Thursday, January 18, 2007

Saturday Idea Makes Sense

Of course it would Steve. It only makes too much sense.

Didn't watch much puck action tonight. So I'll just tell you what I caught. I saw the Isles snap their losing streak thanks to third period goals by Mike Sillinger and Andy Hilbert in a 4-2 victory over the Siberia of the NHL, Philadelphia. The win was much needed as it was the Isles' final game before the All Star break and put them at 48 points, just two back of the eighth seeded Rangers.

Meanwhile in Beantown, Phil Kessel's second shootout winner of the season lifted the Bruins to an exciting 5-4 win over the Penguins. It was made possible by Marc Savard's tying goal with 6:22 remaining in regulation. However, the story was Pens' netminder Marc-Andre Fleury, who finished with 40 saves to get his defensively challenged team a point. He made several ridiculous stops in the final 2:00 just to force OT. It continued in OT when he robbed a couple of Bruins of sure goals. This was some splendid goaltending. Unfortunately, Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby couldn't pick him up in the shootout which was tied at one apiece entering Round 4. After Sergei Gonchar was turned away by Hannu Toivonen, Kessel went in and deked Fleury to the forehand tucking the puck in for the winner. It put the Bruins in a four-way tie with the Islanders, Pens and Leafs for ninth in the conference.

Kind of tells you all you need to know abot this wacky Eastern Conference race where the only givens at this point are division leaders Buffalo and New Jersey. I am not ready to include Atlanta because they are only five ahead of Hurricanes and could fall back making things more interesting in their quest to qualify for their first postseason.

I did catch the tail end of the Devils' 3-2 shootout loss at the hands of the seventh seeded Lightning, who pulled two points ahead of the Rangers with their sixth win in seven thanks to Brad Richards' heroics (2 goals and shootout winner). After Paul Martin notched his first with less than 10 minutes left in regulation on a power play, the Devils had a golden opportunity to win it late in OT but couldn't take advantage of a crucial man-advantage forcing the shootout. In it, Richards gave his team the lead by beating Martin Brodeur top shelf to the stick side. A perfect shot. After Martin St. Louis' circus backhand shot failed, New Jersey captain Patrik Elias tried his crazy move to the backhand and had Johan Holmqvist faked out but couldn't tuck it in to force another round. So the Devils settled for one point to increase their division lead to 11 points over the Blueshirts.

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