Sunday, November 7, 2010

Close-knit Saturday

Nine of Saturday's 12 NHL games were decided by two goals, one goal or a shootout. So that means congratulations go out to Nashville, Dallas and Tampa Bay for getting blown out.

The one-goal games
--Eric Staal scored twice and Cam Ward needed to make all of 18 saves for Carolina in a 3-2 win over Florida. Ward had to go screw up his GAA and save percentage by allowing a goal in the final minute. Jerk.
--Also netting a pair of goals in victory was Ottawa's Alexei Kovalev and the Senators knocked off Montreal, 3-2. Brian Elliott, like Ward, also wasn't busy, needing to make 21 saves.
--Someone who was busy was Sergei Bobrovsky, who unfortunately may be turning into the goalie Philadelphia has sorely lacked since Ron Hextall retired and who made 31 saves as Philadelphia edged the Islanders, 2-1, on Andreas Nodl's late goal.
--The lone game I correctly predicted (I get a lot wrong) was Minnesota defeating a surprisingly solid Columbus team, 3-2, on the strength of two Brent Burns' goals and 35 saves by Jose Theodore. Cal Clutterbuck? Awesome.

Double or nothing
So, Vancouver's Manny Malhotra has four goals on the season. He has a pair of two-goal games. Other than that, nothin'. His latest effort came against Detroit, which allowed three third-period goals after taking the lead and suffering a 6-4 loss to Vancouver. Jimmy Howard fell massive victim to the Kipa Curse, allowing all six goals.

Just the one tonight
Colorado's Peter Budaj posted the only shutout on Saturday, stopping 31 shots to bring an end to Dallas' three-game winning streak, 5-0. Philippe Dupuis' first goal of his career and two assists, plus two goals by Kevin Porter, fueled the Avalanche offense.

Thanks for playing
--Jonathan Bernier made 25 saves, allowing a late goal to ruin his shutout bid, and Los Angeles wiped out Nashville, 4-1. Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown had a goal and assist each and Ryan Smyth scored in his 1,000th career game. No word on whether he cried afterward.
--Four straight goals allowed San Jose to coast to a 5-2 victory against Tampa Bay. Patrick Marleau scored twice for the Sharks, who played the first of two games without the suspended Joe Thornton.

Shoot 'em out
--Tuukka Rask made a bid for more playing time by making 34 saves, but it was Jaroslav Halak (33 saves) and St. Louis who earned a 2-1 shootout win over Boston.
--The great Derek Roy had a goal and helped set up Jochen Hecht's game-tying goal with 14 seconds left, and Buffalo went on to defeat Toronto, 3-2 in a shootout. Jhonas Enroth made 23 saves for his first career win.
--Jonathan Toews had four points, including two goals plus a tally in the shootout, and Patrick Kane scored twice with one assist in Chicago's 5-4 shootout win at Atlanta.
--Brent Johnson made 22 saves in relief of Marc-Andre Fleury and Sidney Crosby had a goal and assist in Pittsburgh's 4-3 shootout win over Phoenix.

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