NHL: 3 things to know for Wednesday night
Leafs, Jets, Flames face tough road opponents
A trio of Canadian teams carry modest winning streaks into Wednesday night play in the NHL, but the Toronto Maple Leafs, Winnipeg Jets and Calgary Flames haven't had much luck against the opponents they'll be facing on the road.
Here are 3 things you need to know about Wednesday's games.
Leafs bolstered by return of Lupul, Booth
A pair of wins for the Maple Leafs (11-8-2) in their last two starts lessened the pressure on coach Randy Carlyle and the team, and they hope to keep the momentum going in Pittsburgh with the expected return of forwards Joffrey Lupul and David Booth.
Lupul missed a dozen games with a freak hand injury when he fell with a stick in his hands during practice. The next day he awoke with swelling and pain, and x-rays indicated a broken bone. The 22-goal scorer a year ago had been off to a slow start with just two goals and one assist in his first nine games.
Booth hasn't played a game this season after breaking a bone in his foot during the pre-season. Once a 31-goal scorer for the Florida Panthers, Booth played the last three seasons with the Vancouver Canucks. He's expected to join Lupul on a line with Trevor Smith.
The host Penguins (14-4-2) shook off home-and-home losses to the Islanders last weekend with an overtime win Monday over Boston that saw Evgeni Malkin score twice and Sidney Crosby pick up a goal and two assists. Crosby has 21 goals and 26 assists in 30 career games against the Leafs.
Pittsburgh has won both meetings this season and four games in a row against Toronto.
Jets dealing with revitalized Sabres
The Jets (11-9-3) opened a three-game road swing with a 4-2 victory in Columbus on Tuesday in which Evander Kane scored a pair of power-play goals and Andrew Ladd had a key goal that helped decide the contest.
Michael Hutchinson has been hot in goal for the Jets, with a 4-0-1 record and 0.85 goals-against average in his last five starts. Ondrej Pavelec who received the bulk of the Jets' starts in the early going, has been struggling the past couple of weeks.
Although they've won seven of their last eight meetings with Buffalo, the Jets are going up against a Sabres team that has finally hit its stride. Buffalo (6-13-2) has won three in a row, outscoring its opponents 12-4.
Tyler Ennis leads the club in goals (six) and points (13) with six of those points coming in the last five games.
Captain Brian Gionta finally cashed his first two goals of the season during the Sabres' winning streak.
Flames' road to San Jose bumpy
They haven't had much success of late in California against the Sharks, dropping eight of their last nine encounters.
Captain Mark Giordano remains a key figure for the Flames as he leads NHL defencemen in scoring with 24 points.
The Sharks (10-9-4) have dropped three straight, including a pair of shootout setbacks to Arizona and Florida to open a six-game homestand.
Antti Niemi is only 1-4-2 in his last seven starts in goal, but has traditionally played well against the Flames with a career 12-2-1 record against them.