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NHL: 4 things to watch Friday

01/02/2015 11:57 EST | Updated 03/04/2015 05:59 EST
Four Canadian teams play their first game of the New Year as the Toronto Maple Leafs battle injury woes, while the Montreal Canadiens and Calgary Flames carry four-game winning streaks. Those stories plus the Edmonton Oilers quest to avoid a dubious record in NHL: 4 things to watch.

Undermanned Leafs soldier on

The Maple Leafs' 4-3 shootout win Wednesday in Boston came at a price. Both Joffrey Lupul and Peter Holland were injured in the game and were sent back to Toronto for further assessment. Lupul. who left the game midway through, was placed on the injured reserve. Holland, who continued against the Bruins after sustaining his injury, is awaiting results of an MRI.

The Leafs (21-14-3) are 2-3-0 on their seven-game road trip due to the World Junior Hockey Championships taking over the Air Canada Centre. Friday they're meeting a struggling Minnesota Wild team (17-14-4) that's run into a 1-3-3 stretch and they've lost their last four games at home.

Nazem Khadri scored the shootout winner for the Leafs who welcomed back Leo Komarov who missed 14 games with a concussion. Komarov wasted little time finding the scoresheet as he opened the scoring in the Boston game with his fifth goal of the season. Jonathan Bernier stopped Boston's final shootout attempt by David Krejci.

Habs' Price chasing milestones

Carey Price got a break and a night off in the Canadiens' final start of 2014, stepping aside for Dustin Tokarski in Montreal's 2-1 shootout victory over the Florida Panthers Tuesday. P-A Parenteau provided the game-winner.

But he's headed back to the crease Friday in New Jersey as the Canadiens (24-11-2) face the Devils (13-1-9).

Price, 27, is expected to play in his 400th National Hockey game and he's seeking his 200th NHL victory. He also has a nice round 20 wins for the Habs thus far this season.

With a 2-6-3 record in their last 11 games, the Devils, now sporting three coaches behind the bench, including general manager Lou Lamoriello, since firing Peter DeBoer one week ago, have nine injured players, all of whom are day to day and some are slated to play Friday.

Flames, Isles on collision course

Two of the hottest teams are meeting in Calgary Friday as the Flames (21-15-3) try to keep a perfect home-stand going as they entertain the New York Islanders (25-11-1).

Josh Jooris notched an overtime winner Wednesday in the Flames' 4-3 win over the Edmonton Oilers. That was Calgary's fourth win in a row after an 8-game swoon. Three of those wins came at home as the club is midway through a six-game run at the Saddledome.

Jaroslav Halak has been strong in goal for the Islanders who have posted a 6-1-1 record in their last eight games. Their latest win was Wednesday in Winnipeg where they received two goals from Frans Nielsen in their 5-2 triumph.

Another challenge for Oilers

The Edmonton Oilers (8-22-8) and the Colorado Avalanche (14-15-8) each were involved in 4-3 overtime games Wednesday. Although both teams are dwelling deep down in the Western Conference standings it probably says something that the Oilers lost their OT game to Calgary, while the Avalanche won theirs against Philadelphia.

There's another dubious feat of misfortune that the Oilers would like to avoid as they have gone 11 straight road games (0-6-5) without a win. That matches a 2010 team record stretch for consecutive road losses.

The Avalanche, with a .500 record on home ice, play five of six games in Denver.

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