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MAGIC TRICK: ORLANDO MAKES 24-POINT MIAMI LEAD DISAPPEAR
From Elias: The Heat's problems holding leads and closing out games reached new heights on Thursday night when Miami, playing at home, blew a 24-point lead and the Magic went home with a 99-96 victory. Only one other NBA team has lost a game after leading by 24-or-more points this season: the Pistons, who blew a 25-point lead in a 120-116 loss to the Raptors on December 11.
It's the second time that the Heat has lost a game in which it led by 20-or-more points this season. On November 9, also in Miami, the Heat blew a 22-point lead in dropping a 116-114 decision to the Jazz. Miami and Detroit are the only NBA teams to have lost a pair of games after having leads of 20-or-more points this season. The Heat is only the third NBA team in the last 10 seasons to lose two home games in one season in that manner. The Timberwolves suffered a pair of home losses in which they blew leads of 20-or-more points in the 2007-08 season. Prior to this season, the Heat had not lost a home game in which they led by 20-or-more points since Nov. 28, 2000.
Miami has won only five of 17 games decided by five-or-fewer points this season. That yields a winning percentage of .294, tying them with Philadelphia (also 5-12) for second-lowest in the league in such games, ahead of only Minnesota (4-12, .250).
HOWARD'S VERSATILITY AIDS ORLANDO'S COMEBACK
From Elias: Dwight Howard scored only 14 points in Thursday's game, but he also contributed 18 rebounds, five assists and five blocked shots to the cause for the Magic. It's the first time in Howard's NBA career that he's had at least 15 rebounds, 5 assists and 5 blocks in one game, and it's only the fifth such game by an NBA player over the last three seasons. The other players to do that were Marcus Camby and Pau Gasol in 2009-10, and Darko Milicic and Tim Duncan earlier this season.
ANDERSON HAS BEEN RED-HOT SINCE HE WAS TRADED TO OTTAWA
From Elias: Craig Anderson stopped 42 of the Thrashers' 43 shots on goal as he led the Senators to a 3-1 win in Atlanta. Anderson, who was traded to Ottawa by Colorado on February 18, is 4-2-0 with a 1.16 goals-against average and .966 save percentage in the six games he's played for the Senators, after posting a 3-11-1 record, 3.63 GAA and .885 save percentage over his final 16 games with the Avs.
JOSE THEODORE STARS OFF-BROADWAY
From Elias: Minnesota's Jose Theodore made 40 saves in his 3-1 win over the Rangers in New York. Theodore, who won all five games in which he's faced at least 40 shots on goal this season, is 13-3-2 in his last 18 games against the Rangers (dating back to 2002), including a 9-0-1 record in his last ten games at Madison Square Garden.
ANOTHER LATE-GAME TIEBREAKING GOAL FOR THE BRUINS
From Elias: Milan Lucic's goal with 3:42 remaining in the third period broke a 1-1 deadlock and enabled the Bruins to edge the Lightning, 2-1. It was Boston's league-high fifth tiebreaking goal in the last five minutes of the third period in games this season and the second such goal for Lucic, who put the Bruins ahead 2-1 at the 15:22 mark of the third period in Vancouver last Saturday. The Bruins' other late go-ahead goals were by grizzled veteran Mark Recchi (two) and rookie defenseman Steve Kampfer.
LEAFS' NINTH STRAIGHT ONE-GOAL GAME
From Elias: The Maple Leafs' 3-2 victory in Philadelphia was Toronto's ninth straight game decided by a one-goal margin (six wins, including one via a shootout; one overtime loss and two shootout losses). That matches the longest streak of consecutive games decided by no more than one goal (including ties) in Leafs franchise history. Toronto had a similar nine-game streak in March 2003. It's the longest single-season streak of its kind by an NHL team since the Flyers' nine-game streak in 2005-06.
SECOND OT GOAL FOR CANES' ROOKIE D-MAN
From Elias: Rookie defenseman Jamie McBain scored 26 seconds into overtime to earn the Hurricanes a 3-2 win against the Sabres. It was the second overtime goal of McBain's nascent NHL career; he scored with one second left in overtime in a game at Pittsburgh last season (March 20, 2010). McBain is only the second defenseman to score two overtime goals as a rookie since the NHL introduced the five-minute extra period in 1983. Chicago's Brent Seabrook scored two OT goals as a rookie in 2005-06.
THE PRICE WAS RIGHT IN FLORIDA
From Elias: Carey Price's 4-0 win over the Panthers in South Florida was his seventh shutout of the season. Price's seven clean sheets equal the highest single-season shutout total by a Canadiens goaltender since Ken Dryden retired. The other Montreal goaltenders with seven shutouts in one season in the post-Dryden era were Patrick Roy (1993-94), Jose Theodore (2001-02) and Cristobal Huet (2005-06).
ROOKIE DUO LEADS OILERS TO WIN OVER COLUMBUS
From Elias: Rookies Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle each scored a goal for the Oilers in their 4-2 win over the Blue Jackets. It was the fourth time that the two Edmonton rookies scored goals in the same game this season. That ties them with the Bruins' duo of Tyler Seguin and Brad Marchand for the highest total for any pair of rookie teammates in the NHL in 2010-11.
JASON ARNOTT'S CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT
From Elias: Jason Arnott, who picked up an assist in his Capitals debut on Tuesday, scored the winning goal against St. Louis in his second game for Washington. Arnott, who was traded by New Jersey to the Capitals on Monday, did not record points in consecutive games over his last 35 games with the Devils.