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Tuesday, January 4, 2011
What to watch for: Lightning-Capitals

By ESPN Stats & Analysis

Tampa Bay Lightning at Washington Capitals, 7 p.m. ET

Steven Stamkos and Alex Ovechkin
Steven Stamkos will try to stop Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals on Tuesday night at Verizon Center.
Steven Stamkos will share the spotlight the next two nights against the league's brightest stars, Tuesday night with Alex Ovechkin and Wednesday night with Sidney Crosby.

It is only fitting that Stamkos is facing the Capitals and Penguins in January, because it was around this time in his 2008-09 rookie season when he started to find his offensive groove. Since the 2009 calendar year began, Stamkos is tied with the most goals in the NHL. His 44 power-play goals in that span are 12 more than anyone else.

The Capitals are coming off a win over Pittsburgh in the Winter Classic and are on a three-game winning streak. The Lightning have won their last two and lead the Southeast Division based on win percentage, because both teams have 51 points in the standings.

Most goals since Jan. 1, 2009
Sidney Crosby101
Steven Stamkos    101
Alex Ovechkin95
Ilya Kovalchuk81

E.J. Hradek's pick: I'll take Tampa.

Minnesota Wild at New Jersey Devils, 7 p.m. ET

Devils goalie Martin Brodeur has been struggling of late and it appears that he will share the goaltending duties with Johan Hedberg, who will get the start in this game. Hedberg has four wins and three ties in nine career appearances against the Wild.

Devils goalies since Nov. 15
Brodeur    Hedberg
W-L-OTL1-10-0*4-5-0
GAA3.75*2.30
Save pct.    .851*.918
* - Worst in NHL since Nov. 15 (min. 10 games)

E.J. Hradek's pick: I'm calling for a Wild win.

Buffalo Sabres at Colorado Avalanche, 9 p.m. ET

The Avalanche were once the highest-scoring team in the league. But in their last six games, they have scored just 10 goals in that span. Since the 1998-99 season, the Sabres are 5-1-2 on the road against the Avalanche.

Fewest goals per game since Dec. 20
Avalanche    1.7
Devils1.7
Senators1.8
Oilers1.8

E.J. Hradek's pick: I suspect the Avalanche will get things turned around with a win over the Sabres.

Detroit Red Wings at Edmonton Oilers, 9 p.m. ET

Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard has come back to Earth after a terrific start. Since Dec. 1, Howard has lost five games in regulation. In the first two months of the season, Howard lost a combined three games in regulation and OT/SO.

Howard's season
Oct.-Nov.    Dec.-Jan.
W-L-OTL14-2-26-5-1
GAA2.522.99
Save pct.    .913.901

E.J. Hradek's pick: The pick is Detroit.

• Hradek's picks for all of Tuesday's games Insider