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Empty Netter Assists - 03-24-10

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

Penguins

-Do the Penguins miss the great Martin Skoula (above, with Sidney Crosby)?

-Is Sidney Crosby the new Claude Lemieux? In Detroit at least?

-There's more than one No. 87 in the Crosby family:

-Happy 55th birthday to former Penguins defenseman Pat Price. Acquired at the 1981 trade deadline from the Oilers in exchange for Pat Hughes, Price spent parts of three seasons with the Penguins in the early 1980s. In his only full season with the Penguins, he managed to accumulate 322 penalty minutes in just 77 games during the 1981-82 campaign. In 128 games with the Penguins, he scored 60 points and recorded 459 penalty minutes. In December of 1982, he was claimed off waivers by the Quebec Nordiques.

-Happy 37th birthday to former Penguins defenseman Philippe Boucher. Acquired early in the 2008-09 season in a trade which sent defenseman Darryl Sydor to the Stars, Boucher was a member of last season's Stanley Cup championship team. A foot injury derailed most of Boucher's regular season as he only appeared in 25 games with the Penguins and recorded six points. He was a bigger contributor in the playoffs as a knee injury to all-star blue liner Sergei Gonchar provided him a chance to play. In nine games, he scored four points and even netted the game-winning goal in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference final, a 3-2 home win against the Hurricanes. An all-star with Dallas, Boucher retired this past offseason. He is a partial owner of Club de Golf la Tempete, a golf course in Quebec.

-Happy 30th birthday to former Penguins forward Ramzi Abid. Acquired at the 2003 trade deadline from the Coyotes along with Dan Focht and Guillaume Lefebvre in exchange for Jan Hrdina and Francois Leroux, Abid, the first Muslim NHL player of Middle Eastern descent, spent parts of two seasons with the Penguins. After starting the 2003-04 campaign with the NHL club, Abid's season was ended by a knee injury suffered in December which brought his Penguins' career to an end. In 19 games with the NHL club, he scored five points. During the 2004-05 NHL lockout, he spent the entire season with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the AHL but left the organization when he signed with the Thrashers in the 2005 offseason. He currently plays for Rogle Angelholm in Sweden.

Atlantic Division

-Scoreboard Watch for the Penguins: Ilya Kovalchuk had a goal and three assists for the Devils in a 6-3 win against the Blue Jackets. Zach Parise (above) contributed two goals and an assist for New Jersey while teammate Travis Zajac scored two goals. Martin Brodeur made a whopping 19 saves in the victory. Kristian Huselius and Antoine Vermette each had a goal and an assist for the Blue Jackets. The win moved the Devils ahead of the Penguins and into first place in the Atlantic Division. Both teams have 90 points, but the Devils are in first place on account of having played fewer games.

-Check out the placement by Kovalchuk on his goal:

-Check out Parise's second goal:

-Brodeur picked an odd time to do an impromptu Rockettes impression:

-Columbus captain Rick Nash warming up:

-After going 0 for 18 in their past six games, the Devils' power play produced three goals.

-Both of Zajac's goals came off his body.

-Brodeur, who is three wins short of 600 for his career, reached the 40-win mark in a season for the eighth time.

-There's at least one heads-up fan in New Jersey:

-Things don't appear to be getting any better for Islanders goaltender Rick DiPietro's wonky left knee.

-Rangers forward Ryan Callahan is dealing with a leg injury.

Northeast Division

-Brian Elliott (above) made 26 saves and led the Senators to a 2-0 shutout of the Flyers. It was Elliott's second shutout in two nights and fifth of the season. Philadelphia has lost three consecutive games.

-The Flyers were on the wrong end of a few calls last night. First, Senators defenseman Anton Volchenkov got away with a boading call against Flyers forward Simon Gagne. The Senators scored a goal immediately after the play. During the celebration, Gagne jumped Volchenkov and ended up putting the Flyers on the penalty kill for seven minutes:

-Then, a potential goal in the third was waved off after an extensive video review:

-Volchenkov also tagged Flyers forward Daniel Carcillo with a dangerous, but legal, shoulder hit to the face in the second period:

-The response from the Flyers:

-Here's a match made in heaven. Ottawa's Chris Neil and Philadelphia's Daniel Carcillo:

-Philadelphia's mayor made it to the game apparently:

-Tuukka Rask made 27 saves for the Bruins in a key 4-0 shutout win at Atlanta. Milan Lucic led the Bruins with a goal and two assists. The win gives ninth-place Boston 78 points, three more than ninth-place Atlanta.

-Atlanta's Eric Boulton and Boston's Shawn Thornton had issues:

-Bruins forward Vladimir Sobotka suffered a head injury last night.

-In arguably his team's biggest game in two years, Thrashers coach John Anderson said his team looked nervous.

-Canadiens defenseman Marc-Andre Bergeron and forward Mike Cammalleri are expected to return to the lineup after missing several games due to knee injuries. Forward Travis Moen is expected to miss the game due to a facial injury.

-Senators forward Milan Michalek could miss the rest of the regular season due to a knee injury.

Southeast Division

-David Booth had two goals and led the Panthers to a 4-1 win at Toronto. Scott Clemmensen made a whopping 42 saves in the victory against his former team. The Maple Leafs had a three-game winning streak snapped.

-Check out the steal by Booth to set up his first goal:

-Check out the re-direction on Booth's second goal:

-Check out this empty net goal Florida's Jason Garrison scored. From his own zone, he banked it off the glass and into the cage:

-Check out this hit by Toronto's Colton Orr on Florida's Kamil Kreps and the ensuing fight with Florida's "Nasty" Nick Tarnasky:

-Following the game, Panthers captain Bryan McCabe, a former whipping boy in Toronto, made a point to raise his stick and "salute" his critics when he was named one of the game's three stars.

-Martin St. Louis scored two goals, including one in overtime, and led the Lightning to a 3-2 win against the Hurricanes. Antero Niittymaki made 27 saves in the victory which was Tampa Bay's fifth in a row.

-Carolina's Jay Harrison and Tampa Bay's Zenon Konopka had issues:

Central Division

-In a showdown for first place in the Western Conference, Antti Niemi (above, with Phoenix captain Shane Doan hovering overhead) made 28 saves and led the Blackhawks to a key 2-0 shutout of the Coyotes. Chicago held on to first place in the conference with 99 points while Phoenix, which had an eight-game winning streak snapped, fell to fourth place with 97 points.

-Happy times for the Blackhawks:

-Bright times for Chicago's Adam Burish:

-With forwards Jason Arnott (head) and Joel Ward ("upper-body") dinged up, the Predators recalled forward Nick Spaling from Milwaukee of the AHL.

Northwest Division

-Tom Gilbert had a goal and an assist for the Oilers in a 3-2 win against the rival Canucks. Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers made 31 saves in the victory which was Edmonton's third in a row.

-Check out this dazzling series of moves by Vancouver's Kyle Wellwood and an even better save by Drouin-Deslauriers:

-"I think all three of those goals I should have had." - Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo admitting he had a bad game.

-With back up goaltender Devan Dubnyk dealing with an illness, the Oilers were forced to sign University of Calgary goaltender Nathan Deobold to an amateur one-game tryout.

-Miikka Kiprusoff made 22 saves and led the Flames to a 3-1 win against the Ducks. Jay Bouwmeester and Jarome Iginla each had two assists for the Flames who have won three out of their past four games. Anaheim had a four-game winning streak snapped.

-Ducks goaltender Jonas Hiller has a new two-sided lid. White side:

-Black side:

-With forwards forwards Daymond Langkow (neck), Curtis Glencross (knee) and Chris Higgins (foot) dinged up, Flames general manager Darryl Sutter recalled his son, forward Brett Sutter, from Abbotsford of the AHL.

-The NHL suspended Avalanche forward Darcy Tucker for one game for "excessive physical contact" against Kings defenseman Matt Greene during an icing in Monday's game:

-Adopt no-touch icing and this isn't an issue.

Pacific Division

-Evgeni Nabokov (above, stopping Minnesota's Guillaume Latendresse) made a whopping 18 saves and led the Sharks to a 4-1 win at Minnesota. Rob Blake recorded three assists for San Jose while teammate Ryane Clowe added two assists. The Sharks snapped a six-game losing streak and reclaimed first place in the Pacific Division with 98 points.

-Check out the quick move San Jose's Dany Heatley scored on:

-Loui Eriksson had a goal and an assist for the Stars in a 3-1 win at Nashville. Brad Richards added two assists for Dallas while Kari Lehtonen made 34 saves in the victory. The Predators had a six-game winning streak snapped.

-Happy times for the Stars. Not so much for Nashville's Pekka Rinne:

-Dallas' Nicklas Grossman got down to block ths shot by Nashville's David Legwand:

-Is Kings defenseman Drew Doughty Norris Trophy material?

-Sharks forward Scott Nichol is dealing with an "upper-body" injury.

-Anaheim recalled defenseman Brendan Mikkelson from Toronto of the AHL.

-The Ducks signed college free agent Rob Bordson to a two-year entry-level contract.  He previously played for Minnesota-Duluth.

Patrick Division

-The NHL approved a new rule for next season on head shots without approval from the NHLPA's competition committee. The NHL made a point to make it clear it doesn't need the NHLPA's say in the matter.

-And why would there ever be concerns about future labor strife?

-Former Oilers coach Craig MacTavish will coach Canada in the IIHF World Championships this May in Germany.

-Finally today, who's hungry?

(Photos: Skoula-Al Bello/Getty Images; Blue Jackets/Devils-Bill Kostroun/Associated Press and Jim McIsaac/Getty Images; Flyers/Senators-Phillip MacCallum/Getty Images; Bruins/Thrashers-John Bazemore/Associated Press; Hurricanes/Lightning-Chris O'Meara/Associated Press; Coyotes/Blackhawks-Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images; Ducks/Flames-Canadian Press; Sharks/Wild-Andy King/Associated Press; Stars/Predators-Mark Humphrey/Associated Press)

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