Monday, March 15, 2010

NHL Recap 3-14-10: Ovie-less Caps stun Chicago; Canucks hang on

The 'other' Capitals mount comeback
A 3-0 lead after two periods and no Alex Ovechkin on the opposing bench should've been the recipe for a victory for one of the supposed elite teams in the league.

Chicago seemed to think that, because the Blackhawks shifted into park. Not neutral, not letting off the gas pedal. Park.

A massive letdown allowed the Capitals, lifeless through two periods after Ovechkin was given a game misconduct for boarding, to find new life. Washington pounced for three goals in 2:16 in the third and went on to win the game in overtime, 4-3.

Careless play, especially with their sticks, doomed the Blackhawks. Jordan Hendry took a double minor for high sticking and Brooks Laich scored in the first half. As soon as he scored, Laich received another high stick, giving the Capitals a two-man advantage for two minutes. They didn't score on the power play but Nicklas Backstrom converted three seconds after the penalties ended.

Just 13 seconds after Backstrom scored, Dave Steckel out-raced a Chicago defenseman to an icing call and centered for Eric Fehr, who snapped a shot past Antti Niemi to tie the game. Backstrom scored his second goal of the game in the extra frame on a nifty play to give Washington an improbable victory and become the first team to reach 100 points.

The Blackhawks, who got two goals from Jonathan Toews and one from John Madden, had just one shot in the third period.

Luongo saves Vancouver
So. A 20-6 shot advantage and three goals in the first period. Easy win for Vancouver, right? Well, not quite.

After a shaky first period, Calgary poured things on Vancouver, but Bob Luongo stood tall and fended off the Flames, leading the Canucks to a 3-1 victory. After registering those 20 first-period shots, the Canucks mustered just eight the rest of the game, all in the second period.

You read that correctly. Vancouver recorded zero shots on goal in the third period.

The Flames finished with a 33-28 shots advantage, but only Robyn Regehr found the back of the net to ruin Luongo's shutout bid just past the midway mark of the final period. Calgary remained a point behind Detroit in the West.

Danrik Sedin sandwiched goals around Ryan Kesler's score in the first period for the Canucks. Luongo made 32 saves, 10 in the third period.

In other action
--Patric Hornqvist snapped a tie score with 3:31 remaining and Nashville earned a crucial 3-2 victory over Los Angeles.
--Craig Anderson made 48 freaking saves, Paul Stastny scored twice and Colorado handed Dallas a devastating defeat, 5-3. Someone please argue why the Hart Trophy finalists should not be Anderson, Ryan Miller and Ilya Bryzgalov.
--Sean Avery had two goals and was particularly pesty a game after being a healthy scratch and the Rangers knocked off Philadelphia, 3-1.
--Blake Comeau posted three assists and the Islanders stopped the powerhouse Maple Leafs (three straight wins), 4-1.
--Two goals in the first 5:17 of the third period allowed Pittsburgh to mount a 2-1 comeback win over Tampa Bay, which got 37 saves from Antero Niittymaki. Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 21 shots for the Penguins.
--Jason LaBarbera's 39 saves and Adrian Aucoin's shootout goal in round four gave Phoenix a 3-2 win over Atlanta.
--Minnesota's Josh Harding fended off 36 shots, Mikko Koivu tallied three points (one goal) and the Wild defeated St. Louis, 4-2.
--Jonas Hiller made 31 saves, Teemu Selanne scored his 599th career goal and Anaheim knocked off San Jose, 4-2.

Marquee matchup
Monday, March 15 (3 games)
Oh boy. Detroit (33-23-12) at Calgary (34-25-9), 9:30 p.m. ET. Don't think I have to say anything about this one.

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