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Empty Netter Assists - 12-27-09

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

Penguins

-That heartless, whiny jerk Sidney Crosby (above) has started his own foundation to help others in need.

-So... Bobby Clarke or Barclay Plager? Who is the most hated opponent at Civic/Mellon Arena?

-Wade Brookbank and Joey Haddad each had two assists for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in a 2-1 defeat of the Albany River Rats. John Curry made 25 saves in the win.

-Wilkes-Barre/Scranton's fourth line of Brookbank, Haddad and Tyler Spurgeon stole the show.

-T.J. Fox and Kyle Bushee each had two goals for the Wheeling Nailers in a 5-3 defeat of the Kalamzoo Wings. Brad Thiessen made 30 saves in the win.

-Happy 38th birthday to former Penguins forward Bryan Smolinski. Acquired along with forward Glen Murray in a 1996 trade that sent Kevin Stevens and Shawn McEachern to the Bruins, Smolinski spent one season in Pittsburgh. In 1996-97, he churned out a career-high 64 points (24 goals, 40 points) in 81 games. A holdout the following season led the Penguins to deal him to the Islanders in exchange for Darius Kasparaitis and Andreas Johansson.

Atlantic Division

-Shootout goals by Daniel Briere and Mike Richards (above, beating Carolina's Cam Ward) gave the Flyers a 4-3 win at Carolina. Michael Leighton made 37 saves to earn the victory against his former team. Jussi Jokinen led the Hurricanes with two goals. Carolina has lost three consecutive games.

-The Flyers actually almost blew this game by giving up a 3-0 lead.

-Philadelphia coach Peter Laviolette got his first win against the team that fired him last season.

-Happy times for Carolina's Jussi Jokinen. Not so much for Philadelphia's Chris Pronger:

-Kyle Okposo had an overtime goal and two assists and led the Islanders to a 3-2 win against the rival Rangers. Teammate Frans Nielsen added a goal and an assist while Dwayne Roloson made 36 saves in the victory. Brandon Dubinsky scored both goals for the Rangers who had a four-game winning streak snapped.

-Okposo had a snapped a streak of 19 games without a goal.

-Okposo kind of went all Brett Keisel on this celebration:

-Roloson kept his eyes on the puck and Dubinsky:

-Islanders forward Jonathan Tavares didn't quit on this puck:

-Happy times for the Islanders. Not so much for Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist:

-Dubinsky went all Rockette's on this goal celebration:

-It looks like noted entertainment manager Eric Murphy (AKA Kevin Connolly) has already broken off his engagement with Sloan McQuewick and is back at Islanders games:

-Former Flyers captain Keith Primeau, whose career was ended due to head injuries, is happy the NHL is taking steps to address hits to the head.

Northeast Division

-Scoreboard Watch for the Penguins: Shootout goals by former Penguin Alex Kovalev and Mike Fisher gave the Senators a 3-2 win at Buffalo. Pascal Leclaire (above) made 20 saves in the victory. The Sabres, who have lost three out of their past four, are in third place in the Eastern Conference with 48 points, five fewer than the fourth-place Penguins. Buffalo is ahead of the Penguins on account of being in first place in the Northeast Division.

-Sabres forward Derek Roy suffered an "upper-body" injury and will not be available for tonight's game in St. Louis.

-Bad times for Roy. Confused times for Ottawa's Filip Kuba:

-Andrei Kostitsyn's overtime goal gave the Canadiens a 3-2 win at Toronto. Scott Gomez had a goal and an assist for Montreal while teammate Andrei Markov added two assists. Jaroslav Halak made a whopping 47 saves in the victory which was the fifth in a row for the Habs. The Maple Leafs have lost three consecutive games.

-Halak made 40 or more saves for the fourth consecutive game.

-Toronto's Mike Komisarek unleashing a shot:

-Happy, smug times for Toronto's Ian White and his moustache:

-Hockey Night in Toronto's Canada's opening montage was epic:

-Ottawa captain Daniel Alfredsson is expected to be sidelined four to six weeks after injuring his shoulder on a hit by Penguins forawrd Craig Adams at Mellon Arena Wednesday. The injury could put Alfredsson's participation for Sweden in the Olympics in jeopardy.

-The Senators recalled forward Ryan Keller from Binghamton of the AHL on an emergency basis.

-Before Martin Brodeur and even before Terry Sawchuk, Montreal's George Hainsworth was (and still is) the king of shutouts.

Southeast Division

-Scoreboard Watch for the Penguins: Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin each had a goal and two assists for the Capitals in a 4-1 win against the Devils. Michal Neuvirth (right) made 29 saves in the victory which was the third in four games for Washington. New Jersey had a five-game winning streak snapped. The Capitals are in first place in the Eastern Conference with 54 points, one more than the fourth place Penguins. The Devils are in second place in the conference and first place in the Atlantic Division with 53 points. New Jersey is ahead of the Penguins on account of having played two fewer games.

-"I just beat the best goalie in the world. It's amazing. I used to watch him on TV, so it's something special." - Neuvirth on beating New jersey's Martin Brodeur.

-Devils coach Jacques Lemaire suggested a four-day break led to his team's flat game.

-Three assists from Vincent Lecavalier helped the Lightning edge the Thrashers, 4-3. Former Penguin Ryan Malone scored his seventh game-winning goal, tops in the NHL. Fire Ray Shero. Teammate Steve Downie added a goal and an assist while Mike Smith made 24 saves in the victory which was the third out of four games for Tampa Bay. Nik Antropov and Ilya Kovalchuk led Atlanta with a goal and an assist. The Thrashers have lost four consecutive games.

-The Capitals signed forward Alexander Semin to a one-year contract extension worth a total of $6 million. Semin was scheduled to become a restricted free agent after this season.

-The Lightning recalled defenseman Mike Lundin and goaltender Riku Helenius from Norfolk of the AHL.

-The Panthers have made a bunch of moves. Forward Nick Tarnasky (orbital bone) will make his season debut after being injured in the preseason. Forward Kamil Kreps will return to the lineup after missing four games with rib and shoulder ailments. Forward Shawn Matthias was recalled from Rochester of the AHL due to forward Rostislav Olesz's bout with the flu.

Central Division

-Tomas Kopecky and Jonathan Toews each had two assists for the Blackhawks in a 4-1 win at Nashville. Cristobal Huet (above, with Colin Fraser) made 25 saves in the victory which was the seventh in eight game for Chicago.

-Chicago made a statement with a convincing road win against a hot team.

-"We need more people sacrificing. We need everyone all in. We had some guys who were not quite all in." - Predators coach Barry Trotz suggesting his team wasn't prepared for it's showdown with the Blackhawks.

-Blackhawks defenseman Cam Barker ("lower body") and forward Ben Eager ("upper body") returned to the lineup after missing a few games while forward Kris Versteeg and defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson each sat out due to illness.

-Todd Bertuzzi scored two goals an led the Red Wings to a 2-1 defeat of the Blue Jackets. Teammate Nicklas Lidstrom added two assists while Jimmy Howard made 28 saves in the victory which snapped a three-game losing streak. Columbus' losing streak grew to nine games.

-Check out this amazing "save" Detroit forward Darren Helm made last night:

-Cool Photo of the Night: Columbus' Samuel Pahlsson and Detroit's Valtteri Filppula chasing after a puck:

-Red Wings forward Valtteri Filppula (wrist) and defenseman Brian Rafalski (flu) returned to the lineup. Filppula's injury had sidelined him since Oct. 29.

-The Blackhawks recalled forward Bryan Bickell from Rockford of the AHL.

-The Blue Jackets have recalled forward Alexandre Picard from Syracuse of the AHL.

Northwest Division

-Chris Stewart (above) had two goals and led the Avalanche to a 4-1 defeat of the Stars. Peter Budaj made 39 saves in the victory which was the third in four games for Colorado.

-The Stars played without captain Brenden Morrow and goaltender Marty Turco who each were battling the flu.

-A goal and two assists from Daniel Sedin helped the Canucks beat the rival Oilers, 4-1. Teammate Henrik Sedin added a goal and an assist while Roberto Luongo made 24 saves in the victory which was the third in four games for Vancouver. Edmonton has lost six consecutive games.

-Check out this awesome re-direction by Vancouver's Ryan Kesler:

-Check out the backhander Vancouver's Christian Ehrhoff scored on:

-Fight of the night goes to Vancouver's Rick Rypien and Edmonton's Zach Stortini:

-Cool photo of the fight:

-Luongo was either yawning or in a lot of pain here:

-Guillaume Latendresse scored two goals and led the Wild to a 4-3 win against the Blues. Marek Zidlicky recorded two assists for Minnesota while Niklas Backstrom made a "whopping" 15 saves in the victory. Patrik Berglund led St. Louis with a goal and an assist. The Blues had a three-game winning streak snapped.

-Check out the effort by Zidlicky to set up Latendresse's second goal:

-Minnesota set a franchise record with its ninth win in December.

-We're not goaltending experts or anything, but we're thinking St. Louis' Chris Mason played the wrong angle on this puck:

Pacific Division

-Ilya Brzygalov (above) made 23 saves and led the Coyotes to a 3-2 win against the Kings. Phoenix has won three consecutive games. Michal Handzus led Los Angeles with a goal and an assist. Kings forward Ryan Smyth (ribs) played in his first game in over a month.

-Happy times for Bryzgalov:

-Bryzgalov playing catch:

-Coyotes forward and former Penguin Paul Bissonnette had a quick fight with Los Angeles' Matt Greene:

-His celebration might've lasted longer.

-Greene did manage to claim Bissonnette's helmet strap:

-Happy tounge-wagging times for Coyotes defenseman Keith Yandle. Not so much for Los Angeles' Oscar Moller:

-Coyotes captain Shane Doan was honored for appearing in his 1,000th career game:

-Faceoff at Jobing.com Arena:

-Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick and former Penguin Rob Scuderi couldn't keep this puck out:

-The Coyotes tied a franchise record set by the 1992-93 Jets by winning their ninth consecutive home game.

-Phoenix forward Daniel Winnik suffered what sounds like a shoulder or arm injury.

-Kings forward Justin Williams was taken off the ice on a stretcher after suffering a broken leg.

-Dany Heatley had a goal and two assists and led the Sharks to a 5-2 defeat of the rival Ducks. Patrick Marleau added two goals for San Jose while teammate Joe Thornton recorded three assists. Marleau's first goal was the 300th of his career. Evgeni Nabokov made 30 saves in the victory which was the fourth in a row for the Sharks.

-Ducks forward Ryan Getzlaf suffered a cut to his right leg last night.

-Thornton didn't appear to be too fond of his hit by Anaheim's Scott Niedermayer:

-The Kings activated forwards Brandon Segal and Wayne Simmonds from injured reserve and placed forward Jarret Stoll on injured reserve. All three were or are suffering from "lower-body" injuries.

-Los Angeles forward Alexander Frolov is disappointed he didn't make Russia's Olympic roster.

Norris Division

-Former Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins  and Wheeling Nailers forward Mike Sgroi signed with the Elmira Jackals of the ECHL.

IIHF World Junior Championships

-Rangers prospect Derek Stepan had a goal and two assists for the United States which beat Slovakia, 7-3.

-Predators prospect Gabriel Bourque had a hat trick and four assists for Canada in a 16-0 pounding of Latvia. Blues prospect Jake Allen was forced to make all of 10 saves in the shutout.

-Oilers prospect Karl Magnus Pääjärvi-Svensson had a goal and four assists for Sweden in a 10-1 rout of the Czech Republic.

-Islanders prospect Kirill Petrov had a goal and two assists for Russia in a 6-2 defeat of Austria.

(Photo: Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press; Richards and Jokinen-Karl B DeBlaker/Associated Press; Okposo, Roloson, Tavares, Lundqvist, Dubinsky and Connolly-Jim McIsaac/Getty Images; Komisarek and White-Dave Sandford/Getty Images; Leclaire and Roy-Don Heupel/Associated Press; Neuvirth-Nick Wass/Associated Press; Huet-Mark Humphrey/Associated Press; Pahlsson-David Guralnick/Detroit News/Associated Press; Stewart-David Zalubowski/Associated Press; Luongo and Stortini-Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press; Mason-Andy King/Associated Press; Bryzgalov, Yandle, Doan, Jobing.com Arena and Scuderi-Christian Petersen/Getty Images; Bissonnette-Paul Connors/Associated Press; Thornton-Tony Avelar/Associated Press)

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