January 29, 2010
Wild starting goalie Niklas Backstrom(notes) was "shut down" with a back injury. That meant Harding had to play in back-to-back games for only the second time in his career and while battling his own hip injury. But his 29 saves made Martin Havlat's(notes) third-period goal hold up for a big 1-0 win at the Colorado Avalanche.
In the clash of the Western Conference titans, the Blackhawks scored three goals in the first 8:23 of the game, with Brouwer netting his 16th. The San Jose Sharks rallied to send the game into OT, but Brouwer's move to the slot faked out Jason Demers(notes) and beat Evgeni Nabokov(notes) (35 saves) for the 4-3 victory. Cristobal Huet(notes) made 34 saves; Joe Pavelski(notes) scored twice for the Sharks, while Manny Malhotra(notes) had the game-tying goal in the third. San Jose played without Dan Boyle(notes) and only had Marc-Edouard Vlasic(notes) for 7:25, losing both to injury. Great game between the best of the West.
Jim Slater(notes) netted two important goals: To open the scoring and to give the Atlanta Thrashers a 4-3 lead to cap a three-goal third-period rally against the Philadelphia Flyers. But it was the rookie Kane who set up both tallies with brilliant moments of skating, battling Chris Pronger(notes) twice to assist Slater's goals.
Honorable mention: Anze Kopitar(notes) scored two goals, giving him 22 on the season, as the Los Angeles Kings scored the first four goals of the game against Steve Mason(notes) (14 saves) in a 4-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Between the other pipes, Jonathan Quick(notes) made 14 saves in the first -- including about seven at the start of the game -- and 29 for the game. ... Ottawa Senators goalie Brian Elliot made 30 saves to win his sixth straight start and Jason Spezza(notes) scored a key third-period goal in a 4-1 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins. It was Ottawa's eighth straight win. ... Although he was a minus-2, Evgeni Malkin(notes) scored his sixth goal in six games, giving him 11 points in six games as well. ... Speaking of streaking players, Eric Staal(notes) had a goal and an assist to give him 12 points in seven games and eight goals in five games, as the Carolina Hurricanes rolled to a 4-1 win over the New York Islanders. Matt Moulson(notes) scored his 20th for the Isles. ... Their team blew a two-goal lead, but Robert Lang(notes) and Lauri Korpikoski(notes) scored in the shootout to give the Phoenix Coyotes a 3-2 win over the Calgary Flames. Stick-tap to the Flames' Mikael Backlund(notes) for his first NHL goal. ... Alex Steen's(notes) blast in the third period beat Jeff Deslauriers (18 saves) and gave the St. Louis Blues a 2-1 win over the Edmonton Oilers. Chris Mason(notes) made 24 saves. ... If you haven't seen it, Johan Hedberg's "headless" save was quite comical. ... It wasn't the best night for the Flyers, but this Claude Giroux(notes) goal was one for the highlight reel:
Did you know? Phoenix earned its 31st win of the season in its 54th game, the fastest the Coyotes have reached that total in the 30-year history of the franchise. (AP)
Dishonorable mention: Kyle Okposo(notes) was a minus-3 for the Islanders. ... The Flames have lost nine in a row, their longest streak since 1985-86. ... Of course, things could be worse for the Flames: They could be Edmonton.