SPORTS

NHL: 4 things to watch Saturday night

11/01/2014 12:12 EDT | Updated 01/01/2015 05:59 EST
Five Canadian National Hockey League teams are on the ice Saturday evening as the second month of the season begins with the clubs searching for consistency in a competitive league. As always, goaltending choices will play a key role in determining the outcomes.

Leafs looking to carry success to home ice

Both the Toronto Maple Leafs (5-4-1) and the Chicago Blackhawks (6--3-1) could implement goaltending changes for Saturday's tussle at the Air Canada Centre.

The Leafs may rest Jonathan Bernier after five consecutive starts, including Friday's 4-1 win in Columbus. James Reimer may draw the starting assignment.

The Blackhawks are likely to turn to Corey Crawford who's missed the last six starts due to an upper body injury. The Hawks went 3-3 with Antti Raanta and Scott Darling between the pipes.

Phil Kessel has had multi-point games for Toronto in his last two starts, giving him five on the season. Playing with Nazem Khadri as his centre, Kessel scored in a home ice win over Buffalo (the Leafs' first of the season) and the road win in Columbus.

Joffrey Lupul was briefly part of the leafs' top offensive line until finding out in Columbus that he had a broken right hand. Matt Fratin's replaced him with Khadri and Kessel.

​Senators need to reduce shots against

The Senators (5-2-1) come into Boston off a shootout loss at home to the Blackhawks, 5-4, on Thursday. they certainly haven't made life easy for goaltender Craig Anderson allowing 122 shots in three games with only one point to show for it. Patrick Kane bested Anderson with the shootout winner.

Boston (6-6-0) has played better of late and have a chance to climb above .500 for the first time. Winners of four of their last six, the Bruins received some spark from Brad Marchand who equalled his season's points total with two goals and an assist in the Bruins' 3-2 overtime win over Buffalo.

Tuuka Rask is slated to be in goal for Boston.

​Jets turn to Kane to ignite offence

Off to a 1-1 start on a four-game road swing, the Winnipeg Jets (4-5-1) turn to Evander Kane to make their attack take off in New York against the Rangers (5-4-0) The Jets are averaging only two goals per game.

Kane missed eight games with a knee injury and finally returned in a 2-1 loss to the New Jersey Devils on Thursday.

Goaltender Ondrej Pavelec, 3-1-1 with a 2.08 goals-against average in his last five starts has held Winnipeg in most games.

A fast start against the Rangers won't guarantee a Jets' victory because the Rangers are making a habit of comebacks. They've won four of their past five games, three with comebacks and the best was the latest, overcoming a three-goal third period deficit to defeat the Minnesota Wild, 5-4 on Monday.

Henrik Lundqvist has won his last three starts at home for the Blueshirts, with a 1.62 goals-against average.

​Oilers 0-for-West, face Canucks

In their final game of a seven-game homestand, the Edmonton Oilers (4-5-1) need to reverse some trends as they entertain the Vancouver Canucks (7-3).

First, the Oilers have yet to earn a point against Western Conference opponents and they're 0-2 against the Canucks.

Second, Canucks goaltender Ryan Miller has a lifetime mark of 9-0-0 against the Oilers with a 1.76 GAA.

Ben Scrivens backstopped the Oilers to four home wins in a row before falling to the Nashville Predators, 4-1 on Wednesday. Scrivens, though, is 2-2 lifetime against Vancouver, with a 1.77 GAA.

The Canucks ran their record to seven wins in 10 starts, thanks to Daniel Sedin's overtime winner Thursday against the Montreal Canadiens.

Vancouver will be missing Alex Burrows, who's serving a three-game suspension.

MORE:cbcSports