Friday, March 20, 2009

Thursday March 19

It was a fairly busy night around the NHL as 16 teams battled in 8 games around the league. As we rapidly speed toward the Stanley Cup Playoffs each game, each point and each goal can be the difference between playoff position and early tee times. About 15 of the 30 teams around the league are still not in confident playoff position meaning the scramble for points is intense. Former Islander accomplishments have also ramped up recently. FI involvement has risen considerably and Thursday was no different with FIs making differences in 7 of those outings. Here is a quick summary:

Los Angeles center Derek Armstrong assisted on the game tying goal with only 96 seconds remaining in regulation as the Kings pulled off a late comeback from a 2-0 deficit to defeat the stunned host Boston Bruins 3-2 in OT. Army snapped a 6 game point-less streak and now has 7 points (4 goals, 3 assists) on 46 games.

Washington center Viktor Kozlov recorded 3 assists, all even strength, including the primary on the game winner as the Capitals crushed the host Tampa Bay Lightning 5-2. The real story was Alex Ovechkin's 50th goal and his "lava stick" celebration but Kozzer's effort should not go unmentioned. Kozzer has 4 points (1 goal, 2 assists) over the last 2 games and now has 12 goals and 25 assists for 37 points on 58 games. The 3 point night was the 3rd of the season for Kozlov. For the 3rd straight season and 7th time on his career he has recorded 25+ helpers. As well, for the 3rd consecutive year and 8th time Koz has reached the 35+ point mark.

Montreal defenseman Roman Hamrlik scored on his team's 4th and final goal as the Canadiens were bested by the host Ottawa Senators 5-4. Hamr snapped a 4 game point-less streak and now has 4 goals and 24 assists for 28 points on 70 games.

Florida winger Richard Zednik scored the game winning goal a little over 6 minutes into the 2nd Period as the Panthers dispensed with the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs 3-1. Zed snapped a 4 game point-less streak and a 6 goal-less stretch with the tally and now has 15 goals and 15 assists for 30 points on 60 games. For the 2nd straight season and 9th time on his career Zednik has recorded 15 or more goals. It was also the 7th time Zed has reached 30 or more points on a season. Zednik has an impressive 4 game winners this season lifting his career total to 37. He is only 2 goals shy of career #200 and could foreseeable accomplish the feat before the end of the season.

Edmonton winger Robert Nilsson had a nice night recording 3 even strength assists as the Oilers crushed the impotent host Colorado Avalanche 8-1. With his first 3 point night of the season Nily now has 26 points (9 goals, 17 assists) on 56 games. For the 2nd straight season Nilsson has reached the 25+ point mark. The 3 point night was a first for Nilsson since April 8, 2006 in his rookie season with the Isles when he notched a goal and 2 helpers - a span of 135 games without such an offensively powered effort.

Vancouver goaltender Roberto Luongo stopped all 30 shots he faced for his first shutout since November 8 as the Canucks blanked the visiting St. Louis Blues 3-0. Luongo, who has 5 shutouts in the first 14 games on the season, snapped a 38 game goose egg drought. He is now 27-9-6 on the season with a formidable .918 save percentage, a tidy 2.37 goals against average and 6 shutouts. Over the last 19 games Lu has been an unbelievable 16-2-1 yet despite winning streaks of 8, 4 and 4 games this was the first blanking Luongo has managed.

Recently acquired center Petteri Nokelainen netted Anaheim's 2nd goal as the Ducks pulled off a 3-2 SO win over the host Phoenix Coyotes. Nokey now has 2 goals in his first 6 games with Anaheim and has 5 points (2 goals, 3 assists) on 39 games this season. The goal was the 10th of Nokelainen's young career and came in his 111th career game.

Check in soon with FIW for more updates and highlights.

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