Monday, December 28, 2009

NHL Recap 12-27-09: Leafs pull upset; Nucks douse Flames

If they can lose to Carolina...
Then the Penguins can certainly lose to the Maple Leafs. And one of these days, the team will learn to actually work and not try to win on talent alone when it faces a team significantly below it in the standings.

Toronto might have had the fresher legs, even despite playing Saturday, but the Leafs certainly gave forth a much stronger effort than Pittsburgh, and Ian White's goal with 1:22 remaining, just 53 seconds after Mike Rupp tied it for the Penguins, gave Toronto a 4-3 victory.

Lee Stempniak had a goal and two assists and Jason Blake scored his 25th career goal, and 48th point, in 48 games against the Penguins. Sidney Crosby netted his 23rd of the season.

Team Finl-augh!
So Miikka Kiprusoff won't play in the Olympics unless he's Finland's starting goalie? Well, after he gave up four goals in the first period Sunday, Finland might not want him.

Mason Raymond scored the first two of his three goals, a natural hat trick, to cap off a terrific first period for Vancouver, and the Canucks chased Kiprusoff after one period in a 5-1 victory that sent Vancouver past Calgary in the standings.

Jarome Iginla scored his 20th of the season as the Flames opened the scoring, but quick responses by Henrik Sedin and Kyle Wellwood, who scored in a span of 1:50 after Iginla's goal, put the Canucks ahead. Then came Raymond's hat trick, his first, with two in the opening period and another in the second. Bob Luongo made 29 saves.

Stars of the night
--Jeff Carter and Danny Briere had a goal and assist each to lead Philadelphia over the Islanders, 2-1. The Flyers have won three straight.
--Tim Thomas made 25 saves and Marco Sturm broke the tie in Boston's 2-1 victory over Florida.
--Teammates Tim Connolly and Mike Grier each scored twice with an assist for Buffalo in a 5-3 defeat of St. Louis. Connolly's goals both came in the third period, once on the power play and once shorthanded, to snap a 3-3 score.
--Patrick Kane had two goals, including the winner in the final minute, and an assist, and John Madden netted a pair as Chicago swept a home-and-home with Nashville, 5-4. Kane has netted the game-winning goal in each of the Blackhawks' last three victories.

Non-3 Stars Selection
Connolly. Buffalo's Chris Butler (two assists) was third, the Blues' Alexander Steen (two goals) was second and Grier was first.

Stat of the night
0 - Number of remaining games this season between division opponents Chicago and Nashville. Am I the only one who finds that weird?

Quote of the night
"I have a few concerns that are certainly very noticeable and you can't hide it. It's got absolutely nothing to do with systems, absolutely nothing. It's other things that we have to deal with and we're going to. Whether it's liked or not, it's going to be dealt with."
Flames coach Brent Sutter

Notable games
Monday, Dec. 28 (8 games)
-Carolina (9-22-7) at Washington (24-8-6), 7 p.m. ET. Why, you ask? To see if the Caps can score 15.

-Calgary (20-12-5) at Edmonton (15-19-4), 9 p.m., to see if either Sutter's or Pat Quinn's head actually explodes on the bench.

-Phoenix (24-13-2) at San Jose (23-8-7), 10:30 p.m., to see Marthornley (Patrick Marleau-Joe Thornton-Dany Heatley) against Ilya Bryzgalov.


WRT - Wild Road Tripper said...

Kevin: There is only one meeting remaining between the Wild and Avs. Also, by the end of the week, the Wild are done with Anaheim, and Montreal has already completed their four games vs. Atlanta.

What's even weirder? That Minnesota doesn't play Detroit until Jan. 21...or that the Wild doesn't get a visit from San Jose until March 23, then play two of their last five home games vs. the Sharks.

KiPA - Kevin in PA said...

Matchups like Anaheim-Minnesota or Montreal-Atalanta I don't find as weird. Just one left for the Wild with the Avs though? I didn't like the heavy-emphasis on division play in the schedule like in years past, but being done, or nearly so, with a division opponent before the calendar year even ends? They should be more spread out and/or try to have some at the end of the season when playoff/division positioning becomes even more crucial. Oh well, what do I know.