Friday, March 19, 2010

NHL Recap 3-18-10: Atlanta staying alive; San Jose slumping

Three-goal third period puts Atlanta back in the hunt
An 0-5-1 stretch seemed to knock the Thrashers out of playoff contention. Two straight wins, plus the putridity of the East, has them back in it.

Nik Antropov and Colby Armstrong each scored a pair of goals and Atlanta handed Ottawa its fourth straight loss, 6-3, and climbed three points back of No. 8 Boston. The Thrashers tied the Rangers for ninth with a game in hand.

Antropov's second goal of the game snapped a 3-3 tie in the third and Armstrong netted his two in five minutes. Jim Slater and Evgeny Artyukhin also had goals for Atlanta. Armstrong had an assist for a three-point night.

Chris Kelly, Jarkko Ruutu and Chris Phillips scored for the Senators, who are 1-6-1 since the Olympic break. The lone victory came against lowly Edmonton and Ottawa has just 12 goals in those eight games, four coming against the Oilers.

Do you know the way to a win for San Jose?
Something's wrong in southern California.

Bob Luongo fended off 32 shots and Vancouver hung on for a 3-2 victory over former No. 1 San Jose, the Sharks' fourth straight loss (0-3-1.)

Since scoring eight goals in an 8-5 win over Nashville - a game that wasn't running up the score; the Predators actually led 4-2 and the game was tied 5-5 - the Sharks have scored just two goals in each of the four games in their current losing streak. Three of the losses are to teams not likely to make the playoffs - Florida, Dallas and Anaheim.

Alexander Edler and Ryan Kesler each had a power play goal and assist for the Canucks, who got the eventual winner from Ryan Johnson, his first goal in 83 games. Joe Pavelski led San Jose with a goal and assist and Ryane Clowe also scored.

Around the league
--St. Louis capitalized on a shaky Henrik Lundqvist, scoring four goals on its first 14 shots, and earned a 4-3 victory over the Rangers. Mike Weaver scored his first goal in three years and Paul Kariya got his 400th. Marian Gaborik had a goal and two assists for New York.
--Jason Pominville's hat trick and Derek Roy's goal and two assists sparked Buffalo's 6-2 rout of Tampa Bay, which remained six points back of Boston. The Sabres lead Ottawa by five points with two games in hand in the Northeast Division.
--Scott Hartnell's goal midway through the third period snapped a 2-2 tie and Philadelphia picked up a 3-2 victory over Dallas, which got two goals from Steve Ott.

Working late
--Ray Whitney's goal late in overtime gave Carolina a 4-3 victory over Washington. The Hurricanes had taken a 3-2 lead with 1:35 to play before Eric Fehr tied the score with 10 seconds left in regulation. Joe Corvo netted two goals for the Caps against his old team.
--Phil Kessel scored in regulation and the shootout and Toronto knocked off New Jersey, 2-1. Jean-Sebastien Giguere made 24 saves.
--A three-goal third period, capped by Radim Vrbata's fluke goal with one minute remaining, turned a 3-0 deficit into a 4-3 Phoenix shootout victory over Florida. Lauri Korpikoski and Vrbata scored in the shootout for the Coyotes, who set a franchise-record with their 44th win.

Clean sheets (the lite version)
--The much-anticipated Beantown Brawl between Boston and Pittsburgh was fairly lifeless, and the Penguins earned their first shutout of the season, 3-0. Matt Cooke fought Shawn Thornton two minutes into the game, and the Bruins seemed content to go home after that. Marc-Andre Fleury needed to make just 17 saves. Tyler Kennedy, Alexei Ponikarovsky and Mike Rupp scored.
--Pekka Rinne faced just 17 shots and Nashville blanked Minnesota, 5-0. Jason Arnott, Colin Wilson and Patric Hornqvist each had a goal and assist for the Predators, who moved six points clear of No. 9 Calgary. The Wild are six back of Detroit.
--Seventeen was the magic number of the night, because that's all Antti Niemi needed to stop in Chicago's 3-0 whitewash of Los Angeles. Tomas Kopecky scored twice and Troy Brouwer netted his 20th for the Blackhawks, who moved into first place in the West.

Stat of the night
42 - Years since the last Pittsburgh shutout in Boston, when Les Binkley did it on Jan. 28, 1968. But who's counting? It was only the Penguins inaugural season.

Quote of the night
"He couldn't get back to the net and he was elbowed in the face. Other than that, the ref said it was a good hockey goal."
Thrashers coach John Anderson, on the Senators first goal on which goalie Johan Hedberg was knocked down by Ruutu

Marquee matchup
Friday, March 19 (4 games)
San Jose (43-17-10) at Calgary (35-26-9), 9 p.m. ET. The Sharks try and get back to winning, the Flames try and leap Detroit in the standings. The Red Wings are also in action, as are Minnesota, the Islanders and Anaheim in bids to save their seasons.

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