Sunday, December 12, 2010

Flyers beat clock this time; 'Canes knock off Blues

Richards' OT goal takes down Bruins
A few nights ago, Philadelphia captain Mike Richards thought he won a game in overtime but his goal came just after the final buzzer. The Flyers lost in a shootout. On this occasion, Richards had plenty of time.

After a turnover by Marc Savard, Richards skated into the Boston end, was eventually joined by two teammates in a 3-on-1, then snapped a sneaky shot past Tim Thomas with three seconds remaining in the extra frame to give Philadelphia a 2-1 win over the Bruins.

James van Riemsdyk scored earlier in the game and Brian Boucher made 35 saves for the Flyers. Nathan Horton scored for Boston. Thomas finished with 31 saves.

Ward out-duels Halak in Carolina win
There were several good double-goaltending displays (what does it mean?) Saturday. Arguably the best was in St. Louis.

Only three pucks found their way into the net in 65 minutes of hockey and six shootout attempts due in large part to Cam Ward's 38 saves as Carolina knocked off St. Louis, 2-1 in a shootout. No goals were scored until early in the third period, when Brandon Sutter (Carolina) and Alex Pietrangelo (St. Louis) exchanged goals 3:13 apart.

Once in the shootout, only Jussi Jokinen scored in the bottom of the third round to give Carolina a much-needed win. Jaroslav Halak made 28 saves.

Other overtime strikes
--Steven Stamkos boomed a slapper from the point on the power play in overtime for his second goal and third point of the game to give Tampa Bay a 5-4 win over Vancouver. The Lightning led 4-2 after the second period before blowing the lead. The Sedins each had a goal and assist for the Canucks.
--Ryane Clowe's second goal of the game came late in overtime and San Jose edged Chicago, 2-1. Marc-Edouard Vlasic had two assists and Antti Niemi made 28 saves.
--After the penalty killing fended off eight of nine power plays, Minnesota's power play capitalized in overtime as Brent Burns powered a slap shot past Jonathan Quick to give the Wild a 3-2 win over Los Angeles. Jose Theodore made 24 saves for the win. Anze Kopitar had two assists to lead the Kings.

The losing continues
--Detroit scored 28 seconds into the game then again 1:14 later in an eventual 4-1 win over New Jersey, which has lost five straight games. Pavel Datsyuk had a goal and two assists and Chris Osgood made 33 saves to earn win #399.
--The Islanders joined their division foe in losing a fifth straight game by giving up two third-period goals just to Johnny Oduya - who now has two goals on the season - and four total in the final period in falling to Atlanta, 5-4. Chris Mason made his first start in forever for the Thrashers and made 25 saves. Rob Schremp and Blake Comeau each had a goal and two assists for New York.
--A third team is on a five-game losing streak and it's the biggest surprise. Paul Stastny had a goal and two assists and Craig Anderson stopped 40 shots - 16 in the third period - in Colorado's 3-2 win over Washington, which has lost five in a row.

The Auld is wrong, Bob
That headline doesn't really work as well as "The Price is wrong," does it? In any case, Toronto got two first-period goals against Montreal backup Alex Auld and hung on for a 3-1 win, sealing the victory on Kris Versteeg's empty net goal. Tomas Kaberle had a goal and assist, Fredrik Sjostrom posted two assists and Jean-Sebastien Giguere made 22 saves.

Welcome back to the NHL
Newly recalled forward Dustin Jeffrey had a goal and assist and Marc-Andre Fleury made 34 saves to lead Pittsburgh to its 12th straight win, 5-2 over Buffalo. Sidney Crosby was held to one assist in extending his points streak to 18 games.

Greatness, thy name is Rick
Rick Nash assisted on Antoine Vermette's power play goal then scored twice in the final five minutes to lead Columbus over the Rangers, 3-1. Steve Mason made 32 saves.

No magic this time
Andrew Raycroft has been brilliant more often than not as backup to Kari Lehtonen, but playing on back-to-back nights didn't work out too well. Phoenix poured five goals past Raycroft and knocked off division-leading Dallas, 5-2. Shane Doan scored twice, Keith Yandle had a goal and two assists and Ilya Bryzgalov stopped 33 shots.

Getting defensive
Defensemen Ryan Suter and Shea Weber each scored in the first period, with Suter assisting on Weber's goal, and Nashville allowed only 22 shots in earning a 3-0 win over Florida. Anders Lindback earned the shutout.

--Not a pretty game by the Penguins. Buffalo roughed them up, got them off their game, but they found a way to win. The Sabres were probably the better team but their finishing touch was lacking. Twice Buffalo players had an open net but couldn't corral the puck in situations that could've drastically changed the outcome, including once when the game was scoreless.

--So, honestly, what's happened to the Devils? Is it age? Is it John McLean? Is Brodeur done as a quality goalie? The Zach Parise injury hurts but they were bad when he was in the lineup, though from what I understand, he was plagued by that knee during the season. Still...when they signed Anton Volchenkov and Henrik Tallinder, their defense was supposed to improve.

--Is it the cloud of Ilya Kovalchuk? We remember how good Ilya's teams in Atlanta were, right?

--I'm guessing Steven Stamkos is back.

--I know Jon Quick made some gaffes tonight, but the Kings fans gave him heat? Really? Four goalies in the league have a GAA under 2.00 and he's one of them. Boo your piss-poor power play instead. Quick's the main (only?) reason LA is able to win games these days.

--You can't save your season in December (you can throw it away though) but some teams earned fairly key wins tonight, like Carolina, San Jose and Columbus.

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