Stars of the night
--Simon Gagne had a goal and assist in Philadelphia's 6-3 win over the Stars, who got two goals from Steve Ott.
--Cam Ward made 38 saves and Joni Pitkanen had three assists to lead Carolina over Toronto, 4-2. Ward wasn't one of the 3 stars, but Hurricanes defenseman Aaron Ward was, leading me to wonder if the Toronto media got their Wards mixed up. Though Aaron did have a team-high four blocked shots.
--Ilya Kovalchuk had a goal and two assists and Ondrej Pavelec made 30 saves to lead Atlanta to a 6-1 rout of the Senators. Ottawa's power play is so bad that not only is it worse than Pittsburgh's, but the Senators received a 5-minute power play that they somehow turned into a 3-on-4 disadvantage when Alex Kovalev and Anton Volchenkov took penalties during the five minutes. This was Atlanta's first regulation win in 21 games. There's your stat of the night. Holy monkeys. They had two overtime and three shootout wins in that time.
--Steven Stamkos had a pair of power play goals and an assist, Martin St. Louis scored once to go with two helpers and Tampa Bay out-gunned Washington, 7-4.
--How about the brawls in the Col - Wait, this one gets special billing.
--Pekka Rinne made 38 saves and Nashville hung on to defeat Edmonton, 5-3. Ryan Jones had a goal and two assists and Shea Weber had one of each for the Preds.
--Patrick Marleau broke the tie atop the NHL goal leaderboard with Sidney Crosby by scoring twice, becoming the first player to reach the 30-goal mark (he now has 31) and added an assist to lead San Jose over Phoenix, 3-1. Dany Heatley had one and one and Geno Nabokov made 32 saves.
Gateway to the Brawls
So get this. Rick Nash is frustrated. He hasn't scored a goal since Labor Day. (I know, no hockey's played on Labor Day. You get my point.) Actually it was Dec. 23. Which would make it... carry the one... nine games. Well, now it's 10. The point is, midway through the first period, Nash dropped the gloves for just the fourth time in his NHL career with David Backes, who apparently needed to do just that to earn the game's first star. OK, he also had an assist.
That was one of four first-period fights between the teams. Earlier, Cam Janssen and Jared Boll fought. Then, apparently at the same time but after the Nash-Backes tilt started, St. Louis supposed-to-be-stud defenseman Erik Johnson fought with Blue Jackets tough guy Mike Commodore and both players received game misconducts.
Fight Night was capped off late in the period with B.J. Crombeen and Alexandre Picard.
Oh, St. Louis won, 4-1. The Blues got three goals in the first period, one from Crombeen. Jay McClement had a goal and two assists and Alexander Steen scored twice. Chris Mason made 26 saves.
Steve Mason got into the game after Mathieu Garon gave up the first three goals. The last one, by Steen, was an empty-netter. Fedor Tyutin scored for Columbus.
--Islanders goalie Dwayne Roloson needed to stop just 16 shots to blank Detroit, 6-0. Rob Schremp scored twice and Mark Streit had a goal and assist.
--Martin Brodeur and Henrik Lundqvist each pitched shutouts, but it was Brodeur who won the shootout when Patrik Elias beat Lundqvist in the fourth round. Amazingly, two defensive-minded teams combined for a whopping 96 shots. Brodeur made 51 saves in regulation and Lundqvist had 45.
Pat Quinn-ism of the night
"Good hockey teams don't double-cross themselves."
I have no idea what that means. He was talking about turnovers but I still don't get it.
Wednesday, Jan. 13 (4 games)
-Vancouver (27-17-2) at Minnesota (23-20-3) at a special start time of 7 p.m. ET. What the hell's going on there that the game starts an hour early?
-Pittsburgh (28-18-1) at Calgary (26-14-6), 9:30 p.m. The gauntlet's been thrown, Crosby. How do you counter Marleau?