It was an unusually slow Saturday as only 16 teams faced off in a scant 8 games around the NHL. Former Islander participation was especially low for the typically busiest weekend game day as FIs only popped in support in 4 of those contests. Here is a quick recap:
San Jose defenseman Brad Lukowich snapped a frostily cold 21 game point-less streak with a helper on the Sharks' 2nd goal as they dumped the visiting Dallas Stars 5-2. Luko now has 7 assists on 48 games this season after recording his first helping hand point since December 13. Sadly, Lukowich had spent most of January and February on the Injured Reserve list.
Toronto winger Jason Blake netted his team's 5th a final goal, a powerplay tally, as the Maple Leafs downed the fading Montreal Canadiens from the Bell Centre 5-2. With 6 points (3 goals, 3 assists) over the last 6 games Blake now has 25 goals and 32 assists for 57 points on 69 games. The tally was a big one for Blake who now has 25 goals on a season for the first time since 2006-07, his last with the Isles when he notched a career high 40. It was only the 4th season that Blake has reach the 25+ goal mark as he narrows in on career point #400 (only 5 shy). The powerplay tally was the 5th of the season for Blake who has had 5+ extra man goals in 3 of his last 4 seasons.
Red hot winger Raffi Torres netted 2 goals, including the game winner, as the red hot Columbus Blue Jackets shut down the host Florida Panthers 3-1. Torres scored the tying goal with only 2:46 remaining in play and then sealed the win 1:07 later with only 93 seconds left in regulation. With 7 goals over the last 9 games Torres has lifted his numbers. He now has 10 goals and 6 assists for 16 points on 41 games. Torres has built on his single season high and now has 5 game winners on the year. With 10 goals he has reached the multi-digit tally mark for the 4th time in his last 5 seasons. Assisting on the winner was center Michael Peca who has 21 points (4 goals, 17 assists) on 62 games. Peca has had 4 helpers over the last 4 tilts.
Vancouver goaltender Roberto Luongo was roughed up with 3 goals on 23 shots in only 40 minutes of ice time as the Phoenix Coyotes thumped the visiting Canucks 5-1. The 'Yotes feasted on the 'Nucks even scoring a rare touch up penalty call empty net goal on Vancouver midway through the 2nd Period. The boff was officially recorded as a rare, middle of the game empty net goal. Luongo took the loss and is now 27-10-6 on the season with a .917 save percentage and a 2.40 goals against average. Lu was pulled for the first time since November 5 when he injured his groin 5 minutes into play. For the 9th straight season Luongo has secured 10 or more losses.
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