What got into them?
After scoring one goal in a three-game stretch, the New York Rangers are suddenly an offensive juggernaut.
Sixteen of the 18 skaters recorded points, but only Marian Gaborik recorded more than two in New York's 8-2 destruction of Tampa Bay. Gaborik did not score a goal but picked up four assists. The Rangers have scored 14 goals in their last two games.
Brandon Dubinsky, Vaclav Prospal, Marc Staal and Christopher Higgins each had a goal and an assist. Matt Gilroy picked up two helpers. That was it for the multi-point performers for New York. Pretty nice balance, eh? Chris Drury, Enver Lisin, Aaron Voros and Daniel Girardi also had goals. Henrik Lundqvist made 21 saves.
Vincent Lecavalier and Alex Tanguay scored for the Lightning.
No extra points for quality wins
It's been a tough season for Anaheim, which despite winning six of its last seven games is still four points out of a playoff spot. But the Ducks have developed a habit of beating some pretty solid teams.
Jonas Hiller stopped 41 shots and Anaheim pounced on Buffalo for the game's first four goals before hanging on for a 5-4 victory. The win against the one-time Eastern Conference leader is added to wins for Anaheim over Nashville, Chicago and Calgary this month.
Ryan Getzlaf, Evgeny Artyukhin, Mike Brown and Bobby Ryan scored in the first 10:26, including Getzlaf and Artyukhin in the opening 1:53, forcing Sabres coach Lindy Ruff to pull backup Patrick Lalime and insert Ryan Miller, who was supposed to get the night off.
After the first period, Ruff pressed the right buttons because Buffalo stormed back in the second to score the next three goals, by Tim Connolly, Clarke MacArthur and Steve Montador. Miller slammed the door on the Ducks until Troy Bodie scored off a giveaway with 4:07 left in regulation for a 5-3 Anaheim lead.
Jochen Hecht's goal in the final minute for the Sabres made things interesting but Buffalo could not tie the score. Of Hiller's 41 saves, 16 came in the third. The loss was Buffalo's first in regulation since Dec. 23.
Stars of the night
--Jeff Carter scored two unassisted goals and added one assist to lead Philadelphia past visiting Columbus, 5-3. R.J. Umberger scored twice for the BJs. Some Flyers fans mistakenly thought Umberger scored the third Columbus goal and in a surprisingly classy move, threw hats onto the ice for the former Philadelphia player.
--Jose Theodore stopped 44 shots and Washington mounted a late comeback to defeat Detroit, 3-2. Nicklas Backstrom scored a power play goal to tie the game at 2-2 with 6:45 to play (with an assist going to Theodore) and Dave Steckel scored the eventual winner just 46 seconds later.
--Ilya Kovalchuk had two goals and an assist and Ondrej Pavelec made 37 saves for Atlanta in a 4-3 win over Toronto, which got two goals in 32 seconds from Alexei Ponikarovsky.
--Here's the who's-who of Ottawa's 4-1 win over Chicago: Brian Elliot (29 saves), Peter Regin (a goal and assist) and Chris Neil (two assists). The Blackhawks out-shot the Senators, 30-18, but goals from Zack Smith and Ryan Shannon, along with a late power play goal by Mike Fisher, gave Ottawa the win. Marian Hossa had a shorthanded goal for Chicago.
--Sidney Crosby tied a career-high with six points on two goals and four assists and Evgeni Malkin's hat trick paced Pittsburgh's 6-4 win over the Islanders. The Penguins scored four power play goals. They had only four power play goals total in their seven previous games. It was also the first time Crosby and Malkin each scored multiple goals in the same game.
--Responding to Crosby's performance, Patrick Marleau had two goals to break the short-lived tie with Crosby atop the NHL goals leaderboard, giving him 34, and Dan Boyle had a goal and two assists in San Jose's 5-1 rout over Los Angeles. Ryane Clowe also had two goals and Evgeni Nabokov made 36 saves for the Sharks, who reclaimed the overall NHL lead.
Stat of the night
8 - Shorthanded goals by Chicago, a league-best
Quote of the night
"The only thing we did, was the bus was on time to get to this game. The bus driver was the best thing we had."
Tampa Bay coach Rick Tocchet. He's almost in the Ron Wilson/Pat Quinn zone for quotes.
Wednesday, Jan. 20 (3 games)
Ugh. None really. Florida (21-20-8) at New Jersey (32-14-1) I guess, 7 p.m. ET. Should be a good goaltending affair between Tomas Vokoun and Martin Brodeur, though last time I said that, Phoenix beat the Devils 4-3. So what do I know?
*snort* I think like four of those shorties for Chicago have come against the damn Wild, too...
Another three came against San Jose in one game.
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