-1-1 record over their last six games and are coming
 off Wednesday's 4-2 road victory over Washington.
 Detroit used a third-period comeback to down the Capitals at Verizon Center
 and improve to 5-2-2 on the young season. The Wings trailed 2-1 at the end of
 40 minutes before scoring three unanswered goals in the third period,
 including two from Justin Abdelkader.
 Abdelkader knotted the score at the 4:04 mark of the third and then gave
 Detroit a 3-2 lead midway through the stanza. He also added an assist for a
 three-point night.
 The two-goal performance gave Abdelkader five markers on the season, tying him
 with Gustav Nyquist for the team lead. Nyquist also scored on Wednesday, as he
 opened the scoring by tallying off a feed from Abdelkader.
 Pavel Datsyuk added a power-play tally late in the third to account for the
 final margin, while Henrik Zetterberg notched two assists. Jimmy Howard
 stopped 25-of-27 shots for the win, improving to 4-1-2 on the season.
 "We showed some good character there falling behind in the second period and
 then coming out and playing extremely well in the third," said Howard.
 "They're world class players and they work well together; they've done it for
 years. It's nice to see them team up here tonight for a couple [goals]."
 Howard is expected to start tonight and he boasts a 9-6-0 record and 2.40 GAA
 in 15 career tests against L.A.
 ANAHEIM DUCKS (8-3-0) AT DALLAS STARS (4-2-3), 8:30 P.M.
 ( - The Anaheim Ducks will try to get their struggling
 offense on track Friday night as they visit a Dallas Stars club that has given
 up its fair share of goals this season.
 The Ducks have lost two of three since winning seven in a row, held to just
 two goals over that span. They shut out the Chicago Blackhawks 1-0 on Tuesday,
 but were then blanked 2-0 by the St. Louis Blues two nights later.
 Jake Allen made 24 saves for the Blues, while John Gibson came up with 27
 saves in the loss. Gibson was coming off a 38-save shutout effort versus the
 "Our giveaways were immense out there," said Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau.
 "Unforced errors, that's the thing that bugs you."
 The Ducks had averaged 3.43 goals per game over their winning streak and
 tonight face a Stars club that ranks 27th out of 30 teams in yielding 3.56
 goals per game.
 Dallas has been idle since its own loss to the Blues on Tuesday, a 4-3
 overtime setback. St. Louis got the winner on the power play as Tyler Seguin
 was called for high-sticking just 14 seconds into the bonus frame.
 Seguin and Trevor Daley both had a goal and an assist in regulation and
 defenseman Jamie Oleksiak had a goal as well. His first career NHL tally came
 at 13:10 of the first period, but the Blues countered just 35 seconds later to
 start a back-and-forth affair.
 "We had just scored," said Lindy Ruff. "We made it easy on them. We cut the
 ice into about three-quarters and said, 'Here, we're going to give you a
 little bit of an opportunity.'"
 Lehtonen made 23 stops in Dallas' second straight loss, though the club does
 have a point in seven of its first nine games (4-2-3).
 Lehtonen is 4-0-3 with a 2.90 goals against average and .908 save percentage
 this season, while backup Anders Lindback has started both regulation losses,
 giving up nine goals on 60 shots.
 Dallas will visit the Minnesota Wild on Saturday, so it is unknown if Lehtonen
 or Lindback will start tonight. Lehtonen is 9-7-3 with a 2.41 GAA and .918
 save percentage in 19 starts versus the Ducks, while Lindback is 1-1-0 with a
 2.62 GAA and .920 save percentage in three meetings, including two starts.
 Frederik Andersen figures to get the call tonight for the Ducks for the second
 half of back-to-back games. He won his first six starts this season before a
 loss to San Jose on Sunday, and has a 1.70 GAA and .940 save percentage on the
 Andersen beat the Stars the only other time he faced them, stopping all 24
 shots faced over 40 minutes of relief.
 The Ducks have lost three of their last four to the Stars overall as well as
 five of seven and nine of their last 13 in Dallas.
 ( - Injuries have forced the Calgary Flames to turn to a
 number of reinforcements ahead of Friday's homestand-closing matchup with the
 Nashville Predators.
 The Flames hope the fresh bodies can get their offense on track before they
 hit the road for five in a row.
 Calgary has placed Mason Raymond (upper body), Matt Stajan (strained right
 knee) and Mikael Backlund (abdominal) on injured reserve over the past few
 days, while Joe Colborne, who leads the club with eight assists, also is
 unlikely to play tonight due to an upper-body injury.
 Both Colborne and Stajan were hurt in Tuesday's 2-1 shootout loss to the
 Montreal Canadiens, while Raymond landed on IR prior to that game. Backlund,
 meanwhile, has been battling his abdominal issue all season.
 Following the rash of injuries, forwards Devin Setoguchi and Brian McGrattan
 are expected to return to the lineup after serving as recent healthy
 scratches, while Markus Granlund and Michael Ferland have been recalled from
 the Adirondack Flames of the American Hockey League.
 Ferland was leading Adirondack with nine points on four goals and five
 assists, while Granlund had three goals and five points in eight games.
 The fresh faces will try to spark the offense in the finale of this homestand,
 one that has produced a 1-1-2 record. Calgary has scored just one goal in each
 loss while picking up a 5-0 win over Carolina as well.
 Defenseman Mark Giordano had the lone goal in Tuesday's shootout loss, while
 Jonas Hiller made 18 saves through overtime.
 "We won the puck. We just couldn't capitalize on a couple of good scoring
 chances," said Flames coach Bob Hartley. "This was one of our fastest games
 we've played all year. The pace was just unbelievable. From the bench I
 thought it was a great game to watch."
 Hiller will start over Karri Ramo tonight, marking the first time this season
 either of the two will make back-to-back starts. Hiller has allowed just three
 goals on 120 shots over his past four starts, but is only 4-9-4 lifetime
 versus the Predators with a 2.91 goals against average and .910 save
 Nashville resumes its six-game road trip tonight having opened the swing with
 Wednesday's 4-1 triumph over Edmonton. Pekka Rinne made 26 saves and Craig
 Smith scored a pair of goals.
 Taylor Beck and Shea Weber added tallies and Roman Josi chipped in a pair of
 assists in Nashville's third victory in four games.
 "That's a hot team. They had won four in a row. We knew we had to be ready,"
 Weber said of the Oilers.
 Rinne has gotten off to a 6-1-1 start this season, posting a 1.71 GAA and .936
 save percentage through eight starts. He is 5-5-3 lifetime versus the Flames
 with a 2.77 GAA and .903 save percentage.
 Rinne made 26 saves and Smith had two assists in a 3-2 shootout loss to the
 visiting Flames on Oct. 14. Filip Forsberg and Mike Ribeiro had the goals.
 Colborne had the shootout winner, while Giordano and fellow defenseman T.J.
 Brodie scored in regulation. Ramo posted 19 saves.
 The Predators are 6-1-2 in their past nine versus the Flames, but have lost
 five of their last seven trips to Calgary.
 10/31 10:57:21 ET