Elias Says ...

A daily glance inside the numbers from the world of sports.

Updated: October 27, 2006, 10:57 AM ET
By Elias Sports Bureau, Inc. | Special to ESPN Insider

A daily glance inside the numbers from the world of sports:

World Series
• The Cardinals came back from a three-run deficit to win Game 4 of the World Series. That matched the largest World Series comeback in Cardinals history. They did that twice before. Ken Boyer's sixth-inning grand slam erased a 3-0 Yankees lead in Game 4 of the 1964 World Series, a 4-3 St. Louis win. Steve Braun drew a four-pitch walk from Pete Ladd with the bases loaded in the bottom of the eighth inning in a 5-4 Cardinals win in Game 2 of the 1982 Series against the Brewers. Milwaukee held a 3-0 lead in that game.

The Cardinals won both of those series in seven games.

• Detroit pitchers have committed an error in each of the first four games of the Series. The Tigers are the first team in major league history to have an error by a pitcher in four straight postseason games. This is a rare feat in the regular season as well. Since 1993, only two teams had an error from a pitcher in four (or more) consecutive games: Minnesota in 2003 and Seattle in 2002. Both streaks were four games in length.

 David Eckstein
Eckstein

David Eckstein had three doubles in Game 4. Eckstein is the third player in the past 50 years to get three doubles in a World Series game. Trot Nixon did it for the Red Sox in Game 4 of the 2004 Series, and Bret Boone did it for the Braves in Game 3 in 1999.

There were nine doubles hit in Game 4 by both teams combined (St. Louis had six). Only one other World Series game in the past 80 years had that many two-base hits. The Pirates and Orioles combined for nine doubles in Game 4 of the 1979 Fall Classic.

Carlos Guillen, the Tigers' shortstop in Game 4, started in the third spot in the batting order. Guillen was the seventh shortstop to start in the No. 3 slot in a World Series game. The other shortstops to do that were Art Fletcher (1913 Giants), Lou Boudreau (1948 Indians), Gil McDougald (1957 Yankees), Dick Groat (1964 Cardinals), Cal Ripken (1983 Orioles) and Derek Jeter (2001 and 2003 Yankees).

• It's always something different with Tony La Russa. On Wednesday night, it was a steal by Aaron Miles with the Cardinals trailing by three runs and pitcher Jeff Suppan at bat. It was the first stolen base in a postseason game by a team trailing by at least three runs and the pitcher batting since 1913. In that instance, Claude Cooper stole second base with Jeff Tesreau at bat for John McGraw's New York Giants.

 Placido Polanco
Polanco

Placido Polanco went 0-for-4 and extended his World Series hitless streak to 14 at-bats, the longest such streak by any player to begin the World Series in a year in which he was named the MVP of a League Championship Series. Polanco broke the record held by Kirby Puckett, who was held hitless in his first 10 Series at-bats in 1991, after taking ALCS MVP honors.

NHL
• The Ottawa Senators played their ninth game of the season Thursday night, and for the fourth time their opponent was the Toronto Maple Leafs. (It was Toronto's 11th game of the season.) It's only the second time in the past 85 seasons that an NHL team faced one opponent four times within its first nine games. In 1966-67, the last gasp of the "Original Six" NHL, the Rangers and Maple Leafs played four times in each team's first eight games of the season.

 Dany Heatley
Heatley

Dany Heatley scored three goals in Ottawa's win. Heatley has 19 goals in 20 career games against the Maple Leafs since he joined the league in 2001-02. Only one other NHL player has as many goals against a particular team since 2001-02 as Heatley has against Toronto: Ilya Kovalchuk, who has scored 19 goals against Carolina over that span.

Andrei Markov scored at 19:58 of the third period to lift the Canadiens to a 3-2 victory over the Bruins. It was third time this season that a player scored a game-winning goal with five seconds or less remaining in the third period. Sidney Crosby did it against the Rangers on Oct. 12 (at 19:56 of the third period), and Ray Whitney against the Thrashers on Oct. 13 (at 19:59).

There were only three such goals scored in the NHL all last season.

The last Canadiens player to score a game-winning goal that late in the third period was Pierre Turgeon on Oct. 21, 1995, against Toronto (19:59).

The Canadiens have won their past six games against the Bruins, the longest winning streak for either team in this rivalry since Montreal won seven in a row during the 1988-89 season.

• John Stevens, who was behind the bench as the head coach of the Flyers for the first time Thursday night, played nine games for Philadelphia in the mid-1980s. Stevens is the fourth man to both play for and coach the Flyers. The others to do that were Paul Holmgren, Terry Murray and Bill Barber.

Philadelphia won in a shootout in Stevens' coaching debut. The Flyers are 4-0-2 in the first game following their past six coaching changes.

 Ilya Kovalchuk
Kovalchuk

• After failing to score a goal in his first five games of the season, Ilya Kovalchuk has scored seven goals in his past six games. Kovalchuk is tied with Chris Drury (seven) for the most goals in the NHL since Oct. 14.

• In a strategic move by Thrashers coach Bob Hartley, Kari Lehtonen replaced Johan Hedberg in the Atlanta net to start the shootout Thursday night, after not playing at all during regulation time or overtime. Lehtonen became the third goaltender to participate in a shootout after not playing during the game. Martin Biron did it for Buffalo on Nov. 22, 2005, (replacing an injured Mika Noronen) and Mike Morrison for Edmonton on March 7, 2005, (replacing Ty Conklin in another strategic switch). In all three instances, the goaltender coming in "cold" off the bench allowed a goal on each of the first two shootout attempts he faced and the opposition won the game.

• Buffalo's 3-0 victory over the Islanders extended its season-opening winning streak to 10 games, tying an NHL record set by the 1993-94 Maple Leafs. The win also extends the Sabres' season-opening road winning streak to six games, one shy of the league record. Three teams won their first seven road games in a season: Toronto in 1940-41, Philadelphia in 1985-86 and Detroit in 2005-06. Three others won their first six road contests: Detroit in 1997-98 and 2001-02, and the Islanders in 2001-02.

 Martin St. Louis
St. Louis

• Dany Heatley and Martin St. Louis scored hat tricks Thursday night. There have been 11 hat tricks in 142 games this season. That's the most three-goal games in the first 142 games of the season since 1997-98 (12).

• Ted Nolan and the Islanders hosted the Sabres on Thursday night. It was the first time Nolan faced his former team since Buffalo did not rehire him following the 1996-97 season, when Nolan won the Jack Adams Award as coach of the year, leading the Sabres to first place in their division.

Nolan is the only coach not to return to the same team to start the next season immediately after winning the Jack Adams Award, which was first given out following the 1973-74 season.

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