Friday, January 16, 2009

Thursday January 15

There were 20 teams scrambling for points in 10 games around the NHL on Thursday night. Former Islanders tipped in their help in 6 of those contests. Here is a look:

It was a record night for Toronto winger Jason Blake who tallied a hat trick and added 2 assists for his first 5 point night. The Maple Leafs survived a collapse from 4-0 to eke out a 6-4 victory over the host Carolina Hurricanes. Blake had a powerplay helper on the opening goal, netted the Leafs 2nd and 4th goals, had another powerplay assist on the winning goal and capped teh scoring with the empty netter with 11 seconds remaining. All-in-all it was the most impressive outing of Blake's career and marked his first hat trick since February 27, 2007 while still with the Isles which also happened to be his last 4 point night, his previous best. The hat trick was the 6th of Blakey's career. He now has 13 goals and 16 assists for 29 points on 40 games and is only 2 goals behind his shockingly low output of 15 from last season.

Edmonton defenseman Denis Grebeshkov assist on his team's lone goal as the Oilers were smacked down by the host Minnesota Wild 5-1. Greb has 2 assists over the last 2 games and 3 points (1 goal, 2 assists) on the last 4. He has set a new single season high in assists with 16 and added to his 3 goals means he has a new single season high in points with 19, all in 40 games.

Colorado winger Ryan Smyth kept up his current point scoring streak recording the primary assist on the Avalanche's 2nd goal as they fell to the host St. Louis Blues 5-2. Smyth has 3 goals and 4 assists for 7 points over the last 5 games. Add that to the 2 goals and 5 assists he recorded in late December and Smyth is flying with 14 points (5 goals, 9 assists) in only his last 11 games. On the season Smyth has 15 goals and 18 assists for 33 points on 44 contests.

Mark Parrish was stuffed on his attempt in the 6th and final round of the SO as the Dallas Stars were edged by the visiting Buffalo Sabres 5-4. The Sabres scored 3 goals in the 3rd period to the Stars' one to overcome a 3-1 deficit after 40 minutes. The Sabres' Tim Connolly also was stopped on his attempt in the 3rd round. A successfully shot by TimCo would have won the game for the Sabres but alas the matchup extended 3 more frames before Jason Pominville pounced on Parrish' miss to notch the winner.

Roberto Luongo is back baby! And he lost. The Vancouver goaltender played in his first game since November 22, 2008 after straining his groin. He played only 5 minutes of that game before missing the next month and a half in recovery. Luongo did not get of the gate the way he expected stopping only 28 of 32 shots as the Canucks fell to the visiting Phoenix Coyotes 4-1. Luongo is now 11-6-2 on the season with a .925 save percentage and a 2.27 goals against average.

Calgary d-man Adrian Aucoin had an assist on the Flames' 1st goal as they edged the host San Jose Sharks 3-2. The regulation loss was the Sharks' first at home this season. Aucoin has 3 assists over the last 3 games and has racked up 6 goals and 11 assists for 17 points on 43 games. Despite grumblings from Flames' fans about ditching Aucoin, he is currently 2nd on the team in defensive points and actually has 2 more goals than leader Dion Phaneuf. He averages about 25 minutes a night, too! An he is 35!

Check back soon for more updates and highlights.

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