Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Better late than never

So I kind of forgot to finish this once the NHL games ended last night.

We can talk about who was snubbed from All Star selection all we want, but I don't really care. However, two names stuck out to me and both responded with nice nights on Tuesday.

--Danny Briere had a goal and three assists as Philadelphia scored five unanswered goals to earn a 5-2 victory over Buffalo. Scott Hartnell scored twice with an assist and Sergei Bobrovsky made 38 saves in his first start since Labor Day.
--Pekka Rinne made 25 saves and someone called Nick Spaling scored two third-period goals to open up a close game and Nashville downed Minnesota, 5-1.

OK, so the Penguins aren't the only Atlantic Division team to get owned by Benoit Pouliot.

Pouliot's goal early in the third period proved to be the winner as Montreal edged the Rangers, 2-1. Alex Auld made 25 saves for the Canadiens. Henrik Lundqvist stopped 36 shots and also had an assist for the third straight game.

OK, so the Penguins aren't the only team in the Pennsylvania-Ohio area whose power play sucks.

Columbus allowed a shorthanded goal and failed on four third-period power plays, including a 5-on-3 for 50 seconds, and dropped a 4-3 decision to Phoenix. Ilya Bryzgalov shook off a rough start - two goals against in the game's first six minutes - to make 37 saves.

The Coyotes had four different goal scorers and 10 players who registered a point. Only Martin Hanzal (two assists) had a multipoint game.

Distant neighbors-in-arms
OK, so the Penguins aren't the only, um, team that has won a Presidents Trophy in the past who sucks at home.

San Jose gave up four third-period goals and dropped its fifth straight game, four of which were at home, 4-2 to Toronto. Carl Gunnarson got a piece of Dion Phaneuf's shot from the point for the eventual winner after Patrick Marleau's second goal of the game tied the score at 2-2, after Phil Kessel and Clarke MacArthur put the Maple Leafs ahead. MacArthur added an empty netter and James Reimer made 40 saves.

Dink, dink, dink
James Neal's wrist shot hit one post, caromed off the back bar inside the net, clanked off the other post and rebounded out to center ice and was later determined by video review to be a goal, and Dallas survived Edmonton, 3-2. The Stars comfortably led 2-0 before two quick goals by the Oilers less than two minutes apart, than Neal scored 1:13 later. Kari Lehtonen made 39 saves, including 16 in the third period when Edmonton out-shot the hosts, 18-4.

"Guess I have to play well again"
The thinking here is Tim Thomas realized, with Tuukka Rask earning more and more playing time, that Thomas was going to have to start playing better.

Thomas made 31 saves to help Boston over Ottawa, 6-0, for his first win since Dec. 28. Oh, and Patrice Bergeron had a hat trick to lead the offense. Brad Marchand and Tyler Seguin each had a goal and assist.

Working late
--Carolina allowed a 5-2 lead disappear but still earned a 6-5 shootout win over Calgary. Jussi Jokinen had two goals and an assist and Cam Ward stopped 27 shots.
--Kevin Bieksa canceled a go-ahead goal 34 seconds after it happened and Vancouver went on to defeat the Islanders, 4-3 in a shootout. Mason Raymond and Ryan Kesler (regulation goal) converted shootout attempts and Roberto Luongo made 38 saves.
--All-Star defensive stalwart Mike Green made a horrid turnover in the defensive zone, took a penalty two seconds later and Florida's Dennis Wideman converted the power play for a 4-3 overtime win over Washington. Wideman had two points, Stephen Weiss dished out three assists and Tomas Vokoun made 30 saves. Marcus Johansson led the Capitals with two goals.

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