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Minnesota Wild forward Mikko Koivu (9) prior to the game against the Winnipeg Jets at MTS Center. Bruce Fedyck-US PRESSWIRE

Bruce Fedyck/US PRESSWIRE

BY THE NUMBERS

9

Consecutive games with at least a point by the Anaheim Ducks' Teemu Selanne, the longest point streak in history by a player 41 or older.

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4

Shutouts for St. Louis Blues' goaltender Brian Elliott, tying him with Jonathan Quick (Los Angeles) and Tim Thomas (Boston) for the NHL lead. Elliott, cast off by both the Ottawa Senators and Colorado Avalanche last year, also leads the league in two other goaltending categories: save percentage (.944) and goals-against average (1.52). Oh and he earns a modest $600,000 on a one-year contract he signed to back up Jaro Halak last year.

QUOTABLES

"We're probably not going to get the benefit of the doubt on a whole lot of calls because of our reputation and the team we have."

- Kevin Bieksa...The Vancouver defenceman ruminates over the Canucks' long-standing reputation as whiners and complainers after a big hit by Detroit's Nicklas Kronwall on Ryan Kesler went unpunished during Wednesday's 4-2 win over the Red Wings.

"He obviously thought he has a higher power than everybody else and a little bit more arrogance."

-Steve Ott...The Dallas Stars player gets into a shoving match with Flyers' coach Peter Laviolette filing off the ice Wednesday, a night when Philadelphia rolled to a 4-1 win.

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TWEET OF THE WEEK

Darcy Tucker's coaching one of the teams in the Leafs scrimmage tonight. I hope he randomly charged over and dove into the bench.

@DownGoesBrown, who theorizes that not much will ever change with Tucker, a former protégé of Don Hay's in Kamloops many moons ago.

AROUND THE RINKS

When Koivus get injured

It was a tough month for the Koivu brothers, Saku and Mikko, both of whom were out with injuries in December. Saku's absence was acutely felt in Anaheim, where new coach Bruce Boudreau hasn't had a chance to look at him in the lineup since taking over, which is why a team that's not deep at centre at the best of times is struggling hard to cobble together a lineup. Anaheim is usually a slow starter, but it is so far behind now that it's hard to imagine the Ducks duplicating the second-half surge of last year when Corey Perry won MVP honours. Nothing about the current edition of the Ducks suggest they're anything but lame or dead (in the standing). Mikko Koivu's leg injury coincides with the Minnesota Wild's first dip of the season. They were 0-3-2 heading into Thursday's game in Edmonton, but still nicely in the playoff mix in the Western Conference, though no longer leading the league in points. Injuries to both Koivu and to Devin Setoguchi (knee) helped contribute to the recent slide.

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Sedin's head's-up play

Maybe you had to see it to appreciate it, but the Vancouver Canucks' Daniel Sedin made what will surely go into the archives as one of the quirkiest sequences of the year midway through Wednesday's game against the Detroit Red Wings. On the play, linemate Alex Burrows lofted a high backhand clearing from his zone into neutral ice. Sedin perched under it, like a centre fielder waiting for a lazy pop-off, but instead of waiting for the puck to drop to the ice, headed it – soccer style, off the top of his helmet – right into the Red Wings' zone, for a perfectly placed dump-in. Sometimes, a goaltender will deliberately play a puck off his mask – Dominik Hasek did it all the time – but rarely does it happen with a position player. Maybe all that soccer being played in the arena corridors by players warming up pre-game is starting to pay off.

Lightning still hurting

Martin St. Louis unexpectedly returned to the Tampa Bay Lightning lineup for Wednesday's 7-2 loss to the San Jose Sharks, wearing a full face shield to protect his mug, which is still tender after suffering multiple facial fractures on a shot from teammate Dominic Moore about two weeks before. But Tampa is really in a bad way, its goaltending – between Dwayne Roloson and Mathieu Garon – a disaster and its defence not much better. And when you get down so fast in a game, it's hard for the offensive stars – Steve Stamkos and the rest – to do much. When Steve Yzerman took over a listless Tampa team two years ago as general manager, he predicted the rebuild wouldn't happen overnight. Last year's unexpected playoff run notwithstanding, guess he was right, after all. Makes you wonder if Yzerman won't try to make a big, bold pitch to the Canucks for one of their two goalies, if not at the trading deadline, then next summer.

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About the Author

Eric was the winner of the Hockey Hall Of Fame's Elmer Ferguson award for "distinguished contributions to hockey writing" in 2001. A graduate of the University of Western Ontario's grad school of journalism, he began covering hockey in 1978 and after spending 20 years covering the NHL and the Calgary Flames, joined The Globe in 2000. More

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