December 29, 2009
If you had heard there was an offensive explosion in a game involving Carolina and Washington, you'd immediately think the Capitals were the ones filling the net. Not so on Monday night as the Hurricanes were the ones cashing in on opportunities as they upended Washington 6-3. Staal led the way with two goals and three assists as Carolina ended a three-game losing streak. Staal and teammate Jussi Jokinen(notes) (goal, two assists), both finished the night plus-four.
This edition of the "Battle of Alberta" went the way of the Flames in a 4-1 victory. After going down early in the first period, Calgary took over thanks to a hat trick from Bourque who score even-strength, shorthanded and on the power play for his second career three-goal night. The Flames snapped a three-game losing streak and extended Edmonton's losing streak to seven games in the process.
Belanger was the man as Minnesota extended its winning streak to three games with a 4-3 victory over Los Angeles. Scoring twice, including the winner with 2:25 remaining, and adding an assist, Belanger notched his seventh career three-point game as the Kings lost their third in a row.
Honorable mention: Jimmy Howard(notes) (39 saves) and Steve Mason(notes) (34 saves, shutout) put on a goaltending clinic as Columbus slipped past Detroit 1-0. The win was Mason's first in six starts and ends a nine-game winless streak for the Blue Jackets ... Zach Parise's(notes) two goals were just enough for New Jersey to edge Atlanta 3-2. Devils rookie Niclas Bergfors(notes) had two assists putting him three points behind New York Islanders forward John Tavares(notes) for the rookie scoring lead ... Mike Cammalleri scored the 20,000th regular-season goal in Montreal Canadiens history. Ottawa got the last laugh in a 4-2 win over the Habs. Peter Regin(notes), Chris Campoli(notes) and Chris Neil(notes) each had a goal and an assist, while Pascal Leclaire(notes) stopped 29 shots for his second straight win ... Edmonton's Dustin Penner(notes) played in his 300th NHL game while Calgary's Olie Jokinen notched his 300th career NHL assist. Miikka Kiprusoff(notes) rebounded from last night's center ice gaffe and made 34 saves in the Flames victory ... Ilya Bryzgalov(notes) (36 saves) and Evgeni Nabokov(notes) (31 saves) were brilliant in net as San Jose downed Phoenix 3-2 in a shootout. Joe Pavelski(notes) scored shorthanded in regulation and then the shootout winner ... Mike Smith(notes) made 31 saves as Tampa Bay squeeked by Boston 2-1. Vincent Lecavalier(notes) wins the night with this nifty between the legs pass to Alex Tanguay(notes) to set up the opening goal:
Did you know?: Carolina's win tonight in Washington was just its second on the road all season.
Dishonorable mention: Jose Theodore(notes) found himself down 3-0 after one period and allowed two more goals in Washington's loss to Carolina. Two days after signing a one-year, $6 million extension, Alexander Semin(notes) was a minus-three ... Jeff Deslauriers was haunted all night by Rene Bourque and allowing two goals in 1:29 in the third period broke the game wide open.