Sunday, February 6, 2011

'Canes leapfrog Thrashers; Goalies in charge

I skated today for the first time in a number of years. I'm so effing tired. It'll be reflected in the following recap.

Carolina skirts by Atlanta, takes over eighth
The Atlanta Thrashers forgot this NHL season extended into 2011.

Erik Cole's sneaky wrister caught Ondrej Pavelec leaning in overtime and Carolina knocked off Atlanta, 4-3, to move into the eighth place in the Eastern Conference. Both teams have 58 points but the Hurricanes have played fewer games and have more wins.

Jiri Tlusty had a goal and assist and Joni Pitkanen notched two assists for the Hurricanes. Cam Ward made 34 saves.

Atlanta, which lost its 10th game (out of 14) in the calendar year, forced overtime with 1:24 left in regulation on a Zach Bogosian goal. Bryan Little had two assists.

Buffalo adds to Atlanta's pressure
For the second straight night, Buffalo quickly jumped out to a 2-0 lead. This time, the Sabres didn't let it disappear.

Drew Stafford (two goals) and Thomas Vanek (one) each had three points as Buffalo routed Toronto, 6-2. The Sabres are five points back of Carolina and Atlanta. They have four games in hand on the Thrashers but just two on the Hurricanes. Ryan Miller made 23 saves.

Title passed on?
With New Jersey surging and the Islanders proving feisty again, has Ottawa taken the crown for worst in the East? I say yes.

Rob Schremp scored twice and Michael Grabner had a goal and assist as New York handed Ottawa its ninth straight loss, 5-3. Frans Nielsen also had a goal and assist. Kevin Poulin made 20 saves.

Clean sheets
Good lord there were a lot of these.

--Logan Couture's power play goal stood up as the winner in San Jose's 2-0 victory over Boston. Antti Niemi made 26 saves. Ryane Clowe had two assists.
--Montreal's Carey Price made 19 third-period saves and 35 total in blanking the Rangers, 2-0. Scott Gomez and Tomas Plekanec (empty net) scored.
--Corey Perry netted a hat trick and Anaheim didn't miss a beat without Jonas Hiller as backup Curtis McElhinney stopped all 25 Colorado shots in a 3-0 victory.
--Phoenix fired 41 shots on Niklas Backstrom and only one by Taylor Pyatt got through but it was enough as the Coyotes defeated Minnesota, 1-0. Ilya Bryzgalov had 25 saves.
--Remember when Johan Franzen scored five goals in one game? Well, Detroit has been blanked in the two games since then after Pekka Rinne made 35 saves in a 3-0 Nashville win. Sergei Kostitsyn scored twice and Ryan Suter had two assists.

Here's what else happened
--Brian Boucher made 30 saves and Philadelphia downed Dallas, 3-1. Darrell Powe's shorthanded goal was the winner.
--R.J. Umberger had two goals and four points to lead Columbus over Edmonton, 4-3. Steve Mason stopped 23 shots.
--Justin Williams had a goal, two assists and the shootout winner in round seven to lead Los Angeles over Calgary, 4-3. Jonathan Quick made 32 saves. Alex Tanguay had two goals and an assist for the Flames.

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