Saturday, February 5, 2011

Caps cool off Roloson; Pens lose Malkin again

No threepeat for Roloson against Washington
All the hockey writers were abuzz with how hot Tampa Bay goalie Dwayne Roloson has been lately. OK, I suppose it was deserved. He'd allowed just five goals in five games - which includes two straight shutouts - in the last two weeks.

Elephant in the room: Only one of those wins came against a decent team. Roloson beat Columbus, a fading Atlanta team twice and Toronto. The stunner was blanking Philadelphia. The pundits also kind of ignored the nine goals in 73 minutes Roloson had allowed in the two starts prior to that, so I'm not entirely sure it was fair to say Tampa has its goaltending figured out.

Anyway, with all this momentum on his side, surely Roloson would continue against Washington, a team he shut out twice already. Right?


Washington's offense came alive for its highest goal output since before Christmas, torching Roloson for four goals in a crucial 5-2 victory over the Lightning. Nicklas Backstrom scored twice and set up two others and Alex Ovechkin also recorded four points, including his 20th goal. Semyon Varlamov made 23 saves.

Teddy Purcell had a goal and assist for Tampa Bay.

The win puts the Capitals just three points back of the Lightning now in the Southeast Division. A regulation loss would've set Washington back seven.

Penguins lose Malkin, not game
I think it's fair to say it: Pittsburgh doesn't need Evgeni Malkin.

(Note: That's not actually true.)

Returning from a knee injury and sinus infection, Malkin was on the ice for both Buffalo goals in the first period. Behemoth Tyler Myers fell on Malkin early in the second period, knocking the center out of the game, and Pittsburgh quickly scored three times in the next seven minutes in a 3-2 victory.

Dustin Jeffrey - who is a couple more goals away from earning "the great" status - Tyler Kennedy and Matt Cooke scored in a span of 3:14. Marc-Andre Fleury made 27 saves.

Cooke's goal actually shouldn't have happened as he was offside, unnoticed, and then scored a handful of seconds later. He wouldn't be the only player to benefit from that kind of non-call.

Paul Gaustad had a goal and assist for the Sabres.

Coincidence or not?
Pretty sure I've seen rumblings, rumors, "talk" - call it what you will - of Columbus perhaps entertaining trade talk concerning goalie Steve Mason.

Mason might have heard them and decided to do something about it. Playing a rare good game, Mason stopped all 34 shots he saw to lead Columbus over Detroit, 3-0, for his second shutout this season. Antoine Vermette and Andrew Murray both had a goal and assist.

The tide has turned
Chicago used to own Roberto Luongo. Not any more.

The last time Luongo faced the Blackhawks, he shut them out. This time he made 42 saves and Vancouver scored two third-period goals to edge Chicago, 4-3. Henrik Sedin had a goal and two assists and Daniel Sedin scored the game-winner. He also had an assist. Mikael Samuelsson matched the two-point outing.

Christian Ehrhoff scored late in the first period for the Canucks but like Cooke's, the goal shouldn't have counted as the puck exited the zone before Ehrhoff's one-timer got past Marty Turco.

Jonathan Toews had a goal and assist for Chicago.

Let's wrap this up
--Ty Conklin made 29 saves and five different Blues scored in a 5-3 St. Louis victory over Edmonton. Brad Boyes had a goal and assist for St. Louis.
--Florida's Mike Santorelli forced overtime with a late shorthanded goal and then teammate Rostislav Olesz won the game in the extra session, 4-3 over New Jersey. Tomas Vokoun made 28 saves for the Panthers, who have handed the Devils two of their three losses (both in OT) in New Jersey's last 11 games.

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