Wednesday, January 19, 2011

KHUDOBIN; Avs get big win

Niklas who? Jose who?
Who needs big-name goalies when you have a big name like KHUDOBIN?!

Anton Khudobin came within 3:46 of his second straight shutout, settling for 31 saves, and Brent Burns recorded a Gordie Howe hat trick to lead Minnesota past Edmonton, 4-1. Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Matt Cullen had a goal and assist and Eric Nystrom recorded two helpers.

Minnesota's penalty killing fought off six straight disadvantages to maintain a 2-0 lead attained in the game's first 3:25.

J-P stands for Hat Trick
J.P. Dumont scored a hat trick and Patric Hornqvist netted a pair of goals to lead Nashville over Phoenix, 5-2. Matt Halischuk and Chris Mueller, guys I've never heard of, each had two assists. Pekka Rinne made 32 saves.

Fleury, Penguins take watered-down rematch
I think it's in my contract, as it is in every writer or blogger's, to inform everyone that Detroit and Pittsburgh are big rivals after meeting in consecutive Stanley Cup finals. And although quite a lot of star power was missing from Tuesday's meeting, the game was fairly exciting.

The chances of me saying that if the Penguins lost would've been about one percent.

Anyway, Marc-Andre Fleury was terrific, making 36 saves including quite a few dazzlers, and Pittsburgh took advantage of a series of Detroit mistakes to earn a 4-1 victory. Jordan Staal had a tap-in goal after Tyler Kennedy stole the puck from goalie Joey MacDonald, who played the puck on what would've been an icing call but had trouble handling it.

Chris Conner scored on a penalty shot and Chris Kunitz scored 30 seconds after Johan Franzen cut Pittsburgh's 2-0 lead in half. Kennedy later set up a Matt Cooke empty net goal.

MacDonald was pretty good in his own right. He made 25 saves and robbed several Penguins of what looked like sure goals.

Thomas fails to record shutout, wins anyway
Any time Tim Thomas does not get a shutout, a kitten dies. And America suffers.

Even when Thomas makes 43 saves to lead Boston to a 3-2 win over Carolina like he did. Milan Lucic scored a power play goal with 8:11 to play to break a 2-2 tie. Mark Recchi had two assists for the Bruins.

Kings reeling, lose again
The invitation to the ball for the darling Kings must have gotten lost in the mail.

Los Angeles dropped its ninth game in the last 11, all in regulation, 2-1 to St. Louis, when Erik Johnson scored with 6:47 left in the third period to break a 1-1 tie. Jaroslav Halak made 26 saves. The Kings went on a 9-2-1 run in December but now sit 12th in the West. Remember when they once led the conference? Me neither.

Working late
--Andrej Meszaros scored 1:07 into overtime and Philadelphia downed Washington, 3-2, despite allowing two goals in 40 seconds in the third period to force overtime. Jeff Carter had a goal and assist and Sergei Bobrovsky made 23 saves.
--Tyler Ennis had a power play goal and helped set up Jason Pominville's man-advantage tally in overtime to lead Buffalo over Montreal, 2-1. Ryan Miller made 29 saves. Carey Price was strong in defeat with 37 stops.
--Jonas Hiller was spectacular in making 39 saves and Bobby Ryan scored the only shootout goal in Anaheim's 2-1 win over Ottawa.
--Steven Stamkos scored twice and Dwayne Roloson stopped 28 shots to backstop Tampa Bay to a 3-2 shootout win over Columbus. Ryan Malone in the fourth round was the only shooter to score in the tiebreaker.
--Mere moments after a big save by Craig Anderson, David Jones scored on the power play for his second goal of the game to give Colorado a 4-3 overtime win over Vancouver. Milan Hejduk had a goal and two assists, as did John-Michael Liles, and Anderson finished with 40 saves. Ryan Kesler and Alexander Edler led the Canucks with a goal and assist each.

--Detroit was missing half its team but I still thought that was an impressive Penguins win. The Wings still have quite a few highly talented individuals. The first six minutes of the third period looked like Game 7 in 2009: Detroit just dominating possession. After the first TV timeout, Pittsburgh gained some equilibrium.

--I thought Conner converting his penalty shot was the key moment. Pittsburgh already led 1-0 and looked to have another two or three goals but for big MacDonald saves. If the goalie made another on Conner, I think momentum would've shifted to Detroit big time. Of course, Kunitz's quick response to Franzen's goal was also pretty important.

--Maybe we were all wrong about the Kings and their impending future dynasty. Or, um, maybe it'll just take a little longer than we thought. The fact that all those losses in their current skid are in regulation is a real killer. If even, say, three of those losses came in OT/SO, LA would be sitting in ninth. Still bad, but better.

--I'm going to steal from Pierre LeBrun: Since winning the Stanley Cup the all-important no wait it's actually only two points Winter Classic, Washington is 2-2-3.

--The Canucks sure have come back down to earth, eh?

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