Wednesday, February 10, 2010

NHL Recap 2-9-10: Awards night

We're back, baby! With a special recap.

The "BOSTON HAS WON TWO IN A ROW" of the night
Jack Edwards didn't say anything particularly special, he was just really loud and excited over Boston's new two-game winning streak. Congrats, Bruins. You guys rock. (I know, after losing 10 straight, winning two in a row is a nice change.)

Anyway, Tukkka Rask made 43 saves in regulation and overtime and three more in a shootout and Boston knocked off Buffalo, 3-2. David Krejci scored in round four for the winner and former Sabre Daniel Paille scored twice, or as Edwards said, put the dagger in the cadaver that is Buffalo right now. The Sabres are 0-4-1 in their last five, falling into a tie for first place in the Northeast Division with Ottawa.

The "Dammit, where was this three months ago?" of the night
I suppose Carolina's out of the playoff picture realistically, but the Hurricanes probably aren't a team you want to play right now.

Or maybe their recent opponents just suck. Anyway, Matt Cullen had a goal and two assists and Carolina defeated Florida, 4-1, for its third straight win and seventh in the last nine games. The team most excited for Carolina's winning ways is Boston, because Toronto has dipped back to the second-fewest points in the league. The Bruins are closer to getting a lottery pick they'll trade in a few years because they won't want to pay him.

Joni Pitkanen had a goal and assist and Manny Legace stopped all of 19 shots for the win.

The "Good things come to those who wait" of the night
I doubt even Islanders third-string goaltender Martin Biron remembers the last time he played a game. For the record, it was Dec. 27. But who's counting? By the way, I just quadruple-checked that to make sure it was right. It is.

Biron stopped 24 shots and three in the four-round shootout, and the Islanders stormed back to stun the Predators, 4-3. New York scored a power play goal by Mark Streit with 12 seconds remaining to tie the score at 3-3. All New York's goals were scored by defensemen; the others were Freddy Meyer and Bruno Gervais, their second goal each of the season. John Tavares had the shootout winner.

The "How's that signing working out for ya?" of the night
Yeah, Jay Bouwmeester? Not doing so well.

Ottawa's second goal against Calgary came off a Bouwmeester turnover. Then Bouwmeester took a holding penalty in the final two minutes with Calgary losing by one, and the Flames ended up losing by that one, 3-2 to Ottawa. Yes, this is a disgruntled Bouwmeester fantasy owner speaking.

Jason Spezza scored the winning goal and also had an assist. Brian Elliott made 27 saves. Calgary's top line at least seems to be building chemistry. Matt Stajan and Niklas Hagman each had a goal and assist and Jarome Iginla posted two helpers.

The "Life is different on the road, isn't it?" of the night
So, Vancouver. They were pretty good, right? Leading the division, scoring bunches of goals... now the Canucks are on the road.

Antero Niittymaki made 39 saves, Martin St. Louis had two goals and an assist and Tampa Bay knocked off Vancouver, 3-1, handing the Canucks their third loss in their last four games, all away from British Columbia. Vancouver has scored just six goals in that time. In their defense, the Canucks did score five against the powerful Maple Leafs in Toronto.

Steven Stamkos had a goal and assist for the Lightning. Danrik Sedin has no points in three straight games and has just one assist in the last four. So much for that scoring title for Henry.

The "Defense? Pfft, who needs defense?" of the night
It's not an NHL season high but it's not far off.

Detroit and St. Louis combined for 87 shots on goal, yet not a greater number for either team went into the net through overtime. In the end, Chris Mason and his 39 saves helped guide the Blues to a 4-3 shootout win over Detroit, which overcame a 3-1 deficit in the final six minutes.

Paul Kariya scored twice, David Backes posted two helpers, and Brad Boyes scored the deciding shootout goal. David Perron and Andy McDonald also scored for St. Louis.

The "Holy crap, how many shootouts were there?" of the night
The answer is four of the seven games played. Three of them featured teams around the Wild in the standings.

The last one of the night was the longest. It ended when Chicago's Kris Versteeg was the only player for either team to score, in round five, and the Blackhawks defeated Dallas, 4-3.

Patrick Kane had two goals, Patrick Sharp two assists and Troy Brouwer also scored for Chicago. Antti freaking Niemi made 24 saves.

James Neal scored one goal with two assists, Mike Ribeiro scored a goal in his first game back from a scary throat injury, and Loui Eriksson also scored for Dallas. Marty Turco, whose future with the team was sealed when the Stars traded for Kari Lehtonen, made 37 saves.

Stat of the night
7 - Points (two goals) for No. 1 pick John Tavares in his last 28 games

Quote of the night
"He's definitely earning his keep."
Tampa coach Rick Tocchet, talking about Niittymaki, who is 7-0-1 in his last eight starts. He's given up just nine goals in that time. That's pretty good.

Notable games
Wednesday, Feb. 9 (8 games)
-Philadelphia (29-25-3) at New Jersey (36-20-2), 7 p.m. ET. I think these guys just played. But now they're in Jersey, baby. The first time these teams played in Newark this season, this happened. (Click the link; it's really worth reading, I guarantee it. If you're not satisfied with it, we'll provide a full refund.)

-Washington (41-12-6) at Montreal (28-26-6), 7:30 p.m. If the Canadiens start Carey Price, the Caps will score 12 goals. If Montreal goes with Jaroslav Halak, Washington will score nine.

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