Thursday, November 2, 2006
Elias Says ...
By Elias Sports Bureau, Inc.
Special to ESPN Insider
A daily glance inside the numbers from the world of sports:
• The Spurs opened their season with a 97-91 victory at Dallas, making Gregg Popovich the fourth head coach or manager in North American pro sports history to win his team's opening game in 10 consecutive seasons. The others who recorded streaks of 10 or more seasons were Tom Landry, 17 (1965-1981); Bill Fitch, 11 (1978-1989); and George Allen, 11 (1966-1976).
• You can throw out the home-court advantage in the Spurs-Mavs rivalry. Since the start of the 2002-03 season, the visiting team has won 15 of 30 games. Those totals include 13 postseason games, of which the home team won only five.
• One day late but worth the wait: The Bucks defeated the Pistons 105-97 at Detroit on Wednesday night, scoring 32 of their 43 field goals on layups or dunks. That was five more than the most layups/dunks against the Pistons in any game during Ben Wallace's six seasons with the team.
• For the first time in their 82 seasons of NHL play, the Bruins failed to win a home game in which they led by three goals with less than 10 minutes to play in regulation. The Sabres defeated the Bruins 5-4 in a shootout. Boston has lost or tied four such road games, the most recent at Madison Square Garden in 1992.
• The Islanders defeated the Devils 5-2 for the fourth win in their past five games at New Jersey. It's the first time the Isles have won four of five at the Meadowlands since winning their first seven visits after the Devils moved from Denver (1982-84).
• The Islanders have scored 11 goals in their past two games against Martin Brodeur. That equals the most goals by any team in consecutive games versus Brodeur. The Flyers scored 11 times against him over two games in 1998.
• The Devils placed only 16 shots on goal in their loss to the Islanders, the fourth consecutive game in which they have had 23 or fewer SOGs. That's the Devils' longest such streak since they moved to New Jersey in October 1982. They had streaks of six games with 23 or fewer SOGs as the Kansas City Scouts (November-December 1974) and the Colorado Rockies (February 1982).
• The Rangers defeated the Sharks 3-1 in San Jose on Thursday, one night after posting a 4-3 shootout win over the Ducks in Anaheim. That marks the first time in 40 years, and only the fourth time in franchise history, that New York won road games on consecutive days against a pair of opponents with winning records. They last did that Christmas Eve and Christmas Day in 1966 at Montreal and Chicago.
• Olli Jokinen scored his sixth goal of the season in the Panthers' 4-2 win over the Maple Leafs. All of Jokinen's goals have been scored at home; he's without a goal in eight road games. The only other players to start this season with six goals at home -- Brian Gionta and Jason Blake -- both scored goal No. 7 on the road.
• Vincent Lecavalier scored in his sixth consecutive game, the longest streak of his career, in the Lightning's 5-2 win over the Flyers. That's the second-longest streak in franchise history, two short of Tampa Bay's record, set by Brian Bradley in November 1992.
• Johan Holmqvist earned his first NHL win in the Lightning's victory, six years after his NHL debut for the Rangers (Oct. 27, 2000). Only one goaltender in modern NHL history had a longer wait from the time of his debut to his first victory: Frederic Chabot, who debuted for the Canadiens in 1991 but didn't record his first win until 1997 for the Kings.
• You know times are hard in Philadelphia when Peter Forsberg makes headlines with his ... penalties? Forsberg tied his NHL career high with four minor penalties and was two minutes shy of his personal high of 20 penalty minutes in a game in the Flyers' loss to the Lightning.
• Doug Weight had four assists in the Blues' 4-1 win over the Avalanche, the second time in the last three NHL seasons that Weight recorded an assist on all of his team's scores in a game of four or more goals. The only other player to do so even once during that time is Alexei Yashin, earlier this season for the Islanders.
• Jean-Sebastien Aubin suffered his first outright loss in 14 decisions since joining the Maple Leafs last March. Aubin was the first goaltender in Maple Leafs history to earn at least one point in each of his first 13 decisions, and he was the first since Roman Turek of the Flames in 2001 to do so for any team.
• Niklas Backstrom relieved Manny Fernandez and shut out the Canucks over the final 40 minutes to earn a victory in the Wild's 5-2 win. Backstrom is the first goaltender in the expansion era (that is, since 1967) to record wins in both of his first two NHL games, coming off the bench in both.
• Only eight of the 27 players in the Tour Championship broke par in Thursday's first round. The only other PGA Tour event this season in which so few players were under par in the first round was the U.S. Open, when only Colin Montgomerie did so.
• Joe Durant shot a 2-under 68 to share the first-round lead with Retief Goosen. Durant has led at the end of the first round only three times previously and not since the 2002 Byron Nelson Classic, when he faded to finish 56th after shooting a first-round 63.
• For the first time in his PGA Tour career, Geoff Ogilvy began a round with four bogeys on his first five holes. Ogilvy's previous high had been three bogeys through five holes, most recently in the 2006 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. Ogilvy was the first player in the history of the Tour Championship to bogey four of the first five holes in the first round.
• No eagles were recorded during the first round -- the first time since the second round in 2002 that the field failed to eagle any hole in a round at the Tour Championship.
• For the third consecutive season, Torii Hunter, Ichiro Suzuki, and Vernon Wells were the Gold Glove winners among American League outfielders. Only two other sets of three outfields won the award for three or more seasons in a row: Roberto Clemente, Curt Flood, and Willie Mays (six years from 1963-68); and Dwight Evans, Dwayne Murphy and Dave Winfield (four years from 1982-85).