Saturday, February 6, 2010

NHL Recap 2-5-10: Devils revenge, sorta; Dogs fend off Hawks

How do you like it?
Last time Toronto played New Jersey in Newark, the Maple Leafs scored twice in the final five minutes and forced overtime. Now, they ended up losing in the extra frame anyway, but they made the Devils work harder. This time it was Toronto who collapsed.

New Jersey scored three times in the final 3:04, including twice in the final 45 seconds, and stunned Toronto, 4-3 in regulation, in Ilya Kovalchuk's first game with his new team.

Kovalchuk played a factor. He had two assists, including helping set up Travis Zajac's goal with 44 seconds remaining to tie the score at 3-3. Just 25 seconds later, Jay Pandolfo slammed home a rebound to put New Jersey ahead. Toronto couldn't muster an attack after that.

Dean McAmmond and Dainius Zubrus also scored for the Devils, and Jamie Langenbrunner and Mike Mottau had two assists each. Martin Brodeur made 17 saves.

Tomas Kaberle, Lee Stempniak and Rickard Wallin scored for the Maple Leafs, who got two assists from Phil Kessel.

Can't spell "slump" without...OK, you can spell it without "LaBarbera"
The Blackhawks are slumping. How bad? When Jason LaBarbera beats them.

The Phoenix backup goalie made 28 saves in regulation and overtime, plus two more in the shootout, and the Coyotes upended the Blackhawks in Chicago, 2-1. Adrian Aucoin scored in the top of the third round and LaBarbera fended off Marian Hossa. Earlier, Robert Lang and Jonathan Toews exchanged goals in the first round.

Colin Fraser was the only other member for Chicago to beat LaBarbera, doing so early in the game. It was just his second goal of the season. Radim Vrbata scored his 18th on the power play in the second period to tie the score for Phoenix.

Chicago has lost three straight games to lower-caliber opponents and scored just five goals in that time.

--Michael Neuvirth's 43 saves and a goal and assist each from Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom led Washington to a 5-2 win over Atlanta.
--Jussi Jokinen and Eric Staal scored a goal and assist each in the third period and Carolina knocked off Buffalo, 4-3.
--Ales Kotalik scored his first goal as a Flame and Mark Giordano also scored in Calgary's 2-1 win over Florida. Miikka Kiprusoff needed to make just 12 saves but counterpart Tomas Vokoun made 38.

Stat of the night
115 - Career goals, 56 on the power play, for Adrian Aucoin, who was labeled a "stay-at-home" defenseman in the Associated Press recap. I'm as much a stay-at-home defenseman as Aucoin is. Dude scored 23 goals in one season once. I bet the Chicago writer is just venting some demons because Aucoin sucked in two partial seasons as a Blackhawk (minus-35 with 22 points in 92 games.)

Quote of the night
"It wasn't the third period, we just got manhandled. We had 13 shots, and I think six were by defensemen. We didn't win any puck battles. You'd think that when you've got some forwards that haven't scored in 14, 15, 16 games they might want to get their noses dirty and try and get one. We weren't interested in that tonight."
Panthers coach Peter DeBoer

Notable games
Saturday, Feb. 6 (14 games)
With 14 games, you'd think one would seem to be a good matchup. I guess Detroit (27-20-10) at Los Angeles (35-19-3), 4 p.m. ET, or Philadelphia (28-24-3) at Minnesota (28-25-4), 8 p.m.

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