Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Hiller takes lead; Florida makes one count

Key milestone for Blake, Ducks
This particular achievement for Jason Blake stunned me. It seemed he scored this many goals just against the Penguins.

Playing in his 800th career game, Blake netted his 200th career goal which turned out to be the winner as Anaheim edged Columbus, 3-2. Jonas Hiller made 35 saves and now leads the NHL with 25 victories.

Teemu Selanne had a goal and assist, Lubomir Visnovsky and Saku Koivu both had two assists and Cam Fowler also scored for the Ducks.

Derrick Brassard led the Blue Jackets with a goal and assist.

One is the loneliest number
Florida registered one shot on goal in the third period against the Rangers. The Panthers scored on that one shot. It proved to be the game-winner.

Mike Weaver put the Panthers ahead after New York scored two straight goals to tie the game and Florida came away a 4-3 victor despite getting only 17 shots total on Henrik Lundqvist. Mike Santorelli and Rostislav Olesz both had a goal and assist for the Panthers. Tomas Vokoun made 32 saves.

Mats Zuccarello assisted on each New York goal.

Too many penalties doom Montreal against Flyers
When you play a team as stacked as Philadelphia, it's a good idea to stay out of the penalty box.

Montreal took three penalties in 1:31 and Philadelphia scored a pair of power play goals in 63 seconds en route to a 5-2 rout. Chris Pronger tallied four assists as Philadelphia had five different goal scorers, including Jeff Carter and Claude Giroux. Danny Briere had an empty net goal and assist. Sergei Bobrovsky made 29 saves.

Mathieu Darche led the Canadiens with a goal and assist.

Late strike
Dustin Penner's goal with 21.3 seconds remaining in the third period lifted Edmonton over Phoenix, 4-3. Taylor Hall had a goal and assist and Shawn Horcoff posted two helpers as the Oilers scored three times in the third period. Devan Dubnyk made 24 saves. Scottie Upshall led the Coyotes with two goals.

Hosed but not quite
--Ottawa tied its game with Buffalo with 6:04 left in regulation despite Nick Foligno apparently bowling over Ryan Miller but the Sabres netted the winner in overtime from Shaone Morrisonn to escape, 3-2. Thomas Vanek had two assists and Miller finished with 27 saves. The Senators have lost six in a row and 12 of 13.
--Chicago will bitch about an apparent goal canceled out by a quick whistle but the Blackhawks didn't score again anyway in a 4-2 defeat to Minnesota. Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Chuck Kobasew both had a goal and assist and Niklas Backstrom stopped 31 shots.

Clean sheets
--Making a rare appearance in this category, Marc-Andre Fleury stopped all 29 shots he saw, including quite a few good ones, and Pittsburgh won a strong goaltending duel with the Islanders, 1-0. It was just Fleury's second shutout of the season. Craig Adams had the lone goal midway through the third period. Kevin Poulin had a nice effort with 30 saves in defeat.
--Dwayne Roloson made 26 saves and Teddy Purcell's goal and assist led Tampa Bay over Toronto, 2-0.

--Ottawa shouldn't make any changes. The Senators really should just tank as much as they can and see if they can get the top pick. The scary thing is they might not have to try to tank, it might just come naturally.

--The Ducks are playing pretty nicely, though a lot of it is Hiller's doing, but they might become more dangerous when they actually get Ryan Getzlaf back.

--I think Florida and Buffalo look at the Western Conference playoff picture and decided they should make things at least a little interesting in the East. Also, that they're glad they're not in the West.

--Fleury is now fifth in the league in GAA and S%. That's remarkable considering how horrid a start he had. He once ranked 33rd or 35th, something like that, in save percentage, and his GAA was over 3.30. Two of the last three months he had a GAA under 2.00 (and the other month it was 2.01) and in each month since October, his save percentage has been over .930.

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