Tuesday, January 5, 2010

NHL Recap 1-4-10: Rangers avoid collapse; Sharks don't

New York gives up lead, rebounds for win
Christopher Higgins picked a good time to score his first home goal of the season.

The New York forward, part of the offseason Scott Gomez trade, broke a 2-2 tie with 1:29 remaining in the third period and the Rangers hung on for the victory, 3-2 over Boston. The Bruins trailed by two goals before Matt Hunwick (shorthanded) and Blake Wheeler scored 1:26 apart in the final five minutes.

Higgins scored at least 20 goals in each of his first three full NHL seasons before injuries and other issues limited him to 12 for Montreal in 2008-09. Monday's game-winner was just his fifth goal of the season.

Ryan Callahan and Brandon Dubinsky had two assists each for New York, which got 26 saves from Henrik Lundqvist. Ales Kotalik and Erik Christensen had spotted the Rangers to a 2-0 lead.

Hunwick and Wheeler added an assist each for Boston.

Kings take advantage of San Jose
Things had gone so well for the Sharks lately that they hadn't given up a first-period goal in 10 games. They gave up three in less than four minutes against Los Angeles.

Six different goal scorers found the back of the net and Drew Doughty had four assists to lead Los Angeles to a 6-2 rout of San Jose, preventing the Sharks from taking sole possession of first place in the NHL.

Michael Handzus started the flood with a nifty wraparound goal, then the Kings struck twice on the power play in 33 seconds after a weird play. Sharks defenseman Dan Boyle broke his stick and Patrick Marleau threw his stick to his teammate. While Boyle fumbled to catch the piece of wood, Oscar Moller one-timed a pass from Handzus for a 2-0 lead. Marleau went to the penalty box for throwing his stick, and Anze Kopitar converted.

It was three goals in a span of 3:25 for LA and occurred in the final five minutes of the first period.

The final minutes of a period proved troublesome for San Jose again, as Ryan Smyth scored on a power play followed 14 seconds later by Wayne Simmonds' 10th goal for a 5-0 Kings lead with 3:18 remaining in the second period. San Jose had been out-shooting the visitors by a 31-16 margin after two and finished with a 47-20 advantage.

Jonathan Quick proved to be the difference, stopping 45 shots. Scott Parse made it 6-0 13 seconds into the final period before Douglas Murray ruined Quick's shutout attempt. Marleau netted his league-best tying 27th goal with seven minutes to play.

Evgeni Nabokov was pulled after the second period for San Jose, making just 11 saves on 16 shots.

Non-3 Stars selection
Callahan. In addition to his two assists, he had five hits and four blocked shots, both team-highs. Wheeler, Dubinsky and Higgins were the three stars.

Stat of the night
107 - Boston's total number of goals, tied for third-fewest in the league.

Quote of the night
"I guess that's illegal. That's good to know."
Marleau, on throwing his stick

Notable games
Tuesday, Jan. 5 (10 games)
-Minnesota (20-19-3) at Chicago (29-10-3), 8 p.m. ET, Versus. Big test for the Wild.

-Calgary (24-12-5) at Nashville (25-14-3), 8 p.m. Teams tied in the standings.

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