Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Calgary back in it?; Canuckleheads win big

Three-game surge has Flames shining bright
Get it? Because it's fire, and it's bright? Anyway.

Calgary has thrown its hat back into the Western Conference playoff race following a 3-1 win over current No. 4 Nashville. The Flames have won three in a row and are 5-1-3 in their last nine games. Calgary's positioning is hardly secure and perhaps not even optimistic - the Flames are 12th and can easily be passed by two teams in a day or two - but at just four points behind the current No. 8 team, the Flames are no longer nearly dead as they once were.

Power play goals by Jarome Iginla and Brendan Morrison on a nifty tic-tac-toe play turned a 1-1 tie into the game's final margin. Matt Stajan and Alex Tanguay both had two assists and Curtis Glencross also scored. Miikka Kiprusoff made 23 saves.

Vancouver owns Dallas
When last the Canucks and Stars met, Vancouver scored three power play goals in a 4-1 victory. This time, Vancouver struck for, you guessed it, three power play goals, this time in a 7-1 rout.

Two of those power play goals came 81 seconds apart shortly after Brad Richards had canceled out Alex Burrows' opening goal. Ryan Kesler deflected home one goal and set up a great screen on Christian Ehrhoff's. Then the rout was on.

Fourteen different Canucks recorded at least one point. Feel shame, Tanner Glass, Manny Malhotra, Jannik Hansen and Kevin Bieksa. Henrik Sedin had a goal and two assists. Kesler, Mason Raymond and Mikael Samuelsson each had one and one, and Daniel Sedin and Alexander Edler both posted two helpers. Dan Hamhuis also scored and Roberto Luongo made 25 saves.

The win was just Vancouver's second in regulation in the last nine games (one SO win, two L's and four OTLs.)

Too little, too late
Washington had only 13 shots on goal with under four minutes to play in regulation, then poured on 10 more in the final nine minutes - including overtime. Had the Capitals applied that kind of pressure the whole game, they might have gotten two points. Instead, the Rangers came away with a 2-1 shootout victory.

Marian Gaborik's fluke goal off his glove tied the score at 1-1 with 6:41 to play, then New York scored three times in four rounds in the shootout against Braden Holtby, who looked bad on each goal. Artem Anisimov had the winner and Martin Biron made 22 saves.

Washington had six shots in overtime but didn't have more than six in any regulation period.

Blink and you'll miss a goal
Carolina and Toronto combined for seven third-period goals - on 18 combined shots - in what became a crazy 6-4 Hurricanes win. Tim Brent of all people scored twice in 1:11, the second being shorthanded, to erase a 3-1 Carolina lead. The Hurricanes responded with goals by Brandon Sutter and Jeff Skinner, with Erik Cole's empty netter coming after Toronto's Mike Brown got a goal back.

Sutter scored twice and Jussi Jokinen posted two assists. Joe Corvo had a goal and assist and Cam Ward made 26 saves.

Brent finished with three points.

Quick strikes and Colorado hangs on
Goals by Kevin Shattenkirk and Ryan Stoa - the latter needing a video review - 44 seconds apart gave Colorado a 4-2 lead which became a 4-3 win over St. Louis. Brandon Yip scored twice for the Avs and Peter Budaj made 21 saves.

Brad Boyes assisted on all three Blues goals, including one by David Backes with 1:27 to play.

Fine, I'll do it myself
Los Angeles has struggled on offense of late and Jonathan Quick has had enough.

Quick stopped all 34 shots he saw and Ryan Smyth's power play goal held up as the winner as the Kings downed Boston, 2-0. It was Quick's fifth shutout. Andrei Loktionov scored early in the third period for a key insurance goal.

--Ha! Eat it, Boston. Not so easy coming back from down two goals with four minutes left when you're not playing the Penguins, is it? ... I just made myself sad.

--I don't like to give Bruce Boudreau any credit - in fact, the way he handles his goalies makes me angry as a fantasy owner - but the guy says some good stuff. Like how he admitted during tonight's in-game interview that the game was boring.

--Vancouver would accept Evgeni Malkin for Ryan Kesler straight up, wouldn't they?

--What do you think goes through a goalie's mind as they're getting burned? Tim Brent made such a great move for one of his goals that he had Cam Ward flailing 10 feet out of his crease with no prayer to stop Brent's shot. Do they say, "Oh (expletive)"?

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