Thursday, November 25, 2010

Feisty Thrashers earn big win; Habs win showdown

Quick start spurs Atlanta to big win over Detroit
I told you not to sleep on a pesky Atlanta team. Then I picked the Red Wings to win anyway.


Chris Thorburn scored 2:39 into the start of the game and Ondrej Pavelec stopped 32 shots to lead Atlanta to an impressive 5-1 win over Detroit. Andrew Ladd and Bryan Little had a goal and assist as the Thrashers chased Jimmy Howard (four goals) after two periods. Dustin Byfuglien and Anthony Stewart also scored as 11 Thrashers recorded a point.

Beating LA no longer hard to do
I might've said this was an impressive Montreal win, but not at the moment it's not.

Montreal scored twice in each of the first two periods and defeated Los Angeles, 4-1. The Kings have lost five of their last six games, with four of the defeats coming on the road.

Carey Price needed to make just 24 saves. Andrei Kostitsyn had a goal and assist and Mike Cammalleri, Tomas Plekanec and Lars Eller all scored.

The haters will always hate
Marc-Andre Fleury's critics couldn't have had a much better month than October, when Fleury posted a 1-6 record and did nothing to earn his team points. Now they might be a little quiet. Fleury stopped all 30 shots he saw and led Pittsburgh to a 1-0 win over Buffalo, the Penguins' fourth straight win. They're 6-0-1 in their last seven, all with Fleury in goal. He's posted a 1.54 GAA with a .944 save percentage during that time, but I'm sure he probably didn't really have anything to do with the current streak.

Fleury shutouts do not happen often. It's just his second in the last two seasons. Pascal Dupuis scored the lone goal late in the first period after a Sidney Crosby takeaway.

Bouncing back
Washington saw a two-goal lead disappear in the third period but rebounded on Brooks Laich's late power play goal to edge Carolina, 3-2, and snap a three-game losing streak. Nicklas Backstrom scored twice, Alex Ovechkin posted three assists and Semyon Varlamov stopped 30 shots.

Taking the lead
Steven Stamkos had a goal and two assists in Tampa Bay's 5-3 win over the Rangers. Henrik Lundqvist's struggles continued, giving up all five goals. Stamkos has a league-high 38 points. Mike Smith made 17 saves.

Struggling offenses
--Andrew Raycroft saw just 19 shots and stopped 18 as Dallas held off Ottawa, 2-1. Brenden Morrow scored the gamewinner early in the third period. The Senators haven't scored more than three goals in a game since Nov. 9 and have lost four of five.
--Tim Thomas got things back in his favor by making 31 saves in Boston's 3-1 win over Florida. Mark Recchi scored twice in Boston's three-goal third period, becoming the 13th player to reach 1,500 points on his second goal. The Panthers have lost three of four, with just three goals in the losses.
--In a "cover your eyes" woeful type of game, Minnesota got blasted by Philadelphia, 6-1 on home ice, registering just 16 shots on goal. Danny Briere, Ville Leino and Andreas Nodl had a goal and assist each and Sergei Bobrovsky made 15 saves.

Working late
--Jakub Voracek banged home the rebound of a Kris Russell shot in overtime and Columbus edged the Islanders, 4-3, sending New York to its 14th straight loss. R.J. Umberger and Antoine Vermette had a goal and assist each and Mathieu Garon made 21 saves.
--Ilya Kovalchuk didn't screw up this time, powering home a wrist shot for the only goal in the shootout and New Jersey defeated Calgary, 2-1, for the Devils' first two-game winning streak of the season. Johan Hedberg made 25 saves.
--Despite getting only 15 shots on goal through regulation and overtime, St. Louis earned a 2-1 shootout win over Nashville behind Jaroslav Halak's 29 saves. Andy McDonald scored in regulation and had the only shootout goal in round five for the Blues.

Out west
--Alex Burrows and Daniel Sedin had a goal and assist each in Vancouver's 4-2 win over Colorado. Roberto Luongo made 21 saves. Craig Anderson left the game after the first period, apparently because of a groin injury.
--Two third-period goals by Patrick Marleau helped secure San Jose's 5-2 win over Chicago. Former Blackhawk Antti Niemi made 30 saves.

Colorado (12-8-1) is back in action at Edmonton (5-11-4), 9 p.m. ET, NHL Network. I get that there's still not a majority of Americans playing, but why have any U.S.-based team playing Thursday? Let all the Canadian teams play today. Anyway, I forced myself to watch about 22 minutes of the Oilers-Coyotes game Tuesday. I might watch a little more of this one but the Avalanche have actual talent and some exciting players. -Avalanche 4, Oilers 2.

--My condolences, but I'm glad I didn't tune in to that Wild-Flyers game. That sounded brutal.

--Poor Islanders. I feel bad for them at this point. I hate playing against them because the Penguins often seem to take them lightly and/or New York steps up its game against us and thus the games tend to be more competitive than maybe they should be, but the Isles are the one division opponent I bear no particular angst for, even after 1993.

--Atlanta might be sneaky good. Especially if Pavelec's development continues at its current pace.

--Maybe Jimmy Howard needs a rest? He's made 10 straight starts and he hasn't been good in the last three.

--What the hell's happened to the Kings?

--Happy Thanksgiving.

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