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Riding the Zamboni – Tuesday, March 8th

Mar 9, 2011, 8:00 AM EDT

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Patrick Marleau, Joe Pavelski, Dany Heatley AP

For a roundup of the first seven games, click here. Now let’s take a look at the two late games from a busy Tuesday in the NHL.

Vancouver 4, Phoenix 3 (OT)

It seems like the most desperate teams are often the ones who win the tightest games, except in the case of elite squads such as the Red Wings and Canucks. They frequently prevail because they’re just flat-out better than everyone else.

Ilya Bryzgalov stopped 35 shots and Eric Belanger provided three points (one goal and two assists) in a losing effort, as the Canucks took advantage of great efforts from Dan Hamhuis (two goals) and the Sedin twins to win their third game in a row.

The Canucks bolstered their Presidents Trophy hopes by hitting the 95 point mark while the Coyotes continue to scrap and stumble, as they’re now in sixth place with 79 points in 68 games played.

San Jose 3, Nashville 2 (OT)

The theme of this recap session seems to be (slightly to obviously) superior Western teams edging out admirable scrappers. In this case, the Pacific Division-leading Sharks managed to carve out an overtime win against the desperate Predators thank to an overtime goal by Patrick Marleau.

This isn’t the first time Marleau’s scored an overtime winner against Nashville, as he also managed such a feat in a 2-1 OT win vs. the Predators on February 15th. Don’t discount the Predators’ efforts, though, as Nashville came back from two one-goal deficits to send it to extra time.

San Jose might just be peaking at the right time. They’ve won nine of their last 10 games and generally seem to resemble the team that once made the Pacific Division title an afterthought by February or so. We’ll see if that ends up making a difference during the playoffs, though.

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