Archive for February 2011

The Saturday Recap - Feburary 26th

Sorry for the delay (and the missed weeks). Without further ado...

Colorado (4) vs Edmonton (2)
Two goals and an assist by Av's Matt Cooke paced Colorado to a 4-2 win over the Oilers at Rexall Center in Edmonton. Colorado led 3-1 after 40 minutes. Edmonton would cut the lead to one on a Ray Whitney powerplay goal at the 5:23 mark of the third. Matt Cooke's second of the game restored the Av's two goal lead and helped move Colorado within two points of San Jose for 1st in the Western Conference. Francois Beauchemin and Patrick Sharp both added (1-1-2) and Michael Cammalleri had two helpers for the Avs, while Ilya Bryzgalov stopped 34 shots for his 25th win. Yannik Riendeau scored Edmonton's other marker while defenseman Jordan Leopold assisted on both goals.

Nashville (4) vs Columbus (7)
The Predators hit a sour note as they were thoroughly beat by Columbus. A three goal first period powered the Blue Jackets to the win, led by Dean McAmmond's hat-trick and Michael Handzus' one goal and three assists the game was never in question for Columbus. Marcel Goc tossed in three helpers and Johan Hedberg made 17 saves for the win. Jiri Hudler had a pair, Glen Metropolit and Zach Bogosian had the other goals for Nashville.

Calgary (4) vs San Jose (1)
San Jose's losing streak has reached a season high four games with this most recent loss to the Flames. Calgary scored all four of their goals on the powerplay, the Sharks seemed to be a step behind Calgary all night as most of their penalties (14) were for hooking and holding. Four different players scored for the Flames, while Joe Corvo and Steven Stamkos had two asists each. Calgary's Jonas Hiller made 21 saves for the win, his 13th. Zach Parise scored on the Sharks first shot on net at the 0:21 mark of the first, Jamie McBain destroyed Trevor Daley, leaving him leaking all over the ice, in a fight just five seconds later during a line brawl which seemed to light a fire under the Flames as they didn't look back. McBain was ejected for intent to injure.

St. Louis (5) vs Dallas (2)
Steve Mason stopped 27 Star's shots as he backstopped the Blues to a 5-2 win over the talented Stars. Jarred Smithson had two goals and an assist, while Thomas Vanek had three assists to power the Blues. David Krejci (1-1-2) and Alex Ovechkin (0-2-2) were the offense for Dallas. Roberto Luongo took over for John Grahame in Star's net after the latter yielded four goals on 20 shots. Despite the loss the Stars played in front of a sold out house of 21,500 and continue to be one of the better draws in the league, averaging almost 21,000 fans. With the loss Dass failed to make up any ground on Colorado for second in the West.

Pittsburgh (3) vs Philly (7)
The Pens travelled down the turnpike to Philly and had hoped to build on a two game win streak including a 5-1 win the last time these two teams met just four nights ago. The Flyers returned the favor as they would score four in the second period with Philly up just 2-1 and add two more in the third to ground the flightless birds. Jeff Carter led the charge with a hat-trick including his team leading 24th on the powerplay early in the third period to put the game out of reach before the Pens added two late goals to make the score a bit more respectful. Jason Pominville also scored a pair for the Flyers who are 9-1 in their last ten games at Wells Fargo Center, with the win Philly stretched their lead ver the Pens by five points. For the Pens, Alex Semin had a goal and an assist while Andrei Markov had two helpers.

Anaheim (2) vs Phoenix (1)
Vesa Toskala stopped 27 shots for Phoenix but the offense in front of him dried up as the desert dogs dropped the tenth game of their last twelve. Anaheim got goals from Rick Nash and Mike Ribeiro,while Hugh Jeesiman tallied for the Coyotes. With the win Anaheim moved within one point of Edmonton for the eighth and final playoff spot in the West. Only just over 7,000 fans came out of the heat in Glendale to watch the Coyotes drop their 25th game.

Atlanta (3) vs NJ (4) OT
Daniel Sedin scored a hat-trick, his third on the powerplay in the third to send the game into OT, but the Devil's Brook Laich spoiled the effort as he scored his 17th of the season 1:10 into the extra frame and sent the Devil faithful home happy. Henrik Sedin assisted on two of his brothers goals and Martin Brodeur stopped 17 shots in suffering his 8th loss this season. Devil's Dwayne Roloson stopped 19 and won for his 19th time this season. Laich added an assist for a two point night, Tomas Kaberle and Vincent Lecavalier both registered a pair of assists for the winners.

LA (2) vs Vancouver (4)
Vancouver would score twice in the first and would be up 3-0 by the 3:38 mark of the second before LA showed any push back. LA would score the next two goals to come within one of the Canucks but Alexei Ponikarovsky would score his second of the night into an empty net with just twenty seconds remaining to put game away. Vancouver won for the second night in a row and kept within 5 points of 5th place Calgary. Steve Ott led the Canucks with (1-2-3) while Marc-Andre Bergeron had (1-1-2). Miikka Kiprusoff won his 20th of the season while stopping 25 shots. Paul Stastny led LA (1-1-2), Ryan Miller lost his 18th of the season in net for LA.

Reporting for WCHL Network...
Peter Pucker

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The Saturday Recap - February 5th

San Jose (2) @ Florida (6)
The most dominate team in the WCHL was thoroughly dominated in Sunrise Fla., as the Sharks came into the game having only lost twice in 25 games this season before tonight. Florida scored early (:34 second into the first) and often, scoring six times on 35 shots. Cam Ward was pulled for the first time this season after surrendering four goals on nineteen shots. Chris Campoli scored two powerplay goals in the Panther's three goal burst in ther first. Others having a great night for Florida were, Phil Kessel and Adrej Meszaros (1-2-3), Pekke Rinne stopped 27 of 29 shots for the Cats. The lone shinning star for the Sharks was Dany Heatley (0-2-2).

Anaheim (2) @ Detroit (4)
The Ducks were motored down by Detroit as the 'Wings scored four times with the extra skater- three of those in the first period. Lubomir "Lubey" Visnovsky tallied twice giving him eight on the season for Detroit, Nik Antropov had three assists giving him the team scoring lead with 29 points. Ryan Malone and rookie Logan Couture scored for Anaheim, while Tuukka Rask stopped 21 shots in the loss. Evgeni Nabokov moved his record to 12-8-2 on the season with the win.

Phoenix (5) @ Minnesota (4)
The Coyotes had a 4-0 lead after just 30 minutes and seemed content to sit back. Although the third period started well for them as they stretched their lead to 5-1, Minnesota for their part did not fold up as they scored three times to close the period however that is as close they would come as they fell just short of the improbable come back. Petteri Nokelainen (2-1-3) was first star for Phoenix, three other players had (1-1-2) for the 'Yotes. Gilbert Brule had a pair of goals (and a fight) while Paul Kariya had a trio of assists for the Wild.

Carolina (6) @ New Jersey (2)
The season seems to be getting away from the Devils as they suffered their fifth lost in six games in a demoralizing 6-2 beat down at the hands of the 13th placed Hurricanes. It was 4-0 'Canes by the 5:48 mark of the second period, powered by two extra man markers. Cristobal Huet stopped 27 shots for the win and Scott Gomez (2-2-4) was amazing, Brendan Witt (0-4-4), and Mike Fisher (2-1-3) also were stand-outs. Brooks Laich (1-1-2) led the Devils, while Dwayne Roloson was pulled after giving up four goals on fifteen shots for New Jersey. The lone sore spot for Carolina was the injury suffered by Justin Williams, team reps say Williams aggravated an old injury to his left knee and will be out for two days for precautionary measures.

Ottawa (3) @ Pittsburgh (5)
Bobby Ryan led the Penguins with his two goal second period outburst to help Pittsburgh past the Sens. The game was up for grabs in the third at 3-2 Sens, but then the Pens' struck for three goals in three minutes late in the third including two straight on the powerplay to put the game away. Marc-Andre Fleury won for the 15th time this season stopping 15 shots while defensemen Dan Boyle and recently acquired Ron Hainsey had a goal and an assist for Pittsburgh. Ales Kotalik (2 goals) and Brad Lukowich (2 assists) were the offense for Ottawa. Senator's Antti Miettinen left the game in the second period with a bruised arm after being hit into the boards by Nathan Horton but is won't miss any time.

St.Louis (2) @ Vancouver (3) S/O
Jerred Smithson's fourth goal of the season with just over four minutes remaining in regulation tied the game for the Blues and sent the game into overtime. Daniel Alfredsson was the only skater to score in the shoot out sending the Canuck faithful out on the street in a jovial mood. Defenseman Milan Jurcina had a pair of assists for Vancouver while Miikka Kiprusoff stopped 22 shots for the win. All wasn't positive for Vancouver as Shawn Thornton was lost to the team for atleast a week with what the team is calling a lower body injury. Steve Mason played well in the loss, stopping 30 shots.

Calgary (3) @ Philly (4) OT
Ryan Getzlaf scored at the 2:43 mark of OT on the Flyers second shot of extra time for their fourth straight win. The Flyers had a 3-1 lead at the 1:26 mark of the third and seem to be satisfied with that, Calgary on the other hand had other ideas as they scored twice in the period, the tying goal coming on the powerplay while Getzlaf was in the box for slashing. Getzlaf paid back his team for kiling the penalty off when his shot in OT found the back of the net. Jeff Carter seems to be fully recovered from an injury earlier this season as he fired (1-2-3), gritty Scott Hartnell scored a pair while young Kyle Cumisky had a pair of helpers for the Flyers. Chris Mason was outstanding as he stopped 45 shots in the win as the Flyers were out-shot 48-21 in the game. Jonas Hiller stopped three of four shots he faced in relief of Flames starter Sergei "Bob" Bobrovsky who allowed three goals on 17 shots.

Washington (3) @ Columbus (4) S/O
The Capitals were comfortably ahead 3-0 after two periods while being out-shot 21-10. The Blue Jackets made their shots count in the third as they scored three on ten shots to tie the game at three. No further goals were scored in the period so it was off to extra time but they could not settle it there and it was off to the exciting art of the shoot-out. Jason Spezza scored the only goal in the shoot-out to complete the come back for the Blue Jackets. Jamie Langenbrunner had a goal and an assist for Columbus while Johan Hedberg had 14 saves in the win. T.J Oshie and Tim Connolly both had a pair of assists and Jose Theodore made 29 saves in regulation and overtime. Tyler Kennedy left the game for Columbus halfway through the first and didn't return, he is listed as day-to-day with what is believed to be a right knee injury.

Reporting for The WCHL Network........
Peter Pucker

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Season 12 Power Rankings - 3rd Edition

WCHL players seem to be having trouble with empty nets...

The San Jose Sharks are in the process of one of the most amazing stretches to start a season in WCHL history. After 24 games, the Sharks sport a 22-1-1 record with their only blemishes coming to the middling Oilers and a shootout loss to Nashville. Zach Parise and his linemate Dany Heatley are continuing their hot starts and sit in 5th and 7th respectively in league scoring. Scoring 6 or more goals seven times so far, the Sharks are nearly doubling their opponent's in every game. A recent poll of a few WCHL GM's suggests that there is some jealousy league-wide about the Sharks' season so far, as most GMs are suggesting this team will be unable to win more than 34 out of their final 58 games, which would be needed to top 120 points. With the Sharks currently on pace for 153 points, it's pretty safe to say you can pencil the Sharks into the post-season perhaps earlier than any other team in WCHL history.

At the other end, the Ottawa Senators have announced they'll be wearing bright orange jerseys from now on to better reflect their new defensive "pylon" system. Doug Weight might be the worst 1st line centre in the league with only 6 points, and one can't help but feel bad for Antti Miettinen who seems to be the only player who actually shows up to each game. With only two wins so far this season, it's fairly safe to argue that the Sens are gunning for that top pick in the Tavares/Hedman/Duchene lottery.

Elsewhere in the league, Marian Gaborik of the Calgary Flames has created some space between himself and Dallas' Alex Ovechkin for the scoring lead. Gaborik's 140 point pace will be tough to maintain, especially for a player that is notoriously made of glass, but there's no doubt he's making a case for himself as a potential WCHL MVP.

Finally, in what has perhaps become the weirdest phenomenon in the league, empty net goals have become virtually non-existent. Only twice in 371 games has there been an ENG. On first glance, one would assume that goalies aren't being pulled in the last minute, but that's actually not the case. The best guess seems to be that the goalies may be tying fishing line across the posts to prevent goals while no one else is looking...

Here's this week's Power Rankings:

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