Sunday, January 10, 2010

NHL Recap 1-9-10: Reverse deja vu for Chicago; Calgary leads the NW

This seems like a much beefier recap tonight for some reason. I blame the Wild for turning their game from a footnote into the lead game. But you have to read to the very end. Something most important is at the bottom.

The hockey gods giveth, the hockey gods taketh
Hey, remember back in October, when Chicago trailed Calgary 5-0 and ended up winning 6-5? Do you also remember how I said to beat the Blackhawks, you have to score five or six goals?

In the individual-game stunner of the season, Minnesota pulled off a franchise first by erasing a four-goal deficit to defeat NHL leader Chicago, 6-5 in a shootout. The Wild scored four unanswered goals in the third period and Owen Nolan's goal in Round 8 of the tiebreaker, coupled with Josh Harding's save on John Madden, gave Minnesota the second point.

If you ask me, this comeback was much more impressive than the Blackhawks against the Flames from October, given how well Chicago is playing these days.

Minnesota's first of four goals in a span of 11:43 seemed innocent enough, when Kim Johnsson poked in a nice centering pass by Kyle Brodziak. Ho-hum, it's still 5-2. In just 45 seconds, Mikko Koivu threw in a rebound of Greg Zanon's shot past Cristobal Huet, and suddenly it's a two-goal game with plenty of time remaining.

Less than a minute later, Dustin Byfuglien somehow managed to high stick Big John Scott (that is his legal name, isn't it? I never hear any commentator call him anything but that, whether it's a Wild announcer or an opponent) and Marek Zidlicky's blast from the point made things interesting at 5-4. Actually they were probably interesting at 5-3.

Then Latendresse the Legend found paydirt for the second time in the game with 1:33 to play for an improbable tied score. Harding stoned six of the first seven shooters in the tiebreaker before stopping Madden to win the game.

Patrick Sharp, Jonathan Toews, Kris Versteeg, Troy Brouwer and Marian Hossa all scored in regulation for Chicago but none could score in the shootout.

Minor leaguer gives Calgary major boost
Jamie Lundmark was recalled from the AHL for the second time this season on Friday. Thanks to him, Calgary is back in first place in the Northwest Division.

In just his seventh game of the season, Lundmark scored his second goal to force a 2-2 tie, and his marker in the shootout gave the Flames a 3-2 win at Vancouver in a battle for first. Both teams entered with 55 points.

It was a fitting end for Calgary, which out-shot the hosts, 40-21 but got only Rene Bourque's goal and Lundmark's past Bob Luongo in regulation. But all three Flames - Nigel Dawes, Olli Jokinen and Lundmark - scored in the shootout.

Mikael Samuelsson and Daniel Sedin scored for the Canucks.

This was a fun game. I saw just the third period but if all three were like the final one, I really wish I'd seen it all. Very physical, bunches of vitriol. One of the CBC announcers called it a playoff atmosphere and it looked it from my seat.

Stars of the night
--Brandon Dubinsky had a goal and two assists to lead the Rangers past Boston, 3-1.
--Blair Betts scored twice late to secure Philadelphia's 4-1 win over Tampa Bay. The Flyers appear to have gotten things turned around.
--Tomas Vokoun stopped all 24 shots he saw and Rostislav Olesz scored two goals to lead Florida over Ottawa, 3-0.
--Sergei Gonchar had two goals and an assist, Marc-Andre Fleury made 42 saves and Sidney Crosby scored on a nifty play for his 27th and Pittsburgh defeated Toronto, 4-1.
--Alexander Semin had two goals and an assist and Mike Knuble also potted a brace in Washington's 8-1 stomping of Atlanta.
--Ryan Getzlaf's goal and assist led Anaheim in its 3-2 win over Nashville.
--Jimmy Howard made 31 saves and Detroit capitalized on a series of San Jose giveaways to earn a 4-1 victory. Patrick Marleau took the league lead with his 29th goal.
--Brad Boyes and Jay McClement had two assists each and St. Louis held off Los Angeles, 4-3. It was interim coach Davis Payne's first win in four games.

Working really late
--Five games went beyond regulation and only one ended in overtime, while three shootouts lasted at least six rounds. The lone OT game was New Jersey's 2-1 victory over Montreal, when Zach Parise scored in the extra frame for the winner. Both he and teammate Travis Zajac had a goal and assist for the Devils.
--Matt Duchene scored twice and Matt Hendricks scored in Round 11 to help Colorado to a 4-3 win over Buffalo, which scored twice in the third to erase a 3-1 deficit.
--Dwayne Roloson and the Islanders gave up three third-period goals but recovered to win a six-round shootout over Phoenix, 5-4, when Matt Moulson scored against Jason LaBarbera, who relieved Ilya Bryzgalov after the latter gave up four goals. Bryzgalov has given up 15 goals in four games since being named to Russia's Olympic team. Josh Bailey had a goal, two assists and a shootout goal for the Islanders.

In the Pittsburgh-Toronto game, something strange happened. And I don't mean just Pittsburgh scoring a freaking power play goal, but that fits the criteria as well. Gonchar's first goal hit two posts and wasn't initially called a goal until after a video review confirmed it went into the net, hitting the back bar.

About 12 or 15 seconds after his shot, Gonchar hooked Alexei Ponikarovsky on a breakaway and Toronto was awarded a penalty shot. Gonchar's shot was ruled a goal but he was also given a minor penalty for hooking, and the Leafs did not get a penalty shot. The rulings are: Penalties are still enforced even if they occur after the time of a reviewed goal that gets counted (which doesn't seem to make sense) but two goals can't be scored at the same time, so the penalty shot was turned into a power play instead.

Did you get all that? It's weird, I know. But it seems to be the correct ruling, whether it makes sense or not.

That wasn't the only strange incident in the NHL either. St. Louis started a different lineup against Los Angeles than what was written on rookie coach Davis Payne's lineup card. The Blues scored 14 seconds into the game with David Perron at left wing instead of Brad Boyes, the one who was listed to start. The goal was allowed to stand as Perron did not score the goal, but St. Louis was given a minor penalty for having an illegal lineup.

Also, the Flames claimed Miikka Kiprusoff was distracted by a laser pointer in Vancouver for the entire night.

For another sort of weird thing, check out the stat of the night below.

Stat of the night
7:35 - Consecutive amount of time Phoenix played with only four skaters. Here's the deal: Ed Jovanovski was given a major penalty for elbowing and a game misconduct with 16 seconds left in the first period. Dave Tippett did not put anyone in the penalty box when the teams came out for the second period. The Islanders didn't score in the ensuing 4:44 (uninterrupted) but play continued for almost three minutes without a stop. Martin Hanzal ended up taking a penalty for the first whistle, Adrian Aucoin took another one during that kill, and New York scored on both the 5-on-3 and 5-on-4.

Actually, I guess the stat should be 9:57 of time that Phoenix had four (or fewer) skaters. It was just 7:35 without a whistle to start the second period. Either way, it was a damn long time.

Quote of the night
"We could see it shining on his mask the whole night. It was brought to the attention of the refs and security, and it's hard to believe that can go on for 60 minutes in a hockey game and it's not located."
Calgary coach Brent Sutter, talking about the laser pointer

Notable games
Sunday, Jan. 10 (3 1/2 games)
-Tampa Bay (16-17-10) at New Jersey (31-10-1), 6 p.m. ET to continue their suspended game from Friday. The Lightning hold a 3-0 lead with 9:12 left in the second period.

By the way, you can follow me on Twitter now @kipapens for even more of my expert thoughts and analysis (ha; made myself laugh.) Plus a slew of sarcastic comments on various random things. I feel dirty for typing those words, but it is what it is.

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