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John Kreiser | columnist
Jan 5, 2007, 12:00 PM EST

Leafs bring back images of Sittler

Toronto's 10-2 victory over the Boston Bruins Thursday night was one for the record books. It was the first time Toronto hit double figures against the Bruins since Feb. 7, 1976 - the night that Darryl Sittler set the NHL record with 10 points (six goals, four assists) in a game. It was also only the second time that a Toronto team scored 10 goals in Boston - the other came on Dec. 22, 1924, when the Toronto St. Pats (they were renamed as the Maple Leafs for the 1926-27 season) drubbed the first-year Bruins 10-1 in their first-ever visit to Boston.

Blues get the message

The St. Louis Blues wear the same jerseys under Andy Murray that they did under Mike Kitchen. That's about the only thing that hasn't changed since Murray took over as coach on Dec. 11. The Blues have been an entirely different team since the coaching change.

The Blues were 7-17-4 in 28 games under Kitchen, having scored 64 goals and allowed 100 (including shootouts), the second-largest differential in the NHL. They had surrendered 34 of those goals in the first period, among the most in the NHL.

But after Thursday night's 2-0 victory over Chicago, the Blues were 6-3-3 in their first 12 games under Murray, including a 6-1-1 mark in their last eight games. And if nothing else, the Blues have solved their first-period defensive struggles: They haven't allowed a goal in the opening 20 minutes of a game since Murray's arrival. That ties the NHL record set in 1974 by the Los Angeles Kings - ironically, the Blues were the team that ended the Kings' streak that season by scoring a first-period goal in the 13th game.

In all, the Blues allowed just 26 goals in Murray's first 12 games, an average of less than 2.2 per game, after allowing 100 in 28 games (3.6 per game) before his arrival.

A Game To Forget

Dominik Hasek allowed eight of the nine goals surrendered by Detroit in Thursday's 9-4 loss at San Jose, marking the worst game of his NHL career. "The Dominator" had never allowed eight goals in a game since entering the NHL in 1990, and he hadn't surrendered as many as seven in more that eight years - since Jan. 1, 1999, when he allowed all seven goals in Anaheim's 7-2 victory at Buffalo. The eight goals were as many as Hasek had allowed in his last six appearances combined, and he hadn't allowed more than four in a game all season.

The Sharks' power-play units must be sorry the Wings don't come back to town again this season. San Jose scored six power-play goals against Detroit in the rout and have scored five or more man-advantage goals in each of the Wings' last three visits to the Shark Tank, dating back to the first game after the Olympics last February. They're 16-for-29 (55.2 percent) on the power play in those games.

Good Omen

Maybe the Sharks should have brought up Joe Pavelski a little sooner. Pavelski scored a goal against Los Angeles in his NHL debut on Nov. 22 and now has nine goals in only 19 NHL games after scoring in Thursday's victory over Detroit. The Sharks are now 8-0 in games in which Pavelski scores a goal.

Simply Grand

The Edmonton Oilers enter the weekend with exactly 1,000 NHL victories after reaching the milestone with a 4-1 victory over Florida on Jan. 2. They reached 1,000 victories in 2,115 games, faster than any other team except the Philadelphia Flyers (2,018) and Montreal Canadiens (2,064). Buffalo is fourth with 2,118.

It's not surprising that the Oilers' quest for their second 1,000 wins got off to a bad start - they were playing the Dallas Stars, who left Rexall Place Thursday night with a 6-5 shootout victory. Since the franchise moved from Minnesota to Dallas, they Stars are 38-9-5 against the Oilers, their best record against any opponent.

Keep Him Healthy

How important is Rod Brind'Amour to the Carolina Hurricanes? Consider that with Brind'Amour in the lineup, Carolina's penalty-killers have allowed 27 goals in 204 chances, an 86.8 percent success rate that would put the 'Canes in the top five in the NHL. But in the four games he missed last month, they allowed 10 in 27 chances, just 63.0 percent - a big reason why the Hurricanes are 1-2-1 without their captain in the lineup.

Another reason Brind'Amour is indispensable: He takes, and wins, more faceoffs than anyone in the NHL. Despite sitting out four games, Brind'Amour has taken 1,032 faceoffs - no other player has taken as many as 850. He's won 608 of them, a 58.9 percent success rate that's second to the Islanders' Mike Sillinger (59.1) among players who've taken 500 or more draws this season.

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