Saturday, March 27, 2010

Friday night results

I tried to come up with a clever title but I'm tired.

The uniforms are different, the results the same
If Buffalo isn't careful, it's going to pull a Pittsburgh: Lose all six games to a division opponent it's battling for a division title. Except the difference is the Sabres managed to get one of those games to overtime.

Brian Elliott made 41 saves and Ottawa won its fifth game of the season against Buffalo, 4-2. The Senators closed to within five points of the first-place Sabres in the Northeast Division, but the problem is Buffalo has two games in hand.

Still, the Sabres are 0-4-1 against Ottawa and would have a comfier edge - if not a virtual lock - if they'd been able to win a game. Buffalo, I feel your pain.

Chris Kelly, Peter Regin and Jason Spezza scored goals for the Senators. Daniel Alfredsson was awarded a goal as time expired after being hooked by a Buffalo defender with an empty net looming. He, Kelly and Spezza each had an assist and Jarkko Ruutu helped set up two goals.

Tim Kennedy and Jason Pominville scored for Buffalo.

Detroit to naysayers: Any doubts now?
Yeah. Doesn't look like the Red Wings are gonna miss the playoffs.

Johan Franzen potted a pair of goals and set up two others for his first career four-point game, and Detroit took it to Minnesota, 6-2. The Red Wings moved into a points-tie with Colorado at 89 (the Avalanche have one game in hand) and six clear of ninth-place Calgary while knocking the Wild 11 points back with seven to play.

Pavel Datsyuk, Jonathan Ericsson and Tomas Holmstrom had a goal and assist each, Drew Miller scored and Nicklas Lidstrom and Jason Williams each had two assists for Detroit. Jimmy Howard made 25 saves.

Andrew Brunette and Owen Nolan scored for the Wild.

A win for Anaheim, but...
The Ducks stopped a two-game slide with an important win over an inferior opponent, but it's going to be too little, too late.

Two late third-period power play goals by Corey Perry pushed Anaheim past Edmonton, 3-2, but that little 0-4-1 stretch immediately after the Olympic break was a death knell to the Ducks' playoff hopes. Anaheim, even with the win, remained 11 points behind Detroit with eight to play.

George Parros also scored for Anaheim, which got two assists from Teemu Selanne and 34 saves by Curtis McElhinney. Gilbert Brule and Marc Pouliot netted for the Oilers, who had a three-game win streak against quality opponents snapped.

Pat Quinn says:
"It started off looking exactly like it was, two teams out of the playoffs and not caring how much they worked for the night. If we have an attitude like that, even one single guy, then we have losers. That's the attitude you don't want any time. You can be in 30th. But you don't have to like it or play like a 30th-place guy."

Stat of the night
174:35 - Elliott's shutout streak that ended with Kennedy's goal, less than 10 minutes shy of the franchise record held, coincidentally enough, by current Buffalo backup Patrick Lalime. Elliott had posted two straight shutouts earlier in the week. (And killing one of my fantasy teams in the process.)

Quote of the night
"I would've liked to have had that second goal back. Should have played it like a shortstop and attacked it instead of sitting back."
Howard. I guess he played the goal like a midfielder?

Notable games
Saturday, March 27 (12 games)
-Calgary (37-28-9) at Boston (33-28-12), 1 p.m. ET. I won't say write off Calgary with a loss, but the Flames need a win big time. Of course, they're not chasing the Red Wings any more, they're chasing the Avalanche. The Bruins need to erase that stinker against Tampa the other night.

-Detroit (38-23-13) at Nashville (43-27-5), 8 p.m. A win, plus certain other results, suddenly puts Detroit in sixth place. The Predators want to keep distancing themselves from others.

-Vancouver (45-25-4) at San Jose (45-19-10), 10 p.m. Not much on the line playoff-wise but probably the best game of the night.

Lot of bubble teams in action, obviously, with 12 games on the slate. It'll be fun to see what the standings look like Sunday morning.

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