Thursday, December 31, 2009

NHL Recap 12-30-09: Night of the Goalie and the Penalty Shot

Abbreviated version again. Still sick and Nyquil is in the system. I won't be long for consciousness.

Clean sheets of the night
--Tuukka Rask needed to make just 18 saves to blank Atlanta, 4-0, behind goals by Byron Bitz, Marco Sturm, Steve Begin and Patrice Bergeron. Marc Savard had two assists.
--Shutout No. 104 and 105 for Martin Brodeur came against the same team after New Jersey stifled the Penguins yet again, 2-0, for the Devils' fourth win in four tries this season against Pittsburgh. Niclas Bergfors scored his fourth goal against Pittsburgh and Jamie Langenbrunner had an empty netter. Brodeur made 32 saves.
--The Flyers might have figured things out. Their fourth straight win came in impressive fashion, as Simon Gagne's hat trick and assist fueled Michael Leighton's 22-save shutout, and Philadelphia walloped the Rangers, 6-0.

Not shutouts, but close
--Carey Price made 34 saves and Tomas Plekanec scored in overtime to give Montreal a 2-1 victory over Tampa Bay. Brian Gionta scored his first goal since returning from a broken foot for the Habs.
--Calgary's Miikka Kiprusoff held off Los Angeles, making 10 of his 23 saves in the third period, and Craig Conroy's first goal of the season was the winner for the Flames, who downed the Kings, 2-1. Rene Bourque had a goal and an assist.
--Jeff Deslauriers allowed only Phil Kessel's power play goal with four minutes left in the game, finishing with 27 saves, and Patrick O'Sullivan scored twice to lead Edmonton over Toronto, 3-1.

Goaltending need not apply
Colorado opened a three-goal advantage, then held off a late Ottawa rally to earn a 4-3 victory.

The Senators scored twice to close the gap from 4-1 to 4-3 with 5:51 remaining but could not get the tying goal as Craig Anderson held the fort, making 27 saves. Ryan O'Reilly's first goal since puberty (OK, it was Nov. 6) proved to be the game-winner. O'Reilly hadn't even gotten a point since Nov. 23.

Ryan Shannon scored twice for Ottawa. Matt Duchene scored his 11th for the Avalanche.

That's not something you see every day
Getting one penalty shot in a game is rare enough.

But two? And for the same team? That's rarer than a San Jose playoff series victory. And it was the Sharks who got the two penalty shots.

Ryane Clowe (second period) and Joe Thornton (third period) were awarded penalty shots after being fouled by Mike Green and John Erskine, respectively, and both converted to help San Jose frustrate Washington, 5-2.

Joe Pavelski scored twice for the Sharks, who led 3-0 before Mike Knuble got the Caps on the board early in the third period. San Jose answered with two goals in 3:14, on Pavelski's second and Thornton's penalty shot.

Apart from the Thornton goal, Marthornley had just one point, an assist by Dany Heatley.

The last time one team had two penalty shot goals in one game was Feb. 11, 1982, when Vancouver did it against Detroit in a 4-4 tie, according to the San Jose telecast.

Alex Ovechkin tied Marian Gaborik atop the NHL goals list with his 26th.

Notable games
Thursday, Dec. 31 (11 games)
Heavy slate on New Year's Eve.

-Colorado (23-12-6) at Detroit (19-14-6), 7 p.m. ET.

-San Jose (25-8-7) at Phoenix (25-13-3), 7 p.m.

-Los Angeles (22-15-3) at Minnesota (20-17-3), 8 p.m.

-New Jersey (28-9-1) at Chicago (26-10-3), 8:30 p.m.

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