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Oilers win one for Anderson

Monday, 01.19.2009 / 9:00 AM / Game-Day Skate

By Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

A few thoughts while journalists in Columbus learn to spell Dubielewicz:

For you, Glenn -- Glenn Anderson waited a long time before finally being enshrined in the Hockey Hall of Fame. But once the former Edmonton Oilers forward was finally recognized, the Oilers honored him on Sunday night by raising his No. 9 to the rafters of Rexall Place.

"It is so great to be back in this uniform again," Anderson said before Ethan Moreau's hat trick sparked Edmonton to a 6-3 win against the Phoenix Coyotes. "Putting this jersey on is like coming home. Home is where the heart is, and that's where my heart is -- right here. To be surrounded by this group of guys that I had the honor of going to battle with and bring Edmonton five Stanley Cups with is really special."

Former teammate Kevin Lowe -- now the team's President of Hockey Operations -- was pleased that the franchise finally held a night in Anderson's honor -- a night he wasn't sure would ever come.

"Like a great many other people I was beginning to wonder if we would ever get a chance to have this celebration," Lowe said. "Every one of the players from those great teams we had was unique, but Glenn Anderson was perhaps the most unique. He did everything his own way, both on and off the ice. But time and time again on the ice he demonstrated courage, unbelievable skill and grit. And when it was crunch-time, there was nobody better."

Double whammy -- The Colorado Avalanche enjoyed a 6-2 victory against the Pepsi Center on Sunday night. Two of their players enjoyed it just a little bit more.

Within minutes of each other, forwards Ryan Smyth and Milan Hejduk tallied their 300th career goals in the second period. They became just the second set of players in NHL history to reach the milestone in the same game. Danny Gare and Ivan Boldirev of the Detroit Red Wings accomplished the feat in a game against the New York Islanders on Feb. 26, 1983.

''It's an honor to share it with Milan,'' Smyth said. ''It's obviously special to not only play in this game, but to score that many goals is a great feeling.''

 All 300 of Hejduk's goals have come with Colorado. He became just the fourth player in franchise history to reach the plateau, joining Joe Sakic (625), Michel Goulet (456) and Peter Stastny (380).

''If you look at Joe's numbers, it's nothing,'' Hejduk said. ''It definitely was a special night. It's something I'll remember for the rest of my life.''

Smyth -- who has also played for the Edmonton Oilers and the Islanders -- also scored his first career goal against the Flames, which came back in 1995. The next 264 were tallied during his time in Edmonton.

''I have to give it all to my teammates over the years who I've played with and obviously this team here,'' he said.

I got this one -- The Pittsburgh Penguins were certainly happy to have captain Sidney Crosby back in the lineup on Sunday afternoon, but that glee was topped by Marc-Andre Fleury's performance at Mellon Arena.

Fleury stopped all 33 shots he faced and recorded his second shutout of the season in Pittsburgh's 3-0 win against the New York Rangers. Twenty-six of those saves came in the final 40 minutes, as Fleury outplayed Henrik Lundqvist to help the Pens move back into playoff position in the Eastern Conference.

''He played well,'' Pittsburgh coach Michel Therrien said. ''I like the way he was focused. I like the way he's square to the puck. He doesn't have to make spectacular saves and that's a great sign because of his position. If you want to win in this League, you need great goaltending. And he did a great job again today.''

It's no coincidence that the Penguins' revival is happening at the same time that Fleury is picking up his game. The former No. 1 draft pick allowed four goals or more in seven of his last 17 starts, but only one puck has gotten past him in his last two outings.

 
 
''The guys did a great job of not giving them too many scoring chances and we got some turnovers, got chances," Fleury said. "We got some goals early, so that was a big game for us.'' 

As for Crosby, No. 87 returned to the lineup after being forced to sit out Friday's 3-1 win against the Anaheim Ducks due to an apparent knee injury that occurred last Wednesday against the Washington Capitals. Crosby, who missed a penalty shot in the second period, saw his five-game scoring streak snapped.

''The leg felt pretty good,'' Crosby said. ''Hopefully it's better, but we'll see tomorrow. We got some big goals, and Flower played great."
 
Is this the year? -- With each passing game, the Columbus Blue Jackets are feeling better about their chances of competing in the Stanley Cup Playoffs -- an opportunity the franchise has never experienced before.

But a 6-5 shootout victory against the Vancouver Canucks at GM Place on Sunday night has the Blue Jackets within two points of No. 7 Vancouver in a very tight Western Conference.

With the All-Star break rapidly approaching, the Blue Jackets -- winners in four of their last five games -- have to be feeling awfully good about themselves.

"We're not really used to it," said captain Rick Nash, who had a goal and two assists in his return after missing the previous four games with a knee injury. "Everyone's excited and has a lot of energy every night. It's amazing when you have a chance to win every night how much more fun it is."

While there's still a second half of the regular season to be played, coach Ken Hitchcock is confident that this may finally be the year -- just as long as his team continues to put forth 60-minute efforts and sticks to the game plan.

"If we just keep playing this way and if we keep battling like we're showing right now, we're going to win our share of hockey games and hopefully be there right at the end," Hitchcock said.
   
Contact Brian Compton at: bcompton@nhl.com.

Material from wire services and broadcast media was used in this report.




Quote of the Day

There was a lot of talk off the ice. From a player's standpoint, that's not the talk in the room. GMs make decisions, coaches make decisions, but as a team you have to come together and be ready to go, and we are.

— San Jose Sharks forward Tommy Wingels on his team's approach entering training camp