Wednesday, January 6, 2010

NHL Recap 1-5-10: Devils are good; So are the Hawks

Isn't he supposed to shut out only Pittsburgh?
Martin Brodeur's two most recent shutouts came against the Penguins. On Tuesday, he showed he can do it to other teams.

Brodeur made 28 saves for his record-extending 106th clean sheet - and fifth of the season - and Patrik Elias scored twice to lead New Jersey past Dallas, 4-0. The Devils moved five points clear of Washington and idle Buffalo on top the Eastern Conference standings. They are two points behind Chicago for the NHL lead but have two games in hand.

Elias scored late in the first period and his second goal was one of three in the middle 20 minutes for New Jersey, which became the first team to reach 30 wins this season. Chicago joined the club later in the evening.

Two Devils broke some long slumps. Travis Zajac scored his first goal in nearly a month and Zach Parise netted a goal in just his second game since Nov. 28. Parise had a two-goal game on Dec. 28, his only goals of the month. Jamie Langenbrunner had two assists.

But can he do it in the playoffs?
Yeah, anyone who questioned Chicago's offense is scrambling to erase any evidence of that silliness.

For the seventh straight game, the Blackhawks scored at least four goals. They've won six of those contests, including Tuesday's 4-1 win over Minnesota in which Marian Hossa netted a pair of goals for the second consecutive game.

Guillaume Latendresse opened the game's scoring for the Wild, but John Madden countered less than four minutes later, several Minnesota players missed opportunities, then Hossa scored his goals, with a Patrick Kane power play marker sandwiched in between.

Kris Versteeg and Brian Campbell had two assists each and Cristobal Huet made 19 saves.

Stars of the night
--Jonas Gustavsson overcame conceding two early goals to Bryan McCabe and Toronto rebounded for a 3-2 victory. Gustavsson made 29 saves, Tomas Kaberle had a goal and assist and Alexei Ponikarovsky scored late in the second period for the winner. The Maple Leafs are 7-1-2 against the Southeast Division, proving it's the worst division in hockey history.
--Alexander Semin scored twice and Tomas Fleischmann had a goal and two assists to lead Washington over Montreal, 4-2. Benoit Pouliot scored a power play goal for the Habs.
--Team USA snub Blake Wheeler netted a pair of goals and added an assist for Boston in its 4-1 win over Ottawa.
--Jordan Staal scored twice and helped set up Ruslan Fedotenko's winner and Pittsburgh snapped a five-game losing streak by downing Atlanta, 5-2.
--Miikka Kiprusoff made 27 saves and Calgary held off Nashville, 3-1.
--Shane Doan scored two goals, including the winner in overtime on the power play, and Phoenix overcame blowing a 4-2 lead, aided by a questionable disallowed Coyotes goal, to defeat Edmonton, 5-4.
--Alex Burrows netted a hat trick and the Sedins combined for six points (one goal, by Henrik) to power Vancouver's 7-3 rout of Columbus. Not a good season for Steve Mason, who gave up six.
--Jonas Hiller stopped 38 shots and Anaheim got a pair of late goals to hold off Detroit, 4-1.

Non-3 Stars selection
Doan. Seriously. Not a star. Those went to Edmonton's Sam Gagner (one assist), Phoenix's Paul Bissonette (two assists), and No. 1 was Edmonton's Patrick O'Sullivan (one goal, one assist). I think the Edmonton media was pissed off that (*SPOILER ALERT*) Canada lost to the USA in the World Juniors gold medal game. Don't know why they took it out on Canuck Doan. Maybe they were just pissed off that the Oilers were called for a penalty in overtime.

Stat of the night
21 - Number of times, in 43 games, Toronto has trailed 2-0 in a game.

Quote of the night
"We've got to get through this. One win could turn into five. We're streaky like that. Obviously it's a terrible feeling in the dressing room right now, but one win could turn that around."
Thrashers forward Chris Thorburn. Atlanta is 0-6-3 in its last nine games.

Notable games
Wednesday, Jan. 6 (6 games)
-Calgary (25-12-5) at Minnesota (20-20-3), 8 p.m. ET, is the only appealing game on the schedule.

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