Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Penguins win seventh straight; Ducks win Battle of SoCal

One is the loneliest number
--In one of the duller yet effective games one will see, Pittsburgh won its seventh consecutive game and ninth in the last 10 after a 3-1 win over the Rangers. Marc-Andre Fleury made 25 saves and the Penguins got goals from Max Talbot, Kris Letang and Chris Conner. Sidney Crosby extended his points streak to 13 with an assist.
--James Neal had a pair of goals and Kari Lehtonen shut down Carolina, making 27 saves as Dallas earned a 4-1 victory. Jamie Benn had a goal and assist and Steve Ott also scored for the Stars.
--Nick Foligno finally scored his first goal of the season for Ottawa but Edmonton rattled off the next four to grab a 4-1 victory over the Senators. Andrew Cogliano and Gilbert Brule each had a goal and assist in the third period to snap a 1-1 tie. Taylor Hall scored into an empty net to seal the win. Former Senator Martin Gerber made 22 saves for the win.

Wish we could've gotten one
--Miikka Kiprusoff fended off 32 shots and Calgary blanked Minnesota, 3-0. Jarome Iginla had a goal and assist and Jay Bouwmeester and Niklas Hagman also scored.
--Jonas Hiller made 27 saves, including a sterling one on Anze Kopitar with 3:19 left in a one-goal game, and Anaheim downed Los Angeles, 2-0. Cam Fowler scored on a power play midway through the second period and Jason Blake sealed the win with a late goal. Teemu Selanne and Lubomir Visnovsky, both returning from injuries, had two assists.

--Really boring Penguins game, but an effective road game. It's two points, can't complain much.

--Ottawa fans are doing a /facepalm. For those who don't know, that's a geeky, Internet term/emote, often used by video gamers, for putting your head in your hands in despair.

--Seriously, they got dominated by the Oilers at home. Woof.

--Who else is waiting for the Kings to pull off some big trade to bring in offense? Wouldn't it be some shit if the Devils traded them Kovalchuk? Let's start that rumor.

Tuesday's games

Tampa Bay (13-8-3) at Toronto (8-11-3), 7 p.m. ET

Steven Stamkos's chase to score 50 goals in 50 games has taken a hit as he hasn't found the back of the net in a whopping two games in a row. Coincidentally, the Lightning lost both those games (albeit one by a 6-0 margin, so Stamkos would've needed to have a really good night to get a win.) If Tampa isn't careful, the Thrashers might leapfrog the Lightning in the standings.

The Maple Leafs are considerably better at home than on the road. They can score a goal in Toronto, and in fact have won three straight there. Jonas Gustavsson is basically the only Leaf playing well and even he's had a couple average games at best lately. He'll need to start stealing some games.

Phoenix (11-6-5) at Nashville (9-8-5), 8 p.m.

The glaring lack of anything remotely resembling an offensive talent is really starting to hurt the Predators now. They've lost four straight and have just four goals in that time. Except for a bogey against Minnesota, Pekka Rinne has done all he's can to help his team win, allowing just two goals each in those other three losses but is getting no support.

Nashville's task won't be any easier against Ilya Bryzgalov, who backstopped Phoenix to seven straight wins (OK, he was in net for only six of those) before a loss to Anaheim ended that.

St. Louis (12-7-3) at Chicago (13-11-1), 8 p.m., Versus

This should be a good one. Right?

On the one hand, you've got the Blackhawks. They've scored the second-most goals in the West. They've also given up the third most. Then we have the Blues, who have the third-lowest goals total but have conceded the third-lowest amount of goals.

So chances are we'll either see a doozy of a scoring game or a 1-0 shootout game. Either way, should be fun.

Atlanta (12-9-3) at Colorado (13-9-1), 10 p.m.

The red-hot Thrashers look to see if they can keep up their act on the road. Atlanta is coming off a six-game homestand, winning its last five. The Thrashers have lost three of their last four road games but Ondrej Pavelec and Dustin Byfuglien are playing out of their minds right now.

They'll both get a good test. The team Chicago trails in the goals department? Colorado. Only the Capitals and Flyers have scored more than the Avalanche, though they'll be without Chris Stewart, who broke his hand on Kyle Brodziak's skull. He's their leading goal scorer with 11.

Detroit (15-4-2) at San Jose (11-7-4), 10:30 p.m., NHL Network

The Red Wings aren't exactly well-traveled; this will be just their ninth road game out of 22. But wherever they go, they're good. They've played the fewest games in the league (21) but trail league-leading Washington by just four points. The Capitals have played four more games.

When the hell did Dan Cleary get 10 goals? Talk about something that slipped under my radar. He and Johan Franzen both have 10 for Detroit, which has a pretty good offense to go with a (normally) real good goalie in Jimmy Howard.

If anybody can stop the Wings... well, I'm not convinced it's the Sharks. They've yet to find a groove, having only one winning streak longer than two games, and it's just three. They have more losing streaks of three games (two.) San Jose has wins in four of its last five home games, so there's that.

By the way, I know plus/minus should be taken with a grain of salt, but Joe Thornton is a minus-6 and Patrick Marleau a minus-8.

Tampa Bay 4, Toronto 2
Phoenix 3, Nashville 1
St. Louis 2, Chicago 1
Atlanta 4, Colorado 2
Detroit 5, San Jose 3

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