SPORTS

NHL: 4 things to know for Thursday night

01/15/2015 12:32 EST | Updated 03/17/2015 05:59 EDT
The NHL will be dominated by Canadian teams on Thursday night, with all seven squads in action.

The Canadiens look to increase their road winning streak to seven when they face the Senators, the Leafs look to get on the board in California, the Canucks try to end their slide and the Flames give Joni Ortio his second start in net.

Here's what you need to know for tonight's games:

Habs continue road surge

The Montreal Canadiens (27-12-3) visit the Ottawa Senators (17-17-8) for their second meeting of the season with a distinct advantage. 

The Canadiens have won their last six road games, and they've beaten Ottawa four times in a row. In the teams' first meeting on Dec. 20, the Canadiens won in a 4-1 rout at home. 

The Senators continue to struggle, but could benefit from a return to the Canadian Tire Centre. They are ending a four-game road swing where they only claimed a single victory. 

Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty has been hot lately with at least a goal in his last five games, including two goals in Wednesday's 3-2 come-from-behind victory in Columbus. 

Leafs face 3rd obstacle in California

The Toronto Maple Leafs (22-19-3) continue their four-game Western road trip with a game against the San Jose Sharks (23-16-5).

It's been a disappointing trip through California. Toronto was shut out in consecutive losses to Los Angeles and Anaheim — the latter a 4-0 shutout on Wednesday night.

The Sharks claimed both games in last season's series, including a dominating 6-2 win at home where forward Joe Pavelski scored two goals and added an assist. The 30-year-old is also his team's leading goal-scorer this season with 22 to date. 

Canucks try to end slide

The Vancouver Canucks (25-15-3) will look to end a three-game skid when they meet the Philadelphia Flyers (17-20-7) for the first time this season.

Vancouver is coming off a 5-1 loss to Nashville on Tuesday night, but the team heads to the Wells Fargo Center with a 7-1-0 record against Metropolitan Division teams. 

Flyers goalie Ray Emery is set to start after losing in his last three starts. As losers of two of its past three, Philadelphia will also be hungry for a win.

Flames give Ortio another nod

The Calgary Flames (22-18-3) will be giving goalie Joni Ortio his second chance to shine as they visit the Arizona Coyotes (16-22-4).

The 23-year-old had an impressive first outing on Saturday with a 1-0 shutout against the Canucks. Ortio stopped all 36 shots he faced, and earned first-star honours. 

Calgary has won each meeting this season, outscoring Arizona 13-5 over three games. 

Flames forward Mikael Backlund has three goals and five points in his last three games since returning from an abdominal injury, including the game-winner on Saturday. 

In other action, the Edmonton Oilers are in Tampa Bay to take on the Lightning for the final time this season. Edmonton took the last meeting 3-2 on Oct. 20. 

The Winnipeg Jets will visit the Dallas Stars after a dominating 8-2 victory at home over the Florida Panthers on Tuesday.

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