The NHL was busy on Thursday night with 11 games up for grabs and lots of early November points in the standings on the table. Aside from the seemingly nightly demise of the Islanders teams are playing hard early. Former Islanders have seen a surge in play and are contributing in copious amounts now. FIs were on the boxscore in 8 of those games. Let us take a look:
The Penguins nearly blew a 5-0 lead to the Edmonton Oilers barely holding on for a 5-4 win in Pittsburgh. Netting 2 of the first 3 Pitt goals was winger Miroslav Satan who is now pacing the team with 8 tallies. Miro opened the scoring at the 9:14 mark of the 1st and then popped in his second at the 7:05 mark of the 2nd to stake the Pens to a 3-0 lead. Satan received 2nd star of the game honor and now has 8 goals and 4 assists for 12 points on 13 games. He is already halfway to his goal total from last season (16). It took Satan 29 games last season to record 8 goals a feat he has accomplished this year in less than half the time. Receiving the secondary assist on Satan's first goal was winger Ruslan Fedotenko. Fedo struggled early in the season but has begun to turn it on as of late. Tank has 2 goals and 2 assists for 4 points on 12 games. He has points in his last 3 games (1 goal, 2 assists) and has recorded all of his season's points in the last 5 competitions.
Only 3 games back from an injury that sidelined him for a couple of weeks and Washington defenseman Tom Poti is contributing offensively. Poti recorded the secondary assist on the Capitals' 2nd goal as the hosts edged the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2. Poti snapped a 4 game point-less run and now has 3 points on 7 games this season. He has not scored a goal in his last 15 games dating back to April 3.
Zdeno Chara finally scored a goal albeit an insurance one as the Bruins handily dispensed of the the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs 5-2. The Boston captain had gone 14 games without a goal dating back to Game 5 of last season's opening round playoff series against the Montreal Canadiens. Oddly enough Chara had gone 17 games to start last season before scoring his first goal and historically has slow Octobers. Chara now has 4 points (1 goal, 3 assists) on 13 games this year but last night was special since it was career game #700 for the tallest player ever (6' 9") to make it to the NHL.
Arron Asham finally scored a goal albeit the lone Philadelphia tally as the Flyers fell to the host Ottawa Senators 4-1. The netter was also the first point for Asham as a Flyer and snapped a 13 game point-less streak dating back to Game 3 of the New Jersey Devils opening round playoff series against the New York Rangers. Asham had an assist in the game on April 13. Asham also snapped a considerably larger 38 game goal-less run dating back to February 16 when scored 2 goals for the Devils. Asham has 1 goal and point on 12 games this season.
The sun is shining brightly for Todd Bertuzzi in Calgary as he has seemed to be reinvigorated playing with the likes of Jarome Iginla and Dion Phaneuf. Bert was the third star of the game after his 3 assist effort as the Flames pulled off a wild 7-6 regulation win over the visiting Nashville Predators. Calgary surrendered 3 late goals but had already mounted a 7-3 lead before the Preds' assault. Bert had 2 powerplay helpers and an ever strength one to record the 3 point night. He now has 7 goals and 5 assists for 12 points on 14 games. The 3 point effort was his first since January 18 while still playing for the Anaheim Ducks. Additionally, this was the first time Bertuzzi has had 3 helpers in a game since October 6, 2005, his first of only 7 games with the Florida Panthers.
Vancouver goaltender Roberto Luongo was unbeatable yet again stopping all 28 shots he faced to record his 2nd straight shutout. Luongo stopped all 24 shots only 2 nights early to record goose egg number 3 and now has 4 blankings on the year to pace the league. Luongo improved to 8-5-0 on the season and has won 4 of his last 5 starts. He has raised his save percentage to .914 and dropped his goals against average to 2.52. The Canucks edged the visiting Phoenix Coyotes 1-0. Luongo has not surrendered a goal in the last 141 minutes of play. The last time Luongo had consecutive shutouts was November 25-29 of last season when he recorded 3 straight blankings.
As if out of nowhere San Jose d-man Brad Lukowich is suddenly an offensive contributor. Luko recorded an assist for the 3rd straight game as the Sharks pulled off a 5-4 SO victory over a St. Louis Blues squad that never trailed in regulation. Lukowich set up the game tying goal with only 1:39 remaining in regulation on a beautiful give-and go play to winger Ryan Clowe. Luko now has 3 assists on 13 games this season. The last time Lukowich had points in 3 consecutive games was November 26-December 4, 2005 while still a member of the Isles.
Florida winger Richard Zednik had an assist on the too-little-too-late shorthanded goal as the Panthers were edged by the host Los Angeles Kings 3-2. Zed snapped a 4 game point-less run and now has 1 goal and 3 assists for 4 points on 12 games. The shorthanded assist was only the 2nd of Zednik's career and his first since November 18, 2002 while still playing for the Montreal Canadiens - a span of 330 games between shortie helpers. Zed has never scored a shorthanded goal.
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