Thursday, January 20, 2011

Best of both worlds

It's kind of funny how from just three games Wednesday, we saw a lot of great goaltending and a lot of spectacular offense. I'd love to go into more detail on each game but I was busy covering Division II women's basketball, if you know what I mean.

Bench him again!
Marian Gaborik said one of two things to himself over the last couple of days since he was benched for large parts of a one-goal loss to Philadelphia. Either, "OK, coach, I got it, I'll work harder," or, "Screw you, coach, I'll show you how you messed up."

Whatever the case might have been, John Tortorella looks like a genius.

Gaborik exploded for four goals and one assist to headline the Rangers' 7-0 rout of Toronto. Artem Anisimov assisted on each Gaborik goal and Sean Avery three. Brian Boyle, Mats Zuccarello and Ruslan Fedotenko scored, and Wojtek Wolski and Marc Staal each had two assists.

Oh, and the forgotten one, Henrik Lundqvist, made 22 saves to re-tie Tim Thomas atop the league lead in shutouts, now both with seven.

Happy returns
Anton who?

Niklas Backstrom returned to Minnesota's lineup for the first time since the Dark Ages and apparently didn't miss a beat. The time off did him good as he stopped 37 shots, including 16 in the third period, and Minnesota burned Calgary, 6-0. Get it? They burned the...moving on.

Martin Havlat scored twice and Kyle Brodziak posted three helpers. Cal Clutterbuck, Chuck Kobasew and John Cullen each had a goal and assist. Andrew Brunette tallied two assists and Mikko Koivu also scored.

Happy comeback
Antoine Vermette scored in the final minute of regulation to force overtime and teammate R.J. Umberger scored on the power play in the last minute of the extra frame to give Columbus a 3-2 comeback victory over Florida. Fedor Tyutin had a goal and assist and Grant Clitsome (teehee) had two helpers. Steve Mason made 29 saves.

Dmitry Kulikov had two assists for the Panthers but also took the overtime penalty that led to the game-winner.

--What, so are the Wild good again?

--We're getting closer to writing off the Flames.

--Huge win for the Blue Jackets, not only the circumstances of final-minute goals but because that was a critical two points. If they missed those, they'd be in the same boat as Calgary.

--Gaborik picked a really good time to go off like that, since New York will be without Brandon Dubinsky for a few weeks.

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