Sunday, March 18, 2007

Saturday March 17

Saturday was busy around the NHL. 22 teams were in heated contention in 11 games. Former Islanders were huge players in many of those games accounting for 14 points on 7 goals and 7 assists. 6 of those points alone came off the sticks of Florida Panthers as Olli Jokinen had a huge 5 point night and Juraj Kolnik scored a goal as Florida downed none other than the Islanders themselves. Here is a quick look at the Saturday happenings:
  • Bryan McCabe followed up his performance on Friday night with another assist in Toronto's 3-2 SO loss on the road to Montreal. The assist on the Leafs first goal of the night was point number 50 on the year for McCabe. He now has three straight 50+ point seasons.
  • Brad Isbister assisted on the Rangers' final goal of the night in their 7-0 St. Patty's blowout of the Boston Bruins at Madison Square Garden. In 12 games Isbister has posted 3 points for the Rangers including 2 assists in his last 3 games.
  • As mentioned earlier the Panthers beat the Islanders on Saturday with an impressively offensive 8-5 home win. Essentially a 6-5 game before the empty netters, Jokinen was given the chance to pad his already point heavy night with a couple of extra assists with the open goal. He finished the game with 2 goals and 3 assists for 5 points, including the game winner. His second best season keeps getting better as Jokinen has 74 points in 72 games including 7 points in his last 4 games overall. As well, Jokinen passed 40 assists for the second straight season. Adding a little more offense was the 10th of the season from Juraj Kolnik. Kolnik now has 22 points on the year.
  • Edmonton cannot win without Smyth and Saturday was no exception. They did get a point but lost in OT to St. Louis 3-2 at home. The game winner came from Eric Brewer, his 5th of the season, only 2:04 into the OT frame. Brewer has 5 points in his last 6 games and has officially made 2006-07 his second best season with 26 points. With his recently flurry this could become his best year as he is only 3 points behind his 2002-03 numbers.
  • Vancouver and a resurging Minnesota are battling it out for the top spot in the Northeast division. On Saturday night Vancouver held onto their slim lead with a 4-1 crushing of Detroit at home. Four, count them, four FIs made major impacts in this game. Mathieu Schneider posted an assist on Detroit's game opening goal. The assist ended a four game drought and moved him within 1 point of his 6th career 50+ point season. Bryan Smolinski netted his 16th of the year and first goal of the game for Vancouver. He also ended a four game drought. Only his second goal with Vancouver, he now has 5 points in 10 games since the trade. Trevor Linden sealed the game with an empty netter, his 11th goal of the year. He has scored in back-to-back games for the first time since December 16-19. Roberto Luongo is probably the best tender in the game. Saturday he again proved why stopping 32 of 33 shots (.970 save percentage) and pushed his single season win number higher. He is now 41-20-5 on the year and has to be the foremost contender for the Vezina Trophy. FIW stands behind this next controversial comment: NO goalie means more to their team than Roberto Luongo (not even Martin Brodeur).
  • It is probably easy to overlook the little trades between the lowly teams of the NHL but Los Angeles' addition of Jamie Heward seems to be paying off so far. Heward netted his 6th of the season and added an assist in the Kings' 5-3 home win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Heward now has 5 points (2 goals, 3 assists) in 9 games since joining LA. With the goal Heward has established his third 20+ point season.

Six more games will be played on Sunday. When you're not watching the NCAA tourney take some time and check on the scores around the NHL. Until next time.

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