January 28, 2010
Making his seventh consecutive start, Niittymaki won his third straight game and blanked the Montreal Canadiens 3-0. With 33 stops, including a nice glove save on Benoit Pouliot(notes) early in the first period, Niittymaki recorded his first shutout of the season as Tampa has now won four of their last five to keep pace with the pack fighting for one of the final spots in the Eastern Conference.
What was a tight game heading into the third period exploded in a matter of minutes. Goals by Shaone Morrisonn(notes), Mike Knuble(notes) and Semin within the first 4:15 of the third period gave the Capitals a 4-1 lead. Semin would add his 25th to cap off the night with less than nine minutes to go in the game and give him five goals and eight points in his last three games. Washington has now scored five or more goals in seven of their last 10 games and lead the NHL with 203 goals for while the San Jose Sharks are second with 174 goals scored.
Playing their last home game before a 14-game road trip due to the Olympics, the Canucks edged St. Louis 3-2 thanks to a power play goal by Christian Ehrhoff(notes) to sweep a four-game homestand. Vancouver will head east with a six-game winning streak after Raymond's two goals led the way. The Canucks forward continued his career season scoring his 19th and 20th goals on the year. Raymond's second goal gave Vancouver a 2-1 lead early in the third period before the team's exchanged tallies in a two-minute span to set the final score. The win puts the Canucks two points ahead of Colorado for the Northwest Division lead.
Honorable Mention: Cam Ward(notes) (37 saves), Michal Neuvirth(notes) (30 saves) and Ryan Miller(notes) (39 saves) all had great nights between the pipes capturing wins for their teams ... Sergei Samsonov(notes) and Eric Staal(notes) of the Carolina Hurricanes both had two goals in a 5-1 rout of the New York Rangers. Staal has now scored seven times in the four games since he was named captain ... Jarome Iginla(notes) broke his 12 game goalless streak scoring his 22nd goal in a shootout loss to Dallas ... With their 2-1 shootout win over New Jersey, Buffalo is now 8-0-3 in their last 11 games at home ... Alex Ovechkin(notes) scored his 34th of the season putting him ahead of Sidney Crosby(notes) and behind Patrick Marleau(notes) by a goal for the overall NHL lead ... Ryan Kesler(notes) helped setup all three Vancouver goals ... Pavel Datsyuk's(notes) two goals weren't enough for Detroit in their 5-2 loss to Minnesota, but Antti Miettinen's(notes) pair and Guillaume Latendresse's(notes) tally were for the Wild. Minnesota is 6-0-1 in their last seven games at home. Nicklas Lidstrom(notes) had two assists and has 17 points in his last 16 games ... Vincent Lecavalier(notes) gets "Goal of the Night" honors with this between-the-legs beauty:
Did You Know?: Dallas has played in a league-high 17 overtime games. (AP)
Dishonorable Mention: It's very rare that Martin Brodeur(notes) looks silly, but Jochen Hecht(notes) made that possible with his goal in the shootout ... Buffalo earned the extra point against New Jersey, but Tim Connolly's(notes) 16-game points streak came to an end in the victory ... Anaheim struggled in the faceoff dot tonight going 24-65 against Washington ... Chris Osgood(notes) didn't help his effort to regain the starting job in Detroit after allowing five goals on 20 shots against Minnesota. Osgood has lost three of his last four starts ... Miikka Kiprusoff(notes) lost his sixth straight game. He hadn't lost more than two consecutive starts since mid-November ... Mark Fistric(notes) went all caveman on Eric Nystrom(notes) during a first period scrap tonight ... Carey Price(notes) received zero support in front of him and didn't do himself any favors in Montreal's loss to Tampa. The Canadiens netminder has lost five of his last six starts.