Saturday, March 20, 2010

NHL Recap 3-19-10: How the West Finished 8th

Four games Friday and each one featured a team chasing one of the final playoff spots in the Western Conference.

Questionable call hurts Wild
Actually, it wasn't all that questionable. Seems fairly obvious the Wild were on the wrong end of a bad call.

Kris Russell tied the game at 2-2 with a slap shot that found its way through Josh Harding despite apparent interference from Blue Jackets center R.J. Umberger. The goal was allowed to stand and Rick Nash scored 27 seconds later. Nash added a second goal in his first game back from injury as Columbus played spoiler, 4-2 over Minnesota.

Kristian Huselius got the first goal for the Blue Jackets. Mikko Koivu and Chuck Kobasew had given the Wild a 2-0 lead.

Minnesota fell seven points back of Detroit and Calgary with 11 games left.

Big lead turns to narrow win for Flames
San Jose is still struggling and Calgary took full advantage.

The Flames took a 2-0 lead nine minutes into the game, opened a 4-1 margin and hung on to hand the Sharks their fifth straight loss, 4-3. Jarome Iginla, Daymond Langkow, Nigel Dawes and Eric Nystrom scored for Calgary, which got 25 saves from Miikka Kiprusoff.

Dany Heatley got San Jose on the board at 2-1 in the second period, and goals late in the third by Manny Malhotra and Dan Boyle made things interesting.

Calgary is tied in points with Detroit and holds the wins tiebreaker but has played one more game.

Last-second goal salvages point for Detroit
I really want to know what the hell Theo Peckham was thinking.

As the seconds wound down and Edmonton clinging to a 2-1 lead, Oilers defenseman Peckham, who otherwise had a great game with seven blocked shots, inexplicably tried to play a puck in the corner with his hand. The weird thing is he had a fully functioning stick but decided to try smothering the puck with his hand, then body, instead.

It didn't work.

The puck sprung free to Brian Rafalski, alone right in front of the net, and the silver medalist banged home the tying goal with 0.5 second remaining to force overtime. Edmonton went on to win the game, 3-2 in a shootout, but the Red Wings salvaged a valuable point.

Andrew Cogliano and Ryan Whitney gave Edmonton a 2-0 lead five minutes in. Patrick Eaves scored for the Red Wings.

In the shootout, Ryan Potulny and and Gilbert Brule, who had two assists, scored for the Oilers. Devan Dubnyk stopped two shooters and made 31 saves for his first career victory.

Shell doesn't work, Anaheim stuns Isles
The lone East team in action, the New York Islanders, seemed to have things in hand. A 4-2 lead, midway through the third period... Woops.

Anaheim scored two goals in the final 10:07 of regulation, then Saku Koivu capitalized off a brutal turnover by Bruno Gervais to score the overtime winner on a breakaway just 14 seconds into the extra period of the Ducks' 5-4 victory.

Jason Blake scored on a power play - just his third goal in 15 games with Anaheim - to get the Ducks to within 4-3, then Lubomir Visnovsky cranked his second goal of the game to tie the score with 32 seconds remaining. Matt Beleskey had a goal and Teemu Selanne posted two helpers for Anaheim. Curtis McElhinney made 13 saves - only two in the third period - in relief of shaky starter Jonas Hiller.

Kyle Okposo scored twice and the Islanders also got goals from Richard Park and John Tavares.

New York is six points back of Boston but has three other teams in front of it and Anaheim is seven back of Detroit and Calgary.

Pat Quinn-ism of the night
"We did what a bottom-place team does: We backed off and gave them lots of room at the end. Dubnyk was really good, in the third period, especially. You never think a puck is going to go in with less than a second left. But we've had that happen to us earlier this season as well."

Stat of the night
0-1-2 - Detroit's record against Edmonton this season.

Quote of the night
"It was a play that shouldn't have been made. We had another option. Bad break or not, it wasn't a play that had to be made."
Islanders coach Scott Gordon, on the Gervais turnover in OT

Notable games
Saturday, March 20 (11 games)
-Philadelphia (37-28-5) at Atlanta (30-29-11), 7 p.m. ET. The Thrashers try and continue their momentum (three straight wins.) The Flyers look for separation.

-Chicago (45-19-6) at Phoenix (44-22-5), 9 p.m. The Blackhawks, with San Jose's slump, now sit in solid positioning to finish atop the West. The Coyotes, with San Jose's slump, are now thinking division title (three points back.)

-Detroit (34-23-13) at Vancouver (44-24-3), 10 p.m. The Canucks have lost only nine games at home, a tough game for the Red Wings to try to break their tie with Calgary.

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