Sunday, December 20, 2009

NHL Recap 12-19-09

Stars of the night
--Henrik Lundqvist, 35 saves (16 in the third period) as the Rangers edged Philadelphia, 2-1.
--Karlis Skrastins and James Neal, two goals and an assist each for Dallas in a 4-3 win over Detroit.
--Jonas Hiller, 39 saves as Anaheim doubled up Phoenix, 4-2.
--Pittsburgh's penalty killers. The Penguins killed off all eight Buffalo power plays, including a 5-on-3 in the first period, a penalty with 2:06 remaining and a power play in overtime and Pittsburgh beat the Sabres, 2-1 in a shootout. Marc-Andre Fleury made 31 saves. Very entertaining game for only two goals scored.
--Matt Cullen, a goal and assist as Carolina won a game, 3-2 over Florida, avenging Friday night's 6-3 defeat.
--Jonas Gustavsson, 25 saves in his first start since having a second heart operation, and Toronto blanked Boston, 2-0. Phil Kessel remains scoreless against his former team.
--Alex Ovechkin, two goals and an assist as Washington scored four times in the third period to erase a two-goal deficit and defeat Edmonton, 4-2.

Don't look now, but...
The Nashville Predators are tied for the most points in the Western Conference. Nashville has 47 points, as do Chicago, Los Angeles and San Jose.

Martin Erat and Marcel Goc had a goal and two assists to help the Predators knock off Calgary, 5-3 on the road. Nashville erased a 3-2 deficit by scoring the game's final three goals.

Happy returns
Making a very early return from a tendon injury suffered in the opener, Montreal defenseman Andrei Markov scored two power play goals in support of Jaroslav Halak's 40 saves and the Canadiens defeated the Islanders, 3-0.

Non-surprise of the night
On the heels of the equipment fire that probably threw a wrench or two in the plans, Minnesota, also playing short a skater, dropped a 4-1 decision to Ottawa. Noted goal scorers Anton Volchenkov, Jarkko Ruutu and Erik Karlsson were among those who scored for the Senators, along with Milan Michalek, in support of Mike Brodeur's first career start. Martin Havlat ruined Brodeur's shutout bid.

Who are these freaking guys?
Speaking of big-name players netting goals, New Jersey had players like Rob Niedermayer (his fifth), Dean McAmmond (his first two) and Rod Pelley (his first), along with Brian Rolston's 13th, and held off Atlanta, 5-4.

The notable part of this game was Martin Brodeur was pulled after giving up three goals on six shots in the first period and was replaced by Yann Danis the rest of the way. Of all the "M. Brodeur"'s in the league, who woulda thunk it was Martin getting lit up?

Nik Antropov and Pavel Kubina had a goal and assist for the Thrashers.

Non-star of the night
What is taking place in Columbus cannot be called a sophomore slump. It's more like a sophomore disaster. Or sophomore catastrophe. Or just a nightmare for young goalie Steve Mason, who gave up three goals on seven shots in just over four minutes and was pulled in Colorado's 5-2 rout of the Blue Jackets.

Wojtek Wolski had three points, scoring twice, and Milan Hejduk also registered three on a goal and two assists.

Non-3 Stars Selection
Montreal's Tomas Plekanec, two assists and 16-9 on faceoffs. Marc-Andre Bergeron (assist), Markov and Halak were the three stars.

Stat of the night
8 - Number of minutes played at even-strength in the third period of the Pittsburgh-Buffalo game. There were six minor penalties called in the final 20 minutes, plus another in overtime

Quote of the night
"I would've thought we would've ripped the hinges off the gate tonight to get out on the ice. We were so far from that, in my opinion, to start the game. We got what we deserved."
Flyers coach Peter Laviolette

Marquee matchup
Sunday, Dec. 20 (2 games)
Detroit (18-12-5) at Chicago (22-8-3), 7 p.m. ET. Marian Hossa's first game against the Red Wings.

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