As we rapidly approach the All-Star Break teams are battling for important points in the standings. Once that break comes we will have the clearest picture yet of who are the true contenders in each conference. Former Islanders are making valid contributions where they can and Friday was no exception. Five games were up for grabs and FIs made impacts in 2 of those tilts. Here is a quick look:
New York Rangers' backup goaltender Stephen Valiquette has had 2 starts in 2009 yet has not recorded a win. Yet all was not lost as Vali stopped 32 of 33 shots (4 in OT) and 2 of 3 in SO as the host Buffalo Sabres edged the Blueshirts 2-1. Valiquette put up a noble effort but was outdueled by Buffalo starter Ryan Miller who stopped an impressive 43 of 44 and was unbeatable in the SO frame. Vali is now 4-3-1 on the season with a healthy .928 save percentage and a slim and trim 2.19 goals against average. The OT loss was his first since March 21, 2008 - his last start of the 2007-08 campaign.
Edmonton defenseman Denis Grebeshkov scored the lone goal for his team, a powerplay netter, as the Oilers fell to the visiting San Jose Sharks 4-1. The goal was Greb's 2nd in the last 5 games and he now has 3 goals and 14 assists for 17 points on 37 games. He has an impressive 11 points (2 goals, 9 assists) on the man advantage. Grebeshkov is currently 1 point behind his career high 18 from last season and looks to overtake that high mark in the next couple of games. The 3 goals equals his season high from last year.
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