SPORTS

Hasek night in Buffalo & more NHL things to know

01/13/2015 12:06 EST | Updated 03/15/2015 05:59 EDT
The Sabres will honour one of the greatest goalies in history on Tuesday, while the Senators face their No. 2 all-time scorer for the first time and the Canucks take on the NHL's top team.

Here are five things to know for tonight in the NHL:

The Dominator back in Buffalo

Dominik Hasek will be on hand to see his No. 39 raised to the rafters in Buffalo as the Sabres retire the jersey of one of the best, and most unorthodox, goaltenders ever to play the game.

Hasek, who joined the Hockey Hall of Fame in November, won the Hart Trophy for the NHL's MVP twice, and the Vezina for top goalie six times. The Dominator famously carried the Czech Republic to a shocking gold medal at the 1998 Olympics in Nagano after toppling heavily favoured Canada in the semifinals...

... and the following year dragged a limited Buffalo team to the Stanley Cup final, where the Sabres lost on Brett Hull's infamous "No Goal" in the third overtime of Game 6.

Drafted in the 10th round in 1983 by Chicago, Hasek didn't reach the NHL until the 1990-91 season and introduced himself to the world with a strong relief appearance in the 1992 Cup final against a Pittsburgh team that featured Mario Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr.

Hasek played for the Sabres from 1992-2001, and also spent time with Ottawa and Detroit (the Wings play Buffalo tonight), where he had two stints that included Stanley Cup wins in 2002 and '08.

A superb athlete with dazzling flexibility, Hasek played an unusual, acrobatic, style that caused some fans to label him a "flopper." But those able to see beyond the unconventional style and old-fashioned mask saw a tireless worker grounded in the rock-solid fundamentals of positioning and taking away the lower part of the net.

Spezza vs. Sens

Jason Spezza faces Ottawa for the first time in opposing colours when his Dallas Stars host the Senators at 8:30 p.m. ET.

Spezza spent his first 11 NHL seasons in Ottawa before asking for a trade and getting sent to Dallas just before the free-agency period opened last Canada Day. He was heading into the final year of his contract, but in November signed a four-year, $30-million US extension with the Stars.

Picked No. 2 overall by Ottawa in the 2001 draft — right behind Ilya Kovalchuk (417 NHL goals before leaving for the KHL) and ahead of Alexander Svitov (13 NHL goals, also now in the KHL) — Spezza gave the Senators four seasons with at least 32 goals, and four with 84-plus points. He helped Ottawa to the Stanley Cup final in 2007 with 22 points in 20 playoff games.

Spezza also captained the Senators last season after Daniel Alfredsson fled for Detroit. He ranks second, behind Alfredsson, on the team's all-time leaderboard for goals (251), assists (436) and points (687).

Seguin, Benn iffy

Ottawa missed the playoffs last season with Spezza as their leader, and he hasn't escaped the losing in Dallas. The Stars are 18-16-7 after losing four in a row and, like Ottawa (17-16-8), are well out of a wild-card spot.

Dallas could be weakened tonight as NHL goals leader Tyler Seguin (illness) and fellow high-scoring forward Jamie Benn (undisclosed injury) are both questionable.

Canucks face NHL-best Preds

The Vancouver Canucks will try to deal the league's top team a rare home defeat when they visit Nashville at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. ET.

After missing the playoffs last spring, the Predators are perhaps the NHL's most pleasant surprise this season. Their 28-9-4 record is the best in the league, and they've been nearly unbeatable at home, going 16-2-1 with their only losses coming to Calgary (in a shootout), Pittsburgh and Chicago.

A turnaround this dramatic is usually accompanied by a fair bit of luck. Indeed, Nashville's 102.3 PDO mark (as per stats.hockeyanalysis.com) makes it the NHL's most fortunate team by that measure, which adds a team's shooting and save percentages (in theory, the number should gravitate to 100 as shooting luck evens out). On the other hand, the Predators ranks fifth in possession rate as measured by Fenwick Close (53.3%), suggesting their stellar record is sustainable.

Nashville is second-best in the league in goals allowed per game (2.20) and ninth in goals for (2.95) with a balanced attack led by Calder Trophy favourite Filip Forsberg. The 11th-overall pick in 2012 leads all rookies in goals (14), assists (24), points (38), shots on goal (127) and plus-minus rating (plus-22). He's first among all first-year forwards in average ice time (17:18) and leads all his teammates in goals, points, shots and plus-minus.

Jets, Oilers in action

In the other games involving Canadian teams on Tuesday night, Edmonton visits St. Louis and Winnipeg hosts Florida.

MORE:cbcSports