Wednesday, November 4, 2009

NHL Recap 11-3-09

Stars of the night
--Chris Osgood, 29 saves; Detroit blanks Boston, 2-0.
--Rich Peverley, 1 goal, 2 assists; Atlanta wins a wild one, 5-4 over Montreal. Brian Gionta 2 goals in the loss.
--Ryan Kesler, 3 assists; Mikael Samuelsson, 2 goals; Vancouver downs the Rangers, 4-1.

The Kessel Effect
Phil Kessel had an immediate impact in his Toronto debut. Instead of losing in regulation, the Maple Leafs lost in overtime, 2-1 to Tampa Bay, on Ryan Malone's goal. Antero Niittymaki made 40 saves and Vincent Lecavalier scored just his second goal of the season.

Kessel registered an Alex Ovechkin-like number of shots, with 10 that made it on goal plus another 10 missed shots, but he did not figure in on the lone Toronto goal.

Nice saves, guys
Two of the three best saves by Pittsburgh in its 4-3 win over Anaheim came not from goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury but by centers Jordan Staal and Sidney Crosby. Fleury had the other great save, a glove stop on Saku Koivu from point-blank range that made Koivu grab his head in disbelief.

In the second period, Ducks forward Bobby Ryan was at the side of the goal with a lot of net at which to shoot. Staal got his stick in front of Ryan's just as Ryan shot and deflected the shot off the side of the goal. That block helped Staal earn the third star of the game.

Late in the game, with the Penguins leading 4-3, Scott Niedermayer stared at an open net after Fleury was caught out of the crease. Niedermayer slid the puck toward the net, where Crosby stacked his pads, his body completely on the ice, to block the shot with his stomach. The puck slid out of danger and Pascal Dupuis' goal stood up as the winner after a frantic finish.

The win was just Pittsburgh's second in its last 16 games in California. It also tied an NHL record with seven road wins in seven tries to begin the season. The Devils are also 7-0 away from New Jersey.

Non-Three Stars Selection of the night
Tough to pick one tonight. I might show bias here, but Penguins winger Tyler Kennedy might be the pick. In his first game back after missing three with an injury, he had two assists and was a plus-3, and played key roles in setting up the first Penguins' goal, by Mike Rupp, and the third goal by Alex Goligoski. He had an immediate impact on an offense that has struggled without Evgeni Malkin and Sergei Gonchar.

Staal was the third star, Pittsburgh's Kris Letang (1 goal, 1 assist) was the second star, and Anaheim's Corey Perry, with two goals including the 100th of his career, was the No. 1 selection.

Quote of the night
"We're going to have to decide that we're tired of hearing we had a good effort without winning."
Bruins coach Claude Julien. Boston has been shut out in two straight games and is now 6-7-1.

Marquee matchup
Wednesday, Nov. 4 (6 games)
San Jose (10-4-1) at Columbus (7-5-1), 7 p.m. ET. The Sharks are playing some pretty good hockey right now, with five straight wins and only seven goals allowed in that stretch, with a penalty killing unit that is 17-for-18. The Blue Jackets' main draw is Rick Nash, who is just a beast. He's fourth in the NHL in scoring with 20 points.

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