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BIG BEN HAS A BIG FIRST HALF
From Elias: Ben Roethlisberger threw for 259 yards in the first half to help the Steelers forge a 20-0 lead at the intermission, on their way to a 27-3 win over the Panthers. It was Big Ben's career high for passing yards in a first half, besting his previous best by a margin of 20.
ROETHLISBERGER AND WALLACE COMBINE TO TIE STEELERS RECORD
From Elias: Ben Roethlisberger's 43-yard touchdown pass to Mike Wallace on Thursday night marked the seventh time that they combined for a TD pass of 40 or more yards, tying a Steelers career record held by Bubby Brister and Louis Lipps.
ORLANDO'S SHOOTERS HAD THE MAGIC TOUCH AGAINST THE SPURS
From Elias: The Magic defeated the Spurs, 123-101, on 59.5 percent shooting from the floor (50 for 84). That was the highest field-goal percentage in a game against San Antonio since Washington went 43 for 72 (59.7%) against them on St. Patrick's Day in 1997 - the year before Tim Duncan was drafted by the Spurs.
HOWARD FALLS ONE SHORT OF 30-POINT NIGHT
From Elias: Dwight Howard scored 29 points in the Magic's rout of the Spurs. Howard fell one point short of becoming the first center to score 30 against San Antonio this season, but he remains the only starting center to have reached the 30-point mark against the Spurs more than once over the last six seasons. Howard had two 30-point games versus San Antonio during that time; Pau Gasol and Al Jefferson had one each.
ROLOSON WINS BATTLE OF NHL'S OLDEST GOALTENDERS
From Elias: The Islanders spoiled things for Jacques Lemaire in the first game of his third stint as head coach of the Devils by winning 5-1 at New Jersey. It was also a matchup of the two oldest goaltenders in the NHL: 41-year-old Dwayne Roloson and 38-year-old Martin Brodeur. Roloson's win was his first in the eight career games in which he's faced Brodeur (six starts, two relief appearances). He had five losses, one tie and one no-decision in his previous games against Brodeur.
LIGHTNING'S "BIG THREE" ALL STRIKE VS. RANGERS
From Elias: Martin St. Louis, Steven Stamkos and Vincent Lecavalier scored the three "real" goals for the Lightning in their 4-3 shootout win over the Rangers. It's the first time this season that each member of Tampa Bay's "Big Three" has scored goals in the same game and the eighth time since Stamkos entered the NHL in October 2008. The Lightning have won all eight games.
RANGER ROOKIE'S GOAL-SCORING STREAK
From Elias: Derek Stepan extended his goal streak to three games when he scored the tying goal for the Rangers in the third period of their game against Tampa Bay. Stepan is the first Rangers rookie to score goals in each of three consecutive team games since Petr Prucha did that in December 2005.
ANOTHER THREE-ASSIST GAME FOR HENRIK SEDIN
From Elias: Henrik Sedin matched his career high for points in one game when he registered one goal and three assists against the Blue Jackets on Thursday. It was Henrik's 23rd career game with at least three assists and his league-high eighth such game in calendar year 2010. The only other NHL player with more than four three-assist games since January 1 is Sidney Crosby with six.
CROSBY ENDS THE SUSPENSE EARLY
From Elias: Sidney Crosby's first-period goal against the Capitals on Thursday extended his point streak to 23 games. Crosby has recorded first-period points in 13 of the 23 games during his streak, including each of the last four games.
FLYERS WILL BE #1 IN THE NHL AT CHRISTMAS
From Elias: The Red Wings' loss at St. Louis assured the idle Flyers of having the NHL's best record (by points percentage) at the Christmas break. It's the first time that Philadelphia has had the league's best record at the two-day holiday hiatus since 1986-87. That was the fifth time that the the Flyers had the NHL's best record at Christmas over a ten-season span beginning in 1977-78 .
KOVALEV DOESN'T SCORE OFTEN BUT HE DOES SCORE FIRST
From Elias: Alex Kovalev's first-period goal gave the Senators a 1-0 lead in their game at Nashville, which Ottawa won, 2-1. Kovalev has scored goals in only four of his last 26 games but in each one of the games in which he's scored he has tallied the contest's first goal.
KIPRUSOFF'S ROAD SHOOTOUT WIN
From Elias: Miikka Kiprusoff bested his Finnish countryman Kari Lehtonen in the shootout that gave the Flames a 3-2 win at Dallas. Kiprusoff has not been one of the best shootout goaltenders in the six seasons since the NHL began using the tiebreaker, as his 15-23 record in those showdowns would indicate. But he's recorded twice as many shootout wins on the road (10-12) than he has in Calgary (5-11).
CULLEN SCORES POINTS EVERY WHICH WAY IN WILD WIN
From Elias: Matt Cullen scored two goals, one shorthanded and one at even strength, and added a power play assist in Minnesota's 3-1 win at Colorado. It was Cullen's 22nd career game with three points or more but only the second game in which he recorded points at even strength, on the power play and shorthanded. His first such game was for the Ducks at Pittsburgh in October 2001.
BERGLUND EXCELS AGAINST THE CENTRAL DIVISION
From Elias: Patrik Berglund, who had scored only two goals in his last 25 games entering play on Thursday, scored twice for the Blues in their win over the Red Wings. Berglund has scored six goals in 12 games this season against Central Division opponents but only two goals in 22 games versus the rest of the league.
SCOTT GOMEZ'S POINT STREAK
From Elias: Scott Gomez contributed a goal and an assist to help the Canadiens edge the Hurricanes, 3-2. Gomez has tallied eight points during his current five-game point streak that began on December 15 (one goal, seven assists), only one fewer than he had in his 28 previous games this season.