Thursday's games: Points to watch

What to watch for in tonight's slate of NHL games:

Maple Leafs at Bruins, 7 p.m. ET

  • Phil Kessel leads the NHL with seven goals and 12 points. He has the highest goals per game rate in October since the 2008-09 season (0.77), ahead of Marian Gaborik (0.67), Alex Ovechkin (0.65), Alexander Semin (0.64) and Steven Stamkos (0.64).

  • Kessel's 12 points are the most by a Toronto player in the first five games of a season since Doug Gilmour had 13 in 1993-94 (courtesy of Elias Sports Bureau).

  • The Bruins are 2-4-0 this season; they were 6-2-1 in October last season.

  • The Bruins are 1-3-0 at home.

Capitals at Flyers, 7 p.m. ET

  • The Capitals are 5-0-0 to start season for the first time in franchise history.

  • Four of the Capitals’ five wins have been decided by one goal.

  • Capitals goalie Tomas Vokoun is 4-0-0 to start season; he’s allowed three goals in the past three games (0.99 goals-against average).

  • Alex Ovechkin has one goal in five games, the fewest over that span in his career.

  • The Flyers are 7-for-18 (38.9 percent) on power play in their past three games.

  • Philly’s Matt Read has six points, tying him for the NHL lead among rookies.

  • Three of the past four games between the two teams has gone to overtime or a shootout.

Canadiens at Penguins, 7 p.m. ET

  • Penguins defenseman Kris Letang is serving the second game of his two-game suspension for his boarding hit on Winnipeg Jets forward Alex Burmistrov on Monday night.

  • The Penguins are 27-15-7 without Sidney Crosby in the lineup. The captain hasn’t played since Jan. 5, 2011 with post-concussion symptoms.

  • Pittsburgh is playing its ninth game in 14 days (most games played in NHL).

  • The Penguins have the highest penalty-kill percentage in the NHL (26-for-27, 96.3 percentage).

  • Pittsburgh forward James Neal has six goals in eight games.

  • Montreal goalie Carey Price has 99 career wins. According to Elias Sports Bureau, he could become the fifth-youngest goalie in the NHL expansion era to reach 100 career wins.

  • The Canadiens are 1-3-1, posting the fewest wins to start the season since 1999-2000 (1-4-0); they are 4-1-0 in their past five games against the Penguins.

Islanders at Lightning, 7:30 p.m. ET

  • Forward John Tavares has had two straight four-point games, the first Isles player to accomplish the feat since Robert Reichel in March 1997, according to Elias. Tavares also has a point on eight of Islanders’ nine goals.

  • Lightning goalie Dwayne Roloson has a 5.09 goals-against average this season (the worst among qualifying goalies). He has allowed at least five goals in each of past three games (6.73 goals-against average in that span).

  • Tampa Bay is winless in its past five games (0-3-2).

Sabres at Panthers, 7:30 p.m. ET

  • The Sabres are 4-1-0 (3-7-2 in October last season) and 3-0-0 on road.

  • Luke Adam is tied for the rookie lead with six points.

Blackhawks at Avalanche, 9 p.m. ET

  • This will be the Avalanche’s first home game since Oct. 8 (5-0-0 on subsequent road trip).

  • The Avalanche’s four of past five wins have been decided by one goal (two games went to a shootout).

  • The Blackhawks are 3-0-1 in their past four games after losing their season opener 2-1 against Dallas.

Rangers at Flames, 9:30 p.m. ET

  • This will be the Rangers’ fifth game of a six-game season-opening road trip.

  • The Rangers are only team left yet to score power-play goal (0-for-16).

  • Gaborik leads the Rangers with three goals; no other player has more than one.

  • Rangers forward Brad Richards has at least one point in all four games.

  • New York has lost both games in Calgary since lockout; their last win in Calgary was Nov. 14, 2002.