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RAPTORS' FOURTH STRAIGHT 10-POINT COMEBACK WIN
Toronto trailed by 16 points but rallied to beat the Knicks, 106-104, on Thursday night. It was the Raptors' fourth straight win and they were behind by at least 10 points in each game. They're the first NBA team to win four consecutive games despite trailing by 10 or more points in each game since the Suns did that in November 2002.
TORONTO'S FORWARDS LEAD THE WAY IN WIN OVER KNICKS
Chris Bosh tallied 27 points and 15 rebounds while Hedo Turkoglu added 26 points and 11 boards in the Raptors' win over the Knicks. It was the first time this season that an NBA team's two starting forwards each recorded at least 25 points and 10 rebounds in the same game. The last pair of starting forwards to do that was Toronto's Bosh and Shawn Marion on April 13 last season at Washington. Bosh and Marion each posted 25 points and 15 rebounds in that game.
MAGIC WIN WITH ONLY EIGHT ASSISTS
Orlando came from behind to beat Boston, 96-94, despite recording only eight assists in the game. The eight assists were the fewest ever in a win by the Magic. It was the fourth time this season that an NBA team won a game in which its assist total was no higher than eight and it was the second such win in the last two days; Denver, with a mere seven assists, beat Portland on Wednesday. There were only four such victories in the NBA over the past 17 seasons combined.
NOWITZKI SETS MAVERICKS RECORD FOR GAMES PLAYED
Dirk Nowitzki became the all-time leader in games played for the Mavericks when he started against the Suns on Thursday night. Nowitzki passed Brad Davis, who played 883 games for Dallas from 1980 to 1992. The only other active players who lead their current team in career games are Cleveland's Zydrunas Ilgauskas (753 games) and Charlotte's Gerald Wallace (373).373
SENATORS' EIGHT-GAME WINNING STREAK
The Senators posted their eighth consecutive win with a 4-1 victory over the Penguins. All eight wins have come in regulation time and Ottawa has held its opponent to two or fewer goals in each game. The Senators are the first NHL team to record eight straight regulation wins while allowing no more than two goals in each game since the Devils had an eight-game streak in November 1997.
What makes the Senators' eight-game winning streak all the more remarkable is that it began with Ottawa on a five-game losing streak in which each loss was by at least three goals. No other team in NHL history won more than two consecutive games immediately following five or more straight losses by a three-goal or larger margin.
CANES POST THIRD STRAIGHT WIN
Carolina extended its winning streak to three games with a 4-1 victory against the Islanders that followed 5-1 wins over the Bruins and Rangers. It's the first time in Whalers/Hurricanes history that they've won three consecutive games by at least a three-goal margin while allowing no more than one goal in each game.
ERIC STAAL'S FIVE-GAME PPG STREAK
Eric Staal opened the scoring in the Hurricanes' win over the Islanders with a first-period power play goal. It was Staal's fifth consecutive game with a power play goal, tying the Hartford/Carolina franchise record set by Cory Stillman in 2005-06. It also equals the longest PPG streak by an NHL player over the last ten seasons, and the three other instances were concurrent, running through the same day (Jan. 7, 2006) in the 2005-06 season, by Stillman, Atlanta's Ilya Kovalchuk and Pittsburgh's Michel Ouellet.
THRASHERS' COMEBACK ROAD WIN
The Thrashers trailed 3-1 through the first two periods of their game in Philadelphia but Atlanta outscored the Flyers 3-0 in the third period to record a come-from-behind 4-3 win. It was the second time this season that the Thrashers won a road game in regulation time after trailing by two goals or more in the third period. They won 6-4 at Carolina on November 27, having trailed 4-1 going into the third period. Atlanta had only one such road win before this season: at Toronto on Dec. 5, 2006 (trailed 2-0 in third period, won 5-2).
KOPITAR REACHES THE CENTURY MARK
Anze Kopitar scored two goals, the 100th and 101st of his four-year NHL career, in the Kings' 4-1 win at Columbus. Kopitar is the second player to enter the league in the last four seasons and reach triple-figures in goals. Evgeni Malkin, who, like Kopitar, made his debut in the 2006-07 season, has scored 134 goals in the NHL.
COYOTES WIN SHORT SHOOTOUT
The Coyotes beat the Flames in a shootout that was as brief as can be. Robert Lang and Lauri Korpikoski scored on Phoenix's two shootout attempts, while Calgary's Olli Jokinen and Mikael Backlund had their shots stopped by Ilya Bryzgalov. There were 16 shootouts that required only the minimum four shots from October through December this season, but the Coyotes' win on Thursday was the first such shootout in the NHL in January.
OILERS' WINLESS STREAK REACHES A DOZEN GAMES
The Blues' 2-1 win in Edmonton extended the Oilers' winless streak to 12 games (0-10-2). That equals the second-longest winless streak in team history. The Oilers went winless in a record 14 straight games in October/November 1993, and they had a 12-game win drought in February/March 2007.
RARE BACK-TO-BACK STARTS FOR JOSH HARDING
Josh Harding, starting in goal for Minnesota for the second straight night in place of the injured Niklas Backstrom, posted a 1-0 shutout win at Colorado, following his 5-2 victory over the Red Wings on Wednesday. It's only the second time that Harding started NHL games on consecutive days. He did that on Dec. 14-15, 2007, posting wins for the Wild at Anaheim and Los Angeles.
TROY BROUWER'S OVERTIME GOAL
Troy Brouwer scored his second goal of the game to give the Blackhawks a 4-3 overtime win at San Jose, after Chicago squandered a 3-0 first-period lead. Brouwer has 17 goals this season but his OT winner was only his second goal scored after the 40-minute mark. (He's scored nine first-period goals and six in the second period.)