As Canadian and Finnish hockey fans get ready to cheer on their teams at the World Junior Championship, we give you our five things to watch on a busy Saturday in the NHL.
Senators and Canadiens back at it
Remember last season when Ottawa upset Montreal in a thrilling back-and-forth first-round playoff series? Well tonight marks the first time the two teams have met in Montreal since then and Habs fans won’t be easy on the Sens. The rivalry between the two squads is a good one and should provide an entertaining game for fans to watch on Saturday night. The Senators have won three straight, while the Canadiens are coming off of a win over Dallas. Expect this to be a game of the night candidate.
His name is Bracken Kearns
The 32-year-old minor-league journeyman has three goals in three straight games for San Jose and will look to continue to play an important role for the Sharks this afternoon against Colorado. Before this season, Kearns played a total of 13 NHL games – including the playoffs – for San Jose and Florida, never scoring a goal.
Henrik Lundqvist looks to turn it around in Toronto
‘King Henrik’ has barely been a prince as of late, allowing at least three goals in nine of his last ten starts, which included five goals on 28 shots against Pittsburgh on Friday. The new long-term contract the 31-year-old signed in early December didn’t seem to fix the goaltender’s woes, as he is putting up the worst numbers of his career. Lundqvist currently ranks second in the league in losses with 16 and sixth in the league in goals against with 80.
Shane Doan returns from Rocky Mountain Fever
It will be nice for Phoenix to have the veteran Doan back in the line-up after losing Oliver Ekman-Larsson to injury earlier this week. Ekman-Larsson took a vicious hit from behind from Columbus forward Derek MacKenzie, who received a three game suspension for his actions. Doan may be 37, but he’s still producing at close to a point-per-game pace for the Coyotes, recording 23 points in 27 games so far this season.
Ed Jovanovski makes his season debut
The defenseman may not be the player he was earlier in his career, but it’s still an exciting moment for Panthers fans to see Jovanovski make his season debut as he returns tonight against Nashville. The former first-overall pick is 37 and was a mainstay on the Florida blueline before moving onto big seasons in Vancouver and Phoenix and made his return to the Panthers in 2011-12. The veteran is returning from – get your old man jokes ready – hip surgery.