Shutouts for Tomas Vokoun, the Pittsburgh Penguins’ backup goaltender, after a 4-0 whitewash of the Winnipeg Jets Thursday night. Vokoun became just the 26th goalie in history to reach that milestone.
NHL games played by the Phoenix Coyotes’ Steve Sullivan, a remarkable achievement for the native of Timmins, Ont., who missed almost two full seasons between 2006 and 2008 because of a career-threatening back injury. Sullivan reached the milestone in Thursday’s 7-4 win over the Nashville Predators.
Wins in a row for the Pittsburgh Penguins. In the NHL’s year of the streak, the Penguins are inching up on the Chicago Blackhawks, who went 24 in a row without a regulation loss to start the season.
THEY SAID IT
“We were informed around noon that we had the player and we had won the sweepstakes, so to speak.” ~ Peter Chiarelli...The Boston Bruins’ general manager spent most of Wednesday convinced that he’d landed Jarome Iginla in a trade with the Calgary Flames, only to learn later that day Iginla had opted to join the rival Pittsburgh Penguins instead.
“Usually, when things go silent, you know things are going screwy.” ~ Peter Chiarelli...The Boston Bruins’ general manager was left to explain to the two players who were headed Calgary’s way in the Iginla deal, Alexander Khokhlachev and Matt Bartkowski, that the organization still valued them as prospects.
NHL NEWS AND NOTES
The San Jose Sharks got a jolt this week when popular defenceman Douglas Murray was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins, but it seems the message that management was trying to deliver sank in. After a midseason swoon in which they won just six out of 23 games in regulation, the Sharks swept the red-hot Anaheim Ducks in back-to-back games, then followed up with a 2-0 shutout win over the Detroit Red Wings, leaving them in seventh spot in the Western Conference standings. Goalie Antti Niemi recorded shutouts in back-to-back games, and those increasing signs of life may make the Sharks less apt to be sellers at Wednesday’s trade deadline, although Ryane Clowe’s name still figures prominently in the rumour roundups. Two other names to watch: veterans Adam Burish and Michal Handzus, who were both scratches against Detroit but have lots of playoff experience, Burish as an agitator, Handzus as a faceoff man and penalty killer. … Scorers are notoriously streaky, but how to explain Patrick Marleau, the Sharks’ former captain, and the way his season has unfolded? Marleau had 14 points in the Sharks’ first seven games and was leading the NHL in scoring after two weeks, as his team raced out to a 7-0 start. In the next 25 games, Marleau scored just 10 points, which coincided with the Sharks hitting the aforementioned skid. … On a four-game losing streak, the Ducks haven’t made up any ground on the league-leading Chicago Blackhawks, who are 4-4 since their record beginning to the season (points in the first 24 games). Chicago is mostly biding its time now, waiting for two top-six forwards, Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa, to return from upper-body injuries, which could happen next week. … That six-point bulge for the Winnipeg Jets over the second-place Carolina Hurricanes in the Southeast Division is a little deceptive, given that Carolina holds three games in hand (through Friday). Still, the Jets are nicely positioned unless Carolina figures out its goaltending, with Justin Peters now the starter because of injuries to Cam Ward, and Dan Ellis struggling to establish himself as a No. 1. Carolina has lost four in a row and is 2-7-1 in the last 10. For a time it looked as if Washington might make a push, but the Capitals are just 5-5 in their last 10 as well. Winnipeg has the lowest point total among the four Canadian teams in playoff contention in the East, but if the Jets can nail down the division title, they will get the third playoff seed automatically and get home-ice advantage for at least one round. … How about those Phoenix Coyotes? New ownership may be just on the horizon (where have we heard that before), and maybe that’s what spurred them to new offensive heights on Thursday against Nashville, when they popped in six first-period goals after scoring just eight goals total in their previous seven games. From Coyotes coach Dave Tippett: “That’s the way it’s gone lately. It’s crazy games.” And from Predators coach Barry Trotz: “I’ve been here a long time and I’ve never seen anything like that.” … You can never really tire of the weekly Vancouver Canucks goaltending update, so here it goes: Cory Schneider has now started six in a row, won six in a row and surrendered just six goals in that span. Apparently, Roberto Luongo is available.