Friday, November 27, 2009

NHL Recap 11-26-09

Stars of the night
--Brian Elliott, 32 saves in Ottawa's 2-1 win over Columbus. Steve Mason had a solid outing ruined by giving up a soft goal late to Nick Foligno on a power play that proved to be the game-winner.
--Bob Luongo, 31 saves to help Vancouver down Los Angeles, 4-1. Anze Kopitar has almost fallen off the earth; no goals in eight straight now.

Be careful what you say
Blue Jackets defenseman Jan Hejda called out Ottawa's Jason Spezza - despite being in different conferences - after the teams' last meeting, a 1-0 Columbus victory, accusing Spezza of not wanting to play as Ottawa's season appeared to be over. Well, Spezza scored 53 seconds after Kristian Huselius gave Columbus a 1-0 lead late in the first period Thursday. Later, Hejda was in the penalty box when Foligno scored his goal.

That was apparently used as motivation by Ottawa; the funny thing is, Hejda made those comments back on Jan. 30. Spezza has a long memory, I guess.

Third time's the charm
One player who's become a running punchline in the NHL is Vancouver's Kyle Wellwood. The jokes center mainly around his weight, but he's also gone the first 19 games without a goal. Things are so bad, he basically had to score three times Thursday before finally getting one.

Wellwood was originally credited with a goal off a scramble in front of the net. That was changed to Tanner Glass' goal - bringing disappointed boos from the Canucks fans, who desperately wanted Wellwood off the schneid. Then, late in the game, Wellwood had a crack at an empty net from the blue line, only to have his shot appear to deflect off Kings defenseman Drew Doughty and glance off the post.

He got another chance a few seconds later, however, and buried it for his first goal of the season. He netted 18 a year ago. Wellwood also had an assist, and Henrik Sedin and Alex Burrows each had a goal and an assist for Vancouver.

Non-3 Stars Selection of the night
Vancouver's Ryan Kesler. One assist and a dominant night in the faceoff circle, winning 18 draws and losing just seven (72 percent). The third star was LA's Dustin Brown (despite being a minus-4; he had seven shots on goal); Henrik Sedin was second and Luongo was No. 1.

Quote of the night
"You remember it -- you don't worry too much about it but going into the game I definitely looked back to when we were struggling and they weren't shy to step on us a little bit and rub it in."
Spezza. But I still can't get over that they're still upset from a quote from so long ago.

Marquee matchup
Friday, Nov. 27 (12 games)
New Jersey (15-6-1) at Boston (12-8-4), noon. Not sure how entertaining this game will actually be, given the current state of offenses of both, but it's the only game between teams who are in the top-five in their conference. The Bruins are streaking, with four straight wins, all with Tuukka Rask in goal. The Devils look to get their first road win since going 9-0 to start.

Hockey will be on virtually all day. A game at noon, a game at one, two games at 2 p.m., one at 4 p.m., then into the standard schedule of games at 7, 7:30 and on.

Lastly, since we're in the holiday spirit, Happy Pins and Needles Day to all.

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