Saturday, February 13, 2010

NHL Recap 2-12-10: Ilya's first; Duchene's brace

Kovalchuk's first spurs curious celebration
So we get Capitals fans showering the ice after a shootout goal is someone's "third" of the game. Now we get Devils fans littering the ice for someone's first goal, period. I know it's exciting to have someone like Ilya Kovalchuk, but really...

Kovalchuk scored his first goal in five games as a Devil, prompting the New Jersey fans to toss hats onto the ice, to snap a 2-2 tie and New Jersey downed Nashville, 5-2. Kovalchuk also had an assist.

Jamie Langenbrunner scored into an empty net and posted two assists, and Patrik Elias, Zach Parise and Travis Zajac each had a goal and one assist. Martin Brodeur made 19 saves.

Rookie lifts Avs past Coyotes
Unlike John Tavares, Matt Duchene appears to have hurdled his rookie wall.

The 2009 third overall pick scored two goals, including the go-ahead tally with 4:16 to play, and Colorado edged Phoenix, 2-1, in a matchup of two of the better teams in the Western Conference.

In an 11-game stretch in late October through mid-November, Duchene tallied just one point, a goal, and had Avalanche fans labeling him a bust. Now he leads NHL rookies with 20 goals and has 15 points in his last 15 games. Overall, he has 42 points, which also leads all first-year players (by nine over Tavares.)

Craig Anderson made 33 saves for the Avs.

In other action
--Jeff Carter scored two goals and Philadelphia edged Montreal, 3-2.
--Andrew Raycroft made 32 saves in relief of Bob Luongo and Vancouver got by Columbus, 4-3. Steve Mason did not sell me on reacquiring him in a fantasy league.
--Olli Jokinen's overtime goal and assist in regulation got the Rangers past Pittsburgh, 3-2. Sidney Crosby had both Penguins goals to give him 41, a career high.
--Chris Mason's 30 stops gave St. Louis a 4-0 blanking of Toronto.
--Johan Hedberg made 36 saves and Niclas Bergfors broke a 2-2 tie to give Atlanta a 3-2 win over Minnesota.

Stat of the night
2:38 - Time it took from the start of the Vancouver-Columbus game for three goals to be scored. Rick Nash scored 22 seconds in for CBJ, Nolan Baumgartner countered for the Canucks at 2:08 with his first goal in four years, then Jared Boll put the Blue Jackets back ahead 30 seconds later.

Quote of the night
"That isn't the hat trick for him? Am I missing something?"
One of the linesmen in the New Jersey game, as said to Langenbrunner, when the hats came down for Kovalchuk; I don't know which one.

Notable games
Saturday, Feb. 13 (11 games)
-San Jose (40-12-9) at Buffalo (32-18-9), 7 p.m. ET. This would've been an even better game two weeks ago, but the Sabres have lost six straight games. How funny would it be if they snap that streak against the No. 1 team in the West?

-Philadelphia (31-25-3) at Montreal (29-27-6), 7 p.m. So nice, they're playing it twice. Still a critical standings game.

-Anaheim (29-24-7) at Calgary (29-23-9), 10 p.m. Also a big game in the standings.

-Colorado (35-19-6) at Los Angeles (36-20-4), 10:30 p.m. The winner creeps closer to overtaking Phoenix for fourth in the West.

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