Sunday, February 14, 2010

NHL Recap 2-13-10: Sabres rebound; Briere powers Flyers to sweep

Miller, Sabres down Nabokov, Sharks
Buffalo and goaltender Ryan Miller needed a pick-me-up before the Olympic break. A six-game losing streak will do that to a team. The Sabres got what they needed against a top-notch opponent.

Miller stopped 27 shots and Buffalo enjoyed a three-goal second period en route to a 3-1 win over San Jose in the last game for both teams before the two-week holiday.

Paul Gaustad broke the scoreless deadlock for Buffalo, which then killed off two penalties in quick succession. Not long after the second one, Thomas Vanek provided an insurance goal. Late in the second period, Jason Pominville staked the Sabres to a 3-0 lead.

Miller, serenaded with "USA, USA" chants as time expired, allowed only Kent Huskins goal in the third period. Evgeni Nabokov made 25 saves but saw his NHL record 11-game road winning streak end.

Three from Briere helps Flyers sweep home-and-home
Philadelphia shouldn't get too comfortable in its playoff positioning just yet, but taking two games on back-to-back nights against another team on the bubble certainly feels good.

Daniel Briere broke a six-game goal scoring slump by netting a hat trick, Jeff Carter scored in his fourth straight game, and Philadelphia rolled over Montreal, 6-2.

For the second straight night, the Flyers jumped out to a 3-0 lead on the Canadiens. This time after Montreal scored its first goal, by Brian Gionta, Philadelphia countered by netting the next two. Both were backbreakers. The first was a shorthanded goal by Blair Betts, followed by Briere's second of the game with six seconds left in the second period.

Scott Gomez got one back for Montreal but Briere iced the game with nine minutes left by converting a penalty shot for his hat trick. Mike Richards also scored for Philadelphia, which got 26 saves from Michael Leighton.

In other action
--Richard Park scored two goals, including the winner late in regulation, and the Islanders edged Tampa Bay, 5-4.
--Jimmy Howard made 29 saves and Pavel Datsyuk had a goal and assist as Detroit earned a crucial win, 4-1 over the red-hot Senators.
--Ray Whitney and Jussi Jokinen each had a pair of goals and an assist and Carolina smoked New Jersey, 5-2, for its fifth straight win. The Devils are 2-3-1 since acquiring Ilya Kovalchuk.
--Jarome Iginla's two goals led Calgary to a 3-1 victory over Anaheim.

In the shootout
--Boston's Mark Recchi tied the game in the third period then won it in the eighth round as the Bruins earned their fourth straight win, 3-2 over Florida. Tuukka Rask, making his sixth straight start, stopped 26 shots.
--Chris Mason fended off 31 shots and made some nice saves in the tiebreaker and St. Louis upset Washington, 4-3. David Perron scored the winner in the fourth round. The Capitals have lost three straight since winning 14 in a row.
--Patrick Sharp had a goal and two assists and Jonathan Toews scored the only shootout goal necessary for Chicago to outlast Atlanta, 5-4. In his debut with Chicago, Kim Johnsson scored a goal on five shots, logged 19:24 of ice time and was named the game's Third Star.

Clean sheets
--What, me worry? Marty Turco made 40 saves for his fourth shutout of the season and Brandon Segal scored a goal and assist for Dallas in a 3-0 victory over Phoenix.
--Jonathan Quick made 22 saves to out-duel Craig Anderson and Los Angeles blanked Colorado, 3-0. Jack Johnson had two assists after traveling back from Vancouver for the Olympics opening ceremonies. He flew to Bellingham, Wash., then drove the rest of the way to LA. He's the first American-born NHLer to march in the opening ceremony.

Stat of the night
35 - Quick tied a franchise-record, and leads the NHL, with 35 wins. Mario Lessard won 35 in the 1980-81 season.

Quote of the night
"We are very disappointed. We gave Richard Park three shots in a 4-4 game and he doesn't get touched. Three shots. It's tough to take."
Lightning forward Martin St. Louis. Sounds harsh against Park, but true. Park had three cracks after a wrap-around attempt on his game-winner. The third snuck in the far post and had to be reviewed before it was determined it went in the net.

Notable games
Sunday, Feb. 14 (6 games)
Last day before the Olympic break gives us Nashville (32-23-5) at Pittsburgh (36-22-3), 1 p.m. ET, two teams who aren't doing too well right now, and a grudge match in Vancouver (37-21-2) at Minnesota (29-27-4), 3 p.m., where the Canucks had some recent problems on the road but seem to have fixed them, and the Wild who surprisingly struggled at home the last couple of games.

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