Some random thoughts before I apply to be an Islanders’ defenseman:
Kudos To Cujo -- Congratulations to Calgary Flames goalie Curtis Joseph, who tied Terry Sawchuk for fourth on the all-time list Wednesday night with career win No. 447.
Joseph made 29 saves in a gritty 3-2 victory over the host Dallas Stars. Jarome Iginla scored the game-winner with just 2:27 remaining in regulation.
“This feels good,” Joseph said. “To be next to someone like Terry Sawchuk is a great honor.”
You know what else will feel good? Sleep. The Flames didn’t get to their hotel in Dallas until 3:30 on Wednesday morning, just hours after beating the Coyotes in Phoenix. The effort they put forth against the Stars was more than anyone could have asked for.
”It was just on pure effort,” Calgary coach Mike Keenan said. “That's a real good sign. To see an effort like that … I'm really proud of the guys.”
Not-So-Happy Days -- Minutes after his team surrendered a late 3-1 lead in a 4-3 overtime loss to the Buffalo Sabres, Tampa Bay Lightning coach John Tortorella stormed into his team’s dressing room Wednesday night and gave his players a message – with reporters present.
“You better get it figured out, because I’m not going to be around it,” Tortorella yelled.
Moments later, Tortorella met with reporters outside the dressing room. He wasn’t yelling, but the Lightning coach made it clear he expects more from his stars. Brad Richards and Vincent Lecavalier each had a point in the loss, but Martin St. Louis mustered only one shot on goal in 26:02 of ice time.
“We got paralyzed, and to me it's mental toughness. And it's coming from our top people," Tortorella said.
I felt the same way about The Sopranos’ finale. Talk about failing to finish the job.
What? A Night Off? – It was a rare scene at the Prudential Center on Wednesday.
On the same night we had our only lunar eclipse until 2010, Sharks coach Ron Wilson gave Thomas Greiss the starting nod over Evgeni Nabokov. The backup netminder understandably struggled, as he gave up three second-period goals in a 3-2 loss to the New Jersey Devils.
"I gave up a couple soft goals," Greiss said.
True, but shouldn’t you get the benefit of the doubt considering you play about as often as most grown men watch The View?
“It doesn’t matter,” Greiss said. “I just try to go into every game the same way and just be ready.”
How Do They Do It? -- You look at the current New York Islanders’ lineup, especially on the blue line, and you wonder how they continue to find ways to win.
Despite missing Brendan Witt, Chris Campoli, Bruno Gervais and Andy Sutton -- four of the team’s six defensemen on opening night -- the Isles overcame a 2-0 deficit Wednesday night to beat the Washington Capitals in a 3-2 shootout victory. The depleted Islanders have now won five in a row and are just one point out of a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
”I give those guys credit,” Caps goalie Olaf Kolzig said of the Isles. “Every team has that team that they have a tough time playing against, and they work their butts off. For all the guys they are missing and them to come out with a win … I mean, hats off to them.”
The Isles will look to make it six straight Thursday night when they host the Tampa Bay Lightning at Nassau Coliseum.
Another Brick In The Wall -- Nikolai Khabibulin returned in grand fashion on Wednesday night.
After missing three straight games due to a sprained right knee, the Chicago Blackhawks goaltender stopped all 38 shots he faced, leading his team to a 3-0 win over the Minnesota Wild at the United Center.
With the victory, the Hawks improved to 5-1-1 over their last seven games.
"Quite honestly, I got lucky a few times," a humble Khabibulin said. "They hit the post three times and, one time, a guy had a wide open net and hit his own player. I'll take it."
Inching Closer -- Just like that, the Anaheim Ducks are only four points off the Pacific Division lead.
After struggling early, the defending champions turned things up a notch on Wednesday night and earned a 3-2 shootout victory over the Colorado Avalanche, who have lost five-straight games.
“I thought they took the play to us in the first and second periods,” said Ducks defenseman Scott Niedermayer, as his team was out-shot 12-5 in the first. “We weren’t getting the job done. We came out in the third period, started skating, started getting our feet under us and took the play to them.”
Teemu Selanne, who scored his second goal since returning from a postponed retirement, wasn’t pleased with his team’s performance. Nonetheless, the Ducks found a way to win and heated up what is sure to be a division race that will go down to the wire.
“We weren’t that good tonight,” Selanne said. “The good thing was that we found a way to come back and win. That’s all that really matters.”
Contact Brian Compton at: firstname.lastname@example.org.