Tuesday, December 22, 2009

NHL Recap 12-21-09: Brodeur sets record; Panthers beat down Flyers

Record-breaker of the night
Somehow it seems fitting that with all the offensive talent the Penguins boast on their team, they are the ones who are shut out for the NHL-record 104th time by Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur.

Not only because Pittsburgh would seemingly be a team not likely to get blanked, but also because Terry Sawchuck's 103rd career shutout also came against the Penguins.

Brodeur was rarely tested. He made a lot of saves - 35 - but the only time the Penguins really came close to scoring was when Sidney Crosby rang a shot loudly off the post with 1:41 to play. Brodeur's best save was a glove stop on Evgeni Malkin in the final minute.

Zach Parise had three assists for New Jersey in its 4-0 victory.

Congratulations to Brodeur, who received some applause at the end from the Pittsburgh crowd.

Rematch of the night
Is it just coincidence or is it the team? Either way, sparks always seem to fly when Philadelphia is involved in a hockey game.

This time, the Flyers played their first game against Florida since Mike Richards turned David Booth's brain into slush, and the rematch didn't disappoint. There were three fights in the first period, including Richards against Panthers captain Bryan McCabe, and a fourth fight in the third period.

Oh, Stephen Weiss registered four points (one goal) and Nathan Horton had two goals as the Panthers won, 4-1. Florida scored the game's first four goals. Michael Frolik had a goal and two assists.

Booth traveled with the team but still isn't close to returning.

Ironically, the Associated Press recap describes the Flyers as "punchless." Funny.

Stars of the night
--Henrik Lundqvist stopped 32 shots, Brandon Dubinsky and Marian Gaborik each had a goal and assist and the Rangers held off Carolina, 3-1, getting an empty net goal from Marc Staal to seal the win.
--Ryan Malone scored two third-period goals, and also had two assists, and Tampa Bay doubled up the Islanders, 4-2. Vincent Lecavalier and Steven Stamkos had a goal and assist for the Lightning. Mike Smith made 36 saves for the win.
--Tim Thomas made 29 saves, and Patrice Bergeron and Marco Sturm pushed pucks past Brian Elliott in the third period to give Boston a 2-0 win over Ottawa. Sturm became the first Bruin to reach double figures in goals. Elliott made 27 saves.
--Craig Anderson allowed two third-period goals in a span of 1:52 but his 28 saves helped Colorado hold off Minnesota, 4-3. Seven goals and only Colorado's T.J. Galiardi had multiple points with two assists.
--Patrick Marleau scored twice and Evgeni Nabokov made 36 saves for the Sharks, who got a Dallas own-goal to seal a 4-2 victory. Ryane Clowe was credited with a goal when Dallas rookie Ivan Vishnevskiy lost control of the puck at his blue line and it slid all the way into the vacated Stars net.
--Alexander Steen had a goal and three assists and Andy McDonald scored twice to power St. Louis over Edmonton, 7-2. After going 5-1-0 on a six-game road trip, the Oilers went 0-4-0 at home and are last in the West.
--Scottie Upshall had two goals and a pair of helpers, Shane Doan and Matthew Lombardi had a goal and two assists each and Phoenix smacked Columbus, 5-2.

Working late
--Jochen Hecht forced a tie with 7:01 left in regulation and teammate Derek Roy scored in overtime to give Buffalo a 3-2 win over Toronto. Both players also had an assist and Ryan Miller made 34 saves for the Sabres.
--Say what you want about Marc-Andre Bergeron's defensive capabilities - and I have - but the dude can score. Ask Johan Hedberg. Bergeron scored with 1:45 left to force overtime, then netted the winner 2:23 into the extra period to give the Canadiens a 4-3 win over Atlanta. Tomas Plekanec had a goal and three assists and Jaroslav Halak faced 50 freaking shots, stopping 47 for Montreal. Yikes. Nik Antropov scored twice for the Thrashers. The Canadiens had 23 shots in comparison.

Non-3 Stars Selection
Halak. Antropov was third, Plekanec second and Bergeron first.

The selection of Toronto's Nikolai Kulemin (one assist) as his game's No. 1 star was curious to say the least. Maybe Toronto held a ceremony honoring the Leafs' 10 greatest Nikolai's or something and they wanted to maintain that theme. Maybe that's next game. They hold a ceremony for everything else.

Stat of the night
54.3 - Percentage of the Islanders' penalty killing over the last nine games (16 goals on 35 chances.) Too bad they don't play the Penguins any time soon. That number would skyrocket.

Quote of the night
"I don't know -- you know, I like the nice crisp air when we come visit here. When you step outside the hotel I think this has the cleanest-smelling air around; I don't know if that has something to do with it."
Thomas, talking about winning his 10th straight game against Ottawa

Tim Thomas is awesome. He should be mic'd up and uncensored every game.

Bonus quote
"We're not an assertive team in one-on-one situations. We want to chase pucks a lot of times. That's what little kids do. They follow the puck with their eyes and with their bodies."
Edmonton coach Pat Quinn, who is also awesome for great quotes

Notable game
Tuesday, Dec. 22 (3 games)
San Jose (21-8-3) at Chicago (23-8-3), 8 p.m. ET, Versus. First meeting of the two since Chicago's 7-2 embarrassment of the Sharks in California.

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