Monday, November 15, 2010

Rangers destroy Edmonton; Backstrom saves Wild

New York's offense erupts, as do fisticuffs
I guess an eight-game stretch of scoring three or fewer goals was bound to end sometime. Boy did it ever for the Rangers.

In his second game back from injury, Marian Gaborik scored his first three goals of the season, and added an assist, as New York routed Edmonton, 8-2. Alexander Frolov scored twice with a pair of helpers and Erik Christensen tallied three assists.

Naturally, this game turned ugly with a line brawl occurring with about nine minutes left. Apparently it started after Sean Avery checked an Oiler from behind into the boards then refused to fight like the gutless douchebag that he is.

Anyway, Ruslan Fedotenko had a goal and assist, Brian Boyle and Artem Anisimov also scored and Derek Stepan showed up again finally with two assists. Martin Biron made 19 saves, which is just four fewer than Nikolai Khabibulin, who was left in net for all eight New York goals.

Minnesota lone road team to win on Sunday
Ain't that some shit? Mainly the part about the Wild winning a game, let alone it being on the road. Oh, snap!

And it's all thanks to Niklas Backstrom. Well, mainly thanks. He made 37 saves and held off a big first-period flurry and almost-as-big third-period rally from Tampa Bay to lead Minnesota to a 4-1 win. The Wild's fabulous power play struck twice more, getting goals from Cal Clutterbuck and Antti Miettinen.

John Madden also scored for Minnesota, 1:24 after Martin St. Louis scored to cancel out Clutterbuck's goal. Also, Martin Havlat appears to have a pulse after posting three assists.

Seriously, what can you do?
When guys like John Erskine are scoring for Washington, you just have to shake your head.

Erskine's second goal of the season (and ninth career in over 300 games) broke a 4-4 tie late and the Capitals knocked off Atlanta, 6-4. Dave Steckel, Mike Green and Alex Ovechkin had a goal and assist each and Matt Hendricks and Alexander Semin also scored. Michal Neuvirth made 23 saves.

Bryan Little scored twice for the Thrashers.

Maple Leafs fans did several shots after this one
Traded to Chicago as part of the Kris Versteeg trade, Viktor Stalberg is finding new life. Much to the dismay of all Toronto faithful, especially in light of how badly Versteeg is playing.

Stalberg deflected Duncan Keith's slap-pass with 28 seconds left in overtime to lift Chicago over Anaheim, 3-2. Stalberg now has nearly as many goals and points (five, nine) as he did in Toronto (nine, 14) in less than half as many games. He's also out-performing Versteeg (two goals, seven points.)

Marian Hossa and Patrick Kane each had a goal and assist and Corey Crawford made 24 saves for the Blackhawks. Corey Perry scored twice and Jonas Hiller did all he could in making 40 saves for the Ducks.

--I hope the Rangers used up all their goals Sunday. They come to Pittsburgh Monday.

--Is it possible for this season to be even worse than last year for Edmonton?

--I still can't get over the fact that Brett Clark plays on Tampa's top power play. How weak is that defense? No wonder Dan Ellis and Mike Smith get lit up all the time.

--What the hell happened to Ryan Malone? He's good for 22-25 goals a season but he's got only two this year.

--The Ducks are falling back to their old habits. Getting out-shot a ton but Hiller's been good enough to withstand it. In the end, there's only so much he could do.

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