March 25, 2009
When you score the prettiest goal of the night (his first), outscore every player on the eight-game slate (2 goals, 3 assists) and help your desperate team snap a five-game losing streak, you've made a solid case for the evening's No. 1 star. Tanguay had a trio of Atlanta players, including goalie Kari Lehtonen, sliding prone on the ice when he scored a backhand goal to make it 1-0. His second tally came on a one-timed laser from between the circles and he assisted on a pair of second-period power-play goals as the reunited line of Tanguay, Alex Kovalev and Saku Koivu combined for 11 points. General manager Bob Gainey hasn't had much go right since jumping behind the bench (2-3-2 record), but give him credit for assembling an unstoppable unit in Tuesday's 6-3 victory.
If you know anything about Giguere's career body of work, you know he does his best regular-season work in March and April. That history of stretch-run success has made it all the more startling that Jonas Hiller has been spearheading Anaheim's playoff push. Tuesday was more like old times, as Giguere, starting for just the second time in seven games, made 31 saves in a 2-1 shootout victory that allowed the Ducks to climb over Nashville and into eighth place in the Western Conference. Giguere was spectacular in the third period (15 saves) and while he caught a break in overtime when Steve Sullivan lost control of the puck on a breakaway, he was stout in turning aside all four Predators chances in the skills competition.
This wasn't the most active of Mason's five shutouts on the season (22 saves), but he had to be plenty sharp during a first period that saw the Blues get outshot 11-4 by the Kings. It was a 0-0 game before Patrik Berglund scored almost eight minutes into the third period. The 2-0 victory allowed St. Louis to remain one point out of the final Western Conference playoff spot.
Honorable mention: Nikolai Zherdev's first-period goal allowed the Rangers to take a 1-0 lead for the seventh straight game in a 2-1 win over Minnesota. … Marian Gaborik had his first goal since Dec. 23 for the Wild. … Curtis Joseph earned No. 1 star honors in Toronto despite playing less than one minute in regulation. Pressed into duty when Martin Gerber was ejected, he was perfect in overtime and the shootout. … Leafs defenseman Phil Oreskovic scored his first NHL goal in the 3-2 win. … Mike McKenna's 33 saves set the stage for Martin St. Louis' overtime game-winner in a 2-1 Tampa Bay victory over Columbus. … As referenced above, Tanguay linemates Alex Kovalev (2 goals, assist) and Saku Koivu (goal, 2 assists) weren't too shabby Tuesday. … Patrik Berglund's two goals snapped a 10-game drought. … Canucks forward Daniel Sedin drew a double-minor for high-sticking and scored a go-head goal on the subsequent power play despite a bloody lip that required multiple stitches. … The Red Wings reclaimed the NHL points lead with a 3-2 victory over Edmonton.
Dishonorable mention: The Kings are headed in the right direction, but Tuesday's loss was their 10th by shutout this season, tying a franchise record set in their first season in Los Angeles. They were 0-for-6 on the power play. … You make the call on the Washington goal that led to Martin Gerber's ejection …