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Milestones were aplenty on Sunday

Monday, 03.02.2009 / 9:00 AM / Game-Day Skate

By Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

A few thoughts while New York braves a major snowstorm:
 
A milestone day -- It was news enough when Martin Brodeur notched the 100th shutout of his brilliant career Sunday afternoon.
   
Only hours later, though, Jarome Iginla enjoyed some milestones of his own.
   
Not only did Iginla become the Calgary Flames' all-time leading scorer in an 8-6 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning, but he also scored the 400th goal of his career.
   
Oh yeah, and Vincent Lecavalier tallied his 300th goal.
   
All in the same day. Wow.
   
Brodeur got the party started at the Prudential Center in a matinee against the Philadelphia Flyers. Making just his third start since returning from elbow surgery, Brodeur recorded his second shutout in that span. He stopped all 27 shots he faced in a 3-0 win -- the 547th of his career.
   
''This is as good as it gets,'' said Brodeur, who has four shutouts in 13 games this season.
   
With 100 shutouts, Brodeur is just three shy of tying Terry Sawchuk for the most in NHL history. He'll get a crack at 101 Tuesday night at Toronto.
   
''It's a big number. It's kind of hard to believe,'' Brodeur said of his shutout total. ''You get to different numbers and at times you think, 'OK, it's just another one.' When you get to a round number, it looks more impressive.''
   
Several hours later in Calgary, Iginla and Lecavalier put on a show similar to the one we all saw during the 2004 Stanley Cup Final. The duo combined for eight points Sunday night, each achieving major milestones along the way.
   
Iginla scored twice and added 3 assists to become the Flames' all-time leading scorer with 834 points. His second goal of the night, which came just 14 seconds into the third period, was the 400th of his career.
   
Iginla has appeared in 922 career games, all with the Flames. He broke the franchise record of 830 set by Theo Fleury, who established the mark in 791 contests. The two were teammates for three seasons before Fleury was traded to Colorado during the 1998-99 season.
   
''I was excited to get it at home," Iginla said. "I wasn't too picky about it being a real nice one. Unfortunately the night didn't go the way we wanted. We let it get away from us. Looking back on it down the road, it's still going to be a great night.''
   
Lecavalier was happy for Iginla, who did everything he could to prevent Lecavalier from winning it all in 2004. Tampa Bay won the championship in a dramatic seven-game series.
   
"To see Jarome Iginla and everything he's done for the Flames … Jarome is a great guy," Lecavalier said. "He's a great leader. To bring his team like that to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final, it's nice to see a guy like that have a lot of success. He deserves it."
   
Iginla wasn't the only one to score a memorable goal Sunday night. Lecavalier's second tally, which came 8:32 into the third period, was the 300th of his career. One has to think that the 28-year-old still has plenty of goals left on his stick.
   
"I didn't know at all," Lecavalier said of being so close to 300 goals. "It's a great honor. I've been on the Lightning for many years and I'm very proud of this organization. We're playing a lot better now in the second half of the year, even though the results aren't there. We're getting closer."
       
Doing it without Sid -- One would think the loss of Sidney Crosby would hinder the Pittsburgh Penguins' chances of landing a playoff spot.

Not so.
   
Pittsburgh improved to 3-0 since Crosby went down with a groin injury, as Evgeni Malkin had a goal and 2 assists in a 4-1 win against the Dallas Stars on Sunday. The Pens also improved to 5-1-1 since Dan Bylsma replaced Michel Therrien behind the bench.
   
'We're playing right now without Sid -- an outstanding player -- and eventually we will get him back and add to how we're playing,'' Bylsma said. ''We still need to get better and better going down the stretch.''
   
The win allowed the Penguins to jump ahead of Buffalo and Carolina for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Their five-game road trip continues Tuesday night at Tampa Bay.
   
''We have to keep improving if we want to make the playoffs,'' said goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, who made 20 saves Sunday. ''We've had such a tough time and a battle to get back into contention.''
 
Four-get about it -- Looking to put an end to a three-game slide, the Chicago Blackhawks used a blazing start Sunday en route to a 4-2 win against the Los Angeles Kings at the United Center.
   
Chicago has not gone more than three games without a win this season and hasn't dropped more than two straight in regulation. That trend continued thanks to quick strikes by Jonathan Toews, Duncan Keith and Dustin Byfuglien, who all scored in the opening period against Jonathan Quick.
   
 
 
''When you lose three in a row, it gets your attention,'' Quenneville said. ''A good start was something we were looking for, and getting that lead early helped.''
   
Toews scored just 47 seconds into the game, giving him 9 goals and 4 assists in his last eight games. He's also taken over the team lead with 26 goals.

''It was a big win,'' Toews said. ''In a lot of ways we played the same way we played as the last couple of games, but we were able to put three periods together and finish it off. We've found a lot of great ways to win games like this year when we've had losing streaks.''
   
Like many of his teammates, Toews is awfully close to getting his first taste of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Blackhawks currently sit comfortably in fourth place in the Western Conference with 79 points. Kings coach Terry Murray believes Chicago could make some noise come April.
   
''They're a great skating team," Murray said. "They could be a dangerous team in the playoffs.''

Who needs video?
-- As Peter DeBoer was preparing his Florida Panthers for their match against the Washington Capitals, the pregame video session suddenly was cut short after the visitors' projector broke.
   
''We didn't get to go over most of our stuff, including the power play,'' DeBoer said. ''Maybe it's a good thing.''
   
It certainly was Sunday, as Florida scored three times with the man advantage in the first period en route to a 6-2 win at the Verizon Center. The Panthers entered the game having scored on fewer than 15 percent of their power-play chances this season, ranking them 26th in the League.

''Maybe that's the secret: We've got to forgo the preparation,'' DeBoer said. ''It clicked tonight and hopefully we can continue that.''

Bryan McCabe -- who had 4 assists -- believes the success enjoyed in that opening period should provide the power play with a nice jolt going forward.

''It was such a boost to our confidence to just get our power play going. It's been so long,'' McCabe said. ''We've been struggling immensely of late.''
 
Four-point swing -- Another loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Sunday night and the Vancouver Canucks would have found themselves tied with the Jackets in the standings.
   
The Canucks responded with one of their best efforts of the season.
   
Sami Salo and Ryan Kesler scored power-play goals 1:47 apart late in the first period and early in the second, and Roberto Luongo made 19 saves as Vancouver earned a 3-1 win at General Motors Place.
   
The win puts the fifth-seeded Canucks four points ahead of the Blue Jackets, who are just two points ahead of No. 9 Nashville.
   
''That was one of our better games, not just lately but I think since the beginning of the year,'' Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said. ''Our turnovers were very limited. We got out of our zone real quickly against a team that forechecks real hard and were able to get in their zone. When you don't spend a lot of time in your end then you're not giving the other team a lot of opportunities.''
   
"That was one of our better games, not just lately but I think since the beginning of the year.  Our turnovers were very limited. We got out of our zone real quickly against a team that forechecks real hard, and were able to get in their zone. When you don't spend a lot of time in your end then you're not giving the other team a lot of opportunities." -- Canucks coach Alain Vigneault
Columbus certainly didn't have many opportunities, as it mustered only nine shots on goal through the first 40 minutes. The Blue Jackets will look to redeem themselves Tuesday night when they host Los Angeles.
   
''Usually we're not even in the race right now,'' Columbus captain Rick Nash said of the playoff push.

''We've had a great season so far, but it's not worth coming this far and giving in -- we've got to keep going.''

Contact Brian Compton at bcompton@nhl.com.

Material from wire services and broadcast media was used in this report.
Quote of the Day

Your team is going to want to recapture the feeling. What they're going to have to figure out is they're going to have to rewrite the story. Because you're going to rewrite the story doesn't mean you want a different end. It's just that you're going to have to learn that there's different challenges to get there, and if you're going to try and tap the same feeling, it ain't going to happen.

— Los Angeles Kings general manager Dean Lombardi on maintaining their success from last season