Thursday, February 22, 2007
Updated: February 23, 10:20 AM ET
Elias Says ...
By Elias Sports Bureau, Inc.
Special to ESPN Insider
A daily glance inside the numbers from the world of sports:
• Eight of the 12 NHL games played Thursday night went to overtime. That's a league record for most overtime games in one day. The previous record of seven was set March 27, 2004.
• Martin Brodeur was the winning goaltender in the Devils' 3-2 shootout victory over the Rangers. Brodeur is now 12-9-12 in his career at Madison Square Garden, tying him with Tom Barrasso (12-10-1) for the most regular-season wins by a visiting goaltender at the current MSG.
• Devils defenseman Brian Rafalski scored only two goals in his first 56 games this season, but his goal Thursday night against the Rangers was his fifth in New Jersey's last five games. Rafalski is only the second New Jersey defenseman to score five (or more) goals over a span of five team games in one season. Dave Pichette scored six goals over a five-game span for the Devils in December 1984.
• Defenseman Glen Wesley scored a shorthanded goal 16 seconds into overtime to give the Hurricanes a 3-2 win over the Flyers. It was the only the fifth shorthanded goal in overtime by an NHL defenseman since the five-minute overtime period was instituted in 1983-84. Interestingly, all five have come since the league put in the four-on-four, guaranteed-point for OT losers format in 1999-2000. The defensemen who did it before Wesley were the Kings' Aaron Miller (2001-02), the Lightning's Pavel Kubina (2003-04), the Blue Jackets' Adam Foote (2005-06) and the Coyotes' Keith Ballard (2005-06).
The goal was the first overtime goal of Wesley's 19-season NHL career, coming in his 1,366th regular-season game. Entering the game, Wesley had appeared in the second-most games among active players who had never scored an overtime goal. Atlanta forward Scott Mellanby, who played in his 1,413th career game Thursday night, is still seeking his first overtime tally
• Ryan Smyth scored his 30th goal of the season for the Oilers in their win at Columbus on Thursday night. Smyth, who scored 36 goals for Edmonton in 2005-06, is the first Oilers player to reach the 30-goal plateau in consecutive seasons since 1989-90, when Jari Kurri had his 10th straight 30-goal campaign, Mark Messier his fifth and Esa Tikkanen his second.
• Starting goaltenders Ray Emery and Martin Biron each received a fighting major during a brawl at the 5:13 mark of the second period in the Ottawa-Buffalo game. In fact, Emery got two fighting majors -- he traded punches with the Sabres' Andrew Peters in addition to his fellow netminder, Biron -- and both goaltenders were ejected from the game. It was the first time that both goaltenders on ice in a NHL game got a fighting major at the same time since March 20, 2004, when Nashville's Tomas Vokoun and Calgary's Miikka Kiprusoff became involved after the final buzzer of a 3-1 Predators victory. The last pair of netminders to earn co-incidental fighting majors during play was Ottawa's Patrick Lalime and Philadelphia's Robert Esche on March 5, 2004.
• The Sabres went 5-0-1 on their just-completed six-game homestand. The five wins matched Buffalo's highest total ever on a single homestand. The Sabres won all five games of a homestand in February 1989.
• Jaroslav Halak has won each of his first three NHL games. Over the past 27 seasons, only one other Montreal goaltender won his first three career NHL decisions: Yann Danis in 2005-06.
• Trent Hunter scored both goals for the Islanders in their game against the Maple Leafs on Thursday night, which the Isles won via a shootout. Hunter struggled to score over the first three months of the season, notching just five goals in 32 games through the end of December, but he leads the Islanders with 12 goals (in 24 games) in calendar year 2007.
• Evgeni Nabokov made 21 saves to lead the Sharks to a 2-0 win over the Blackhawks in Chicago. It was Nabokov's 30th shutout over the last six seasons, second-most over that span by an NHL goaltender, though a distant second to Martin Brodeur, who has 49 shutouts since 2000-01.
• The Mavericks' win over the Heat on Thursday night extended their winning streak to 10 games. It's the third time this season that Dallas has had a winning streak of at least 10 games. Only four other teams in NBA history have posted three double-digit streaks in one season: the 1999-2000 Lakers, 1980-81 76ers, 1971-72 Lakers (all during a league-record 33-game winning streak), and 1970-71 Bucks, who had four winning streaks of 10-plus games.
• Gilbert Arenas scored 30 of his 43 points in the first half of the Wizards' victory over the Kings. It was the most points by an NBA player in the first half of a game since Kobe Bryant dropped 30 in the opening half against the Warriors on April 11, 2006.
Arenas scored 31 points in the second half of a game against the Jazz on Jan. 15. He's the only NBA player to score 30 (or more) points in a half more than once this season.
• Ben Wallace had 14 points, 19 rebounds and seven blocks in the Bulls' win over the Cavaliers. Wallace is only the second player in Bulls history to reach those levels in those three categories in the same game. Artis Gilmore did it twice: March 25, 1977, against the Knicks (21 points, 21 rebounds, 9 blocks) and April 16, 1982, vs. Cleveland (28, 19, 8).
• Dennis Johnson, widely regarded as one of the great clutch players in NBA history, averaged 14.1 points per game in the regular season during his 14-year NBA career but in 37 games in the NBA Finals he averaged 18.3 points per game. Among the 65 players in NBA history who played at least 800 games in the regular season and 15 games in the Finals, only two had a larger increase in their Finals PPG average over their regular-season mark than Johnson's 4.2: Hakeem Olajuwon, who was plus 5.7 (21.8 to 27.5) and James Worthy, who was plus 4.6 (17.6 to 22.2).
• Tiger Woods and David Toms both advanced to the Sweet 16 of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship. It's the sixth time that each golfer has reached the third round in the nine-year history of the event, the most such appearances for any golfer. Phil Mickelson, with five Sweet 16 appearances, lost his chance to stay with them at the top when he lost to Justin Rose.