January 07, 2010
You think Avery was geared up to face his old team? The Rangers agitator stuck it to the Dallas Stars by scoring a goal and assisting on three others during New York's 5-2 win. Aside from torturing Marty Turco(notes), Avery also collected 12 penalty minutes, including a 10-minute misconduct as he mixed things up with Nicklas Grossman(notes), Jere Lehtinen(notes), and Brendan Morrow. A Dallas Star for all of 23 games last season, Avery didn't make many friends in Big D and after the game, Turco had the second best quote of the night: "I would have loved to have seen that delinquent do that for us last year". The quote of the night? That would go to Mr. Avery himself who responded to a question about what was different about tonight's game with, "I was getting paid by two teams".
The diminutive forward tallied two goals in a game full of truculence that featured five fights and 80 penalty minutes. Briere's two goals helped him surpass the 500-point plateau for his career. Playing the Maple Leafs has helped Briere reach that mark as he's scored 30 points in 29 career games against Toronto. Briere opened the scoring with his 15th of the season and then slammed the door shut on any Leafs comeback when his second goal of the night made it 5-1 Philadelphia.
Playing in his 600th NHL game, Belanger tied the game with his first goal and gave the Wild an insurance marker with his second to make the game 3-1. Minnesota would beat Calgary 4-1 and snap a four-game losing streak. The Wild have struggled to find goals and a four-goal outburst against one of the league's best netminders should give them some confidence as they continue a four-game homestand against Chicago, Pittsburgh and Vancouver.
Honorable Mention: Ryan Miller's(notes) 36 saves gave him his 24th win, his third in a row, as Buffalo dispatched Tampa Bay 5-3. The Sabres scored three goals in the opening 2:11 to set the tone and set a franchise record. Tim Connolly's(notes) two assists extended his points streak to seven games. Lindy Ruff won his 465th game with Buffalo passing Glen Sather on the all-time wins list by a coach with one organization ... Milestones tonight include Alex Tanguay(notes) playing in his 700th game, John Mitchell(notes) his 100th, Jon Sim(notes) his 400th, Jeff Carter(notes) reaching the 250-point plateau, and the Minnesota Wild playing in their 700th regular season game in the NHL ... Danny Syvret(notes) scored his second career NHL goal against the Leafs, but his first indoors. Chris Pronger(notes) assisted on three of the Flyers six goals. Philly cashed in on their six power-play opportunities by scoring on three of them ... Kyle Brodziak(notes) scored his first goal in 29 games and added and assist in Minnesota's 4-1 win over Calgary ... Chris Mason(notes) (42 saves) and Evgeni Nabokov(notes) (28 saves) were busy during San Jose's 2-1 overtime win over St. Louis. Dany Heatley's(notes) 25th of the season ended things in the extra period ... Finally, New York Islanders forward Rob Schremp(notes) pulled out the Louisville slugger on this goal against Colorado that was eventually ruled to be a good goal:
Did You Know?: Colorado's loss was only the third in 12 games this season against Eastern Conference teams. (AP)
Dishonorable Mention: Jonas Gustavsson(notes) let in six Flyers goals and has now lost five of his last six starts. The Maple Leafs power play didn't help their goaltender as it went 0-for-4 ... After winning four in a row, Miikka Kiprusoff(notes) allowed a struggling Minnesota team to score four goals on 35 shots ...