Wednesday, March 10, 2010

NHL Recap 3-9-10: Flames win key showdown; Playoff proceedings

Calgary works for each point against Detroit
When fighting for the playoffs, a team can't take one game off, or even one period. Detroit did, and now the Red Wings are on the outside looking in.

Calgary out-shot Detroit, 15-4 in the third period, and scored three unanswered goals to earn a 4-2 victory that catapulted the Flames over the Red Wings for eighth in the West.

Jarome Iginla and Rene Bourque scored 1:31 apart off goalmouth scrambles to turn a 2-1 deficit into a 3-2 lead. Both players also had an assist. Christopher Higgins scored a shorthanded goal into an empty net to seal the win. Daymond Langkow also scored for the Flames and Miikka Kiprusoff made 28 saves.

Pavel Datsyuk and Tomas Holmstrom had goals for Detroit.

Movin' and shakin', or not movin' but shakin'
At this point in the season, it's hard to find any game on the schedule that doesn't have some kind of playoff implication. Some games mean more than others. A look at Tuesday's bigger matchups:

--Dan Ellis made 30 saves and Nashville edged Atlanta, 2-1. The Predators moved three points ahead of No. 9 Detroit. The Thrashers have lost three straight games and missed a chance to leapfrog the Rangers for ninth.

--Scott Gomez had a goal and two assists, Mathieu Darche scored twice and Montreal downed Tampa Bay, 5-3. The seventh-place Canadiens are five points ahead of the No. 9 Rangers, who the Lightning could've tied with a win.

--Florida isn't ready to go away yet after holding Minnesota to 11 shots in a 3-2 shootout victory. Cory Stillman tied the game at 2-2 then netted the shootout winner. The Panthers are five points back of No. 8 Boston. The Wild fell seven points back of the Flames.

--I told Anaheim not to underestimate Columbus, but the Ducks didn't seem to listen. The Blue Jackets bounced back from their 6-0 shellacking Monday to knock off the Ducks, 5-2. Mathieu Garon made 36 saves and Jakub Voracek, Antoine Vermette and Fedor Tyutin each had a goal and two assists. Anaheim is tied with Minnesota at 68 points but having played one more game.

--The Islanders' season might be just about over now. Two third-period power play goals allowed Philadelphia to earn a 3-2 comeback victory over New York, putting the Islanders 10 points behind Boston. Claude Giroux had a goal and assist for the Flyers, who are starting to rest comfortably at No. 6 with a seven-point edge on the Rangers.

Happy homecoming
New acquisition Luca Caputi, who grew up a Toronto fan, was in the starting lineup in his first home game as a Maple Leaf. In the third period, he scored his first goal with his new team, and Nikolai Kulemin's overtime winner gave Toronto a 4-3 victory over Boston, which is three points ahead of the Rangers. Mark Recchi had a goal and two assists in defeat.

In other action
--Mikael Samuelsson's second-period hat trick and a three-goal third propelled Vancouver past Colorado, 6-4. Samuelsson added an assist and Danrik Sedin recorded six points (1G + 2A from Daniel, three helpers by Henrik.) Matt Duchene scored twice and Peter Mueller had a goal and assist for the Avalanche.

--Three goals in just under five minutes - two on the power play - in the third period allowed Ottawa to get by Edmonton, 4-1. Daniel Alfredsson had three assists for the Senators.

Pat Quinn-ism of the night
"Playing like that is what got us in trouble lots of other nights."

Edmonton was out-shot 39-19.

Stat of the night
19 - Iginla hadn't scored a goal against Detroit in 19 games, dating back to 2004.

Quote of the night
"I like to do that with young guys and at least I get their parents on my side for a couple weeks. Usually I get a nice letter from a mom, 'Thank you for starting my son. It's the thrill of a lifetime.'"
Toronto coach Ron Wilson, on starting Caputi.

Notable games
Wednesday, March 10 (5 games)
-NY Rangers (29-28-9) at New Jersey (38-23-3), 7 p.m. ET. New York is chasing Boston for playoff life, New Jersey is chasing Pittsburgh in the division.

-Los Angeles (39-22-4) at Chicago (43-17-5), 8:30 p.m. Neither team needs a win to stay alive, but it should just be an entertaining game.

-Vancouver (41-23-4) at Phoenix (39-22-5), 10 p.m. Third vs. fourth in the West should be a good game too.

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