This edition of Rinkside Roundup is brought to you by the number 99 and the number 50. That’s because it’s “The Great One” Wayne Gretzky’s birthday. As far as Gretz’s old clubs go, the Los Angeles Kings came up winners, but both the Edmonton Oilers and St. Louis Blues fell.
In Hockeytown the New Jersey Devils attempted to extend their winning streak to five against the Detroit Red Wings. Though it would be an uphill battle against history as they hadn’t accomplished the feat since 1996. Brian Rolston, who scored in that victory also scored in this contest. Rolston the former Albany River Rats forward took multiple whacks at the puck in the crease to tie the game at 1-1 and in doing so registered his sixth goal of the year from Anton Volchenkov and another ex-Rat Patrik Elias.
However early in the third it was the Red Wings Valtteri Filppula’s 12th of the year on a bang-bang pass from Jiri Hudler to rip one past the reach of Martin Brodeur for a 2-1 Detroit lead. Another late tally that saw Johan Franzen waltz right in for his 21st gave the Red Wings all the insurance they’d need to take this one 3-1.
In other local action the New York Islanders were doubled up by the Carolina Hurricanes 4-2. Former River Rat Zach Boychuk got the Canes on the board, wristing a loose puck over the glove of Isles netminder Rick DiPietro for his fourth of the year in the first.
In the second Isles rookie Michael Grabner added to his solid rookie campaign with his 15th goal to tie it. But Carolina struck back with two markers from Eric Staal, the 24th and 25th for the Canes All-Star.
Capping the scoring off for the Canes in the third was former Rats forward Brandon Sutter, swooping in with a backhand goal by DiPietro for his eleventh of the year. Jiri Tlusty added his third assist of the year on the goal. Oswego, NY native Erik Cole also notched two assists on the night. Former Rats defenseman Jamie McBain was earlier named to the NHL Rookie All-Star squad in Raleigh, NC.
Continuing with the local theme the Boston Bruins edged the Florida Panthers 2-1. Tim Thomas had a strong 34 save effort and Milan Lucic cracked the 20 goal mark for the B’s in their triumph.
In another book keeping note ex-Rats defenseman Anton Babchuk picked up his 16th helper in the Calgary Flames 4-1 win over the St. Louis Blues. Additionally ex-Rats forward Brad Richardson posted his sixth assist for the Los Angeles Kings in their 3-2 shootout win over the San Jose Sharks.
Around the “A”
Up in Glens Falls the Adirondack Phantoms topped the Binghamton Senators 4-3 with a late rally in the third. Goals from Andrew Rowe and the winner from Luke Pither helped Adirondack win a back and forth affair. In the early going Rob Bordson’s markers gave the Phantoms a 2-1 advantage heading into the locker room.
In the second David Dziurzynski squared things for the Sens at 2-2.
Early in the third Binghamton’s All-Star forward Corey Locke gave the Sens their first lead with his 16th. But as mentioned above Adirondack would stage a comeback for its 14th win and 33 points on the year.
East Greenbush native and Toronto Marlies defenseman Matt Lashoff recorded his sixth goal of the season on the power-play, but ex-Rats and Phantoms keeper John Grahame and his 17 saves got the last laugh as the Lake Erie Monsters doubled up the Marlies 4-2 in Cleveland.
Two goals in the third period gave the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins a modicum of revenge against the Charlotte Checkers in their 6-4 victory. Former Albany River Rats Brett Carson (2), Oscar Osala (13), and Jerome Samson (22) all got on the scoreboard with goals for Charlotte in the loss.
Finally Dustin Boyd of the Hamilton Bulldogs notched a hat-trick in a 3-0 win over the Manitoba Moose.