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CHANDLER LEADS KNICKS PAST HOWARD AND THE MAGIC
From Elias: The Knicks defeated the Magic, 96-80, limiting Dwight Howard to eight points and eight rebounds in 37 minutes, while Tyson Chandler, his counterpart in the pivot, scored 12 points and grabbed 12 rebounds. It was only the fourth game of Howard's NBA career in which he started at the center position and played at least 30 minutes while being both outscored and outrebounded by the opposing starting center. It happened once against Denver's Marcus Camby (Nov. 15, 2006) and twice against Yao Ming (Jan. 4, 2008 and April 7, 2009).
WALL CAN'T DO IT ALONE
From Elias: John Wall posted game highs with 28 points and 10 assists in the Wizards' 99-94 loss to the Pistons. It was the fifth game of Wall's NBA career in which he scored 25 or more points and registered double-digit assists, and that's been one of the Washington's few winning formulas over the last two seasons. The Wizards had won three of the four previous games in which Wall reached those minimums.
NO WIN FOR VERLANDER DESPITE EIGHT SHUTOUT INNINGS
From Elias: Austin Jackson's RBI single in the bottom of the ninth lifted the Tigers to a 3-2 win over the Red Sox, after Jose Valverde relinquished a 2-0 lead in the top half of the inning. Justin Verlander threw eight scoreless innings to become the second reigning Cy Young Award winner in the last 18 years to throw eight (or more) scoreless innings in his first start of a season. The only other defending Cy Young winner to do so over that span (1994-2012) was Randy Johnson, who tossed a six-hit shutout against the Padres in the Diamondbacks' 2002 opener. The only other reigning American League Cy Young winner with a scoreless outing of at least eight innings in his season debut was Baltimore's Jim Palmer in 1973 (eight shutout innings against the Tigers).
IS THIS ANOTHER "YEAR OF THE PITCHER?"
From Elias: Justin Verlander, Roy Halladay and Justin Masterson each allowed two hits in eight innings on Thursday, while Ryan Dempster surrendered two knocks in 7 2/3 innings. It was the first day on which four pitchers threw more than seven innings and allowed no more than two hits since Sept. 27, 1986. The four pitchers to do it that day were Baltimore's Scott McGregor, the Rangers' Charlie Hough, California's Don Sutton and Floyd Youmans of the Expos.
There was a total of 33 runs scored in the seven major-league games played on Thursday, an average of 4.7 per game. It was the lowest average of runs per game in the majors on a day that there were at least seven games played since May 11, 1983, when there were 45 runs scored in 10 games (4.5 per game). Among the pitchers who started that day were Tom Seaver, John Denny (the 1983 N.L. Cy Young winner), LaMarr Hoyt (the 1983 A.L. Cy Young winner), Gaylord Perry, Mike Flanagan and Ron Guidry.
The Dodgers' 5-3 win at San Diego produced the most runs of any of the five National League games on Thursday. In fact, the average of 3.4 runs per game in yesterday's N.L. tilts was the lowest on a day in which there were at least five games played in the senior circuit since September 11, 1964 (16 runs in five games, an average 3.2 per game).
METS' STAFF WHITEWASHES THE BRAVES
From Elias: Johan Santana returned to the mound and combined with four Mets relievers to defeat the Braves, 1-0. It was the fourth time in major-league history that a team used as many as five pitchers in its season opener to shut out an opponent. New York used six pitchers in a 14-inning, 1-0 win over the Phillies in its 1998 lidlifter. Thursday's loss was the first time in 137 season openers that the Braves lost 1-0. (The Braves are a charter member of the National League, dating back to 1876.)
RUIZ SAC FLY GIVES PHILLIES A 1-0 WIN
From Elias: Carlos Ruiz's seventh-inning sacrifice fly drove in the only run of the game as Roy Halladay and Jonathan Papelbon combined to shut out the Pirates. It was only the third time in the last 30 seasons that the Phillies posted a 1-0 triumph on the strength of a sac fly. Ruiz joined Kevin Elster (Sept. 6, 1995) and David Bell (July 9, 2005) as the only Phillies to drive in a game's lone run in that fashion over that span (1983-2012).
WOOD OUT OF CONTROL
From Elias: Ian Desmond's RBI single in the ninth inning was the difference in the Nationals' 2-1 victory at Chicago, after Jayson Werth drew a bases-loaded walk off Kerry Wood to tie the game in the eighth inning. Wood walked three straight batters to force in the tying run after he relieved Ryan Dempster with two outs and a runner on first base. It was the first game of Wood's major-league career in which he walked the first three batters he faced.
BUEHRLE LOSES HIS MARLINS DEBUT
From Elias: Mark Buehrle got no offensive support in his Marlins debut as the Reds defeated Miami, 4-0. Buehrle, who has 107 wins under Ozzie Guillen (all with the White Sox), began and ended the day tied with Justin Verlander (107 wins under Jim Leyland) for the most career wins for any major-league pitcher under his current manager.
BLUE JAYS WIN IN 16 INNINGS AFTER SCORING THREE IN NINTH
From Elias: J.P. Arencibia's three-run homer in the 16th inning gave the Blue Jays a 7-4 win at Cleveland, after Toronto knotted the game with three runs in the ninth. The Jays were the first major-league team to win a game of 16 or more innings after trailing by three or more runs in the ninth inning since the Reds scored four ninth-inning runs in a 16-inning, 7-6 win at San Diego on April 24, 1992. That was the only other such game in the majors over the last 36 seasons (1977-2012).
SEVENTH STRAIGHT MULTI-POINT HOME GAME FOR MALKIN
From Elias: Evgeni Malkin scored one goal and assisted on another in the Penguins' win over the Rangers in Pittsburgh. It was the seventh straight Penguins home game in which Malkin has scored at least two points. That's the longest streak of consecutive multiple-point games on home ice by an NHL player since 1995-96, when Jaromir Jagr had a nine-game streak for Pittsburgh.
PENGUINS' 10TH STRAIGHT GAME WITH THREE GOALS OR MORE
From Elias: The Penguins' 5-2 win over the Rangers marked the 10th consecutive game in which Pittsburgh has scored at least three goals. That's the longest such streak in the NHL this season, topping a nine-game run by the Canucks (Nov. 23-Dec. 10). It's the Penguins' longest stretch of games scoring three goals or more since an 11-game streak in February/March 2009.
KHUDOBIN: 44 SAVES IN HIS DEBUT FOR THE BRUINS
From Elias: Rookie Anton Khudobin, making his debut for the Bruins, stopped all but one of the Senators' 45 shots on goal to lead Boston to a 3-1 win at Ottawa. Khudobin's 44 saves were the most in one game by a Bruins rookie since Feb. 21, 1987, when Bill Ranford posted a 45-save 1-0 shutout win against the North Stars in Minnesota.
RINNE'S 25TH CAREER SHUTOUT
From Elias: Pekka Rinne recorded the 25th shutout of his NHL career with a 2-0 win against Dallas on Thursday night. Rinne posted shutout #25 in his 240th career start, second-fastest among active NHL goaltenders, behind Evgeni Nabokov, who did it in his 236th start.
BRODEUR'S FIRST WIN AT DETROIT SINCE 1996
From Elias: Martin Brodeur and the Devils eked out a 2-1 victory over the Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena. It was only the second win for Brodeur in nine career regular-season games at Detroit, and it was his first win there since a 2 -0 shutout on Nov. 6, 1996. Brodeur lost all six games he played at "the Joe" in the interim, allowing at least three goals in each game. Of course, Brodeur won both games he played in Detroit during the Devils' four-game sweep of the Red Wings in the 1995 Stanley Cup Final.
GRABNER'S LAST-MINUTE GAME-WINNING GOAL
From Elias: Michael Grabner's goal with 47 seconds remaining in the third period snapped a 4-4 tie and earned the Islanders a 5-4 win against the Jets. It was only the second time in the last nine seasons that an Islanders player scored a tiebreaking goal in the last minute of the third period. The only other Islander to do that since 2002-03 was Mike Sillinger on Feb. 19, 2007 against the Penguins.
PHANEUF SCORES OT WINNER FOR THE LEAFS
From Elias: Dion Phaneuf scored with 59 seconds left in overtime to give the Maple Leafs a 3-2 victory against the Lightning. It was the fourth overtime goal of his NHL career and only the second OT goal by a Toronto defenseman over the last three seasons. Phaneuf scored the other one as well, on April 10, 2010 at Montreal.
READ'S THIRD-PERIOD GOAL IS A GAME-WINNER
From Elias: Matt Read tiebreaking goal with 4:21 left in the third period was the game-winner for the Flyers in their 2-1 victory against the Sabres. It was Read's 10th third-period goal this season, tying him with Cody Hodgson for the league high among rookies. Read is the first Flyers rookie to reach double-figures in third-period goals in one season since Jeff Carter scored 10 in 2005-06.
LAICH SCORES WINNING GOAL IN CAPS' PLAYOFF-CLINCHING WIN
From Elias: Brooks Laich's goal was the game-winner for the Capitals in their 4-2 victory over the Panthers, that coupled with Buffalo's loss to the Flyers clinched a playoff spot for Washington. (Florida also wrapped up a playoff berth as a result of the Sabres' loss.) It was Laich's third goal in six games against the Panthers this season and his 10th career goal versus Florida, matching his highest total against one team. Laich has also scored 10 goals versus the Bruins.