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NHL: 5 things to know for Tuesday

02/24/2015 12:53 EST | Updated 04/26/2015 05:59 EDT
It's getting to be crunch time in the NHL as February draws to a close, and five Canadian teams battling in Tuesday's games face injury questions, slipping momentum and goaltender issues.

Here are five things to know for Tuesday night.

Canucks, Bruins face key injuries

A pair of hot-and-cold teams, the Canucks (34-22-3) and the Bruins (29-21-9), meet in Boston with both teams missing key starters. Although each team won its latest start, both proved costly, as the Canucks lost goaltender Ryan Miller to a leg injury, while the Bruins saw star centre David Krejci go down with a knee injury. Both players could be out four to six weeks.

Eddie Lack took over in goal for the Canucks in a 4-0 shutout win over the Islanders on Sunday. Lack turned aside all 27 shots he saw after Miller stopped the first 10. The Canucks are confident Lack can handle the bulk of the load for the next month or so because of his extensive playing time late last season. Jacob Markstrom was recalled from the Utica Comets to serve as the back-up.

The Canucks are three points ahead of three teams for second place in the Pacific Division — L.A., Calgary and San Jose.

The Bruins, who snapped a six-game losing streak with a 6-2 win over the Blackhawks Sunday, received bad news when they learned that key forward David Krejci would be out four to six weeks with a partially torn MCL in his knee. Krejci had only recently returned after missing 17 games with a groin injury.

Boston is still hanging onto the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference, three points up on the Florida Panthers, but has struggled in the New Year in all facets of its game.

​Top duo carrying Canadiens

It's not fair to call the Canadiens (38-16-5) a two-man team, but there's no denying that Max Pacioretty carries the Montreal offence, while Carey Price supplies the air-tight goaltending that's allowed the Canadiens to have the best record in the Eastern Conference.

They'll need to be at their best in St. Louis against the Blues (38-17-4).

Pacioretty scored two first period goals in the Canadiens' 3-1 win over Columbus Saturday that got his club out of a two-game slide. With 29 goals, the 26-year-old left winger has 11 more goals than the next-highest scorer on the team, Tomas Plekanec.

All Price has done of late is go 10-1-1 in his last dozen starts, fashioning a 1.14 goals-against average. That's huge for the offence-deprived Canadiens, who rank 22nd in goals scored.

Montreal made a trade Tuesday, acquiring Devante Smith-Pelly from Anaheim for fellow 22-year-old forward Jiri Sekac.

Flames need turnaround

Back-to-back loses for the Flames (32-23-4) have moved them out of a playoff spot after building a strong foundation for ending a five-year absence from post-season play. The Flames, on an extended road trip with curling's Brier tournament taking over their home ice, have to deal with a Rangers (36-16-6) squad that's particularly strong at Madison Square Garden.

For the Rangers, Martin St. Louis is heating up with six points, including four goals, in his last four games. Rick Nash, second in the NHL with 37 goals, scored the shootout winner in the Rangers' 4-3 victory against Columbus Sunday.

Oilers brace for Wild ride

The Oilers continue their season-long quest to try to find a way to win against Western teams. Edmonton (17-34-10) is a woeful 4-23-9 against teams in their own conference and runs into a tough opponent in the Minnesota Wild (31-2-5).

With eight wins and a tie in their last 10 starts, the Wild have scrapped their way into the final Western playoff spot and carry a six-game home-ice winning streak. A huge key to their success has been goaltender Devan Dubnyk, a former Oiler, who has a 5-0-0 record against Edmonton and has five shutouts since joining the Wild from Arizona on Jan. 15. In that time, Dubnyk's record has been 13-2-2.

​Jets try to regroup at home

Two teams dealing with inconsistent goaltending meet in Winnipeg, but at least the Jets (30-20-11) have home-ice advantage, while the Dallas Stars (27-24-9) do not.

Winnipeg has a 1-5-2 record in its last eight road games, including a 4-3 overtime loss in Toronto Saturday. Neither Michael Hutchinson, who has allowed four or more goals in six of his last eight starts, nor Ondrej Pavelec, who has just three wins in 11 starts and nearly a 3.50 goals-against average, have been able to close the floodgates.

Dallas, still missing sniper Tyler Seguin, also has goaltending woes with newcomer Jhonas Enroth, obtained from Buffalo, and Kari Lehtonen struggling.

The Stars trail the Jets by eight points.

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