Elias Says ...

1/4/2007 - NHL NBA NFL MLB + more

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

" Richard Hamilton scored 15 straight points for the Pistons in the first quarter of their game against the Hornets. It was the second time this season that Hamilton scored 15 straight points for his team (he also did it Dec. 5 vs. Portland). The longest such streak in the NBA this season belongs to Peja Stojakovic, who scored 20 straight points for the Hornets on Nov. 14 against Charlotte.

" The Lakers and Kings combined for 47 free throw attempts in the second quarter Thursday night. That's the most combined free throws in any one quarter of an NBA game since the Nuggets and Celtics combined for 47 in the fourth quarter Feb. 10, 1998.

" The Mavericks have won 12 straight games for the second time this season. Only 11 other NBA teams won 12 consecutive games twice in the same season, the most recent being the Heat in 2004-05.

By posting their second 12-game winning streak in their 33rd game of the season, Dallas tied the record set by the Lakers in 1971-72 for fewest games needed to win 12 in a row twice.

" The Yankees reached a tentative agreement with the Diamondbacks to trade 43-year-old Randy Johnson to Arizona. In the past 15 years, the only pitcher to win 10 or more games in a season in which he was at least 43 years old at the beginning of the season was Jamie Moyer in 2006 (11 wins, age 43). The last pitcher to win at least 15 games in a season at that age was Phil Niekro in 1985 (16 wins, age 46).

Johnson won 17 games last season despite a 5.00 ERA. Since 1940, only three other pitchers won 17 or more games in a season with a 5.00 ERA or higher, and two of those three pitchers played their home games in Denver: Colorado Kevin Ritz in 1996 (17 wins, 5.28 ERA), Colorado's Pedro Astacio in 1999 (17 wins, 5.04 ERA) and Anaheim's Bartolo Colon in 2004 (18 wins, 5.01 ERA).

" LaDainian Tomlinson won The Associated Press' NFL Most Valuable Player Award. Tomlinson scored an NFL-record 31 touchdowns this season, 12 more than runner-up Larry Johnson. In only one other season did the NFL leader in touchdowns win the title by a double-figure margin. That was in 1987, when Jerry Rice (23 TDs) had 12 more touchdowns than Johnny Hector, Mike Quick and Charles White (they all had 11 TDs).

" Bill Cowher will announce his retirement Friday. Cowher has coached the Steelers since 1992. Only six other coaches lasted at least 15 consecutive seasons with their first NFL team. All six are in the Hall of Fame:

Coach Team Yrs. Seasons
Curly Lambeau Packers 29 1921-49
Tom Landry Cowboys 29 1960-88
Chuck Noll Steelers 23 1969-91
Steve Owen Giants 23 1931-53
Bud Grant Vikings 17 1967-83
Bill Cowher Steelers 15 1992-2006
Hank Stram Chiefs 15 1960-76

" The defending Stanley Cup champion Carolina Hurricanes have been shut out in each of their past two games: Tuesday at Pittsburgh (3-0) and Thursday vs. Phoenix (2-0). Over the past 50 years, only three other defending Cup champs were shut out in consecutive games: Toronto in December 1967, Edmonton in October 1990 and Colorado in November 2001.

" The Sharks beat the Red Wings 9-4 on Thursday night despite trailing 3-0 early in the game. San Jose is the first team in almost 16 years to win a game by five or more goals despite trailing by at least three goals at anytime during that game. The Penguins beat the Leafs 11-4 despite Toronto taking a 3-0 lead early in the second period in a game played Feb. 21, 1991, in Pittsburgh.

" Martin Straka scored all three goals for the Rangers in their 3-2 win over the Flyers. Straka was the first Ranger to record a hat trick in a win and account for all of his team's goals since Mark Messier did it Nov. 26, 1996, at Phoenix (3-1).

Straka went one step further by scoring a goal in each period. Only two players in Rangers history scored all of the team's goals in one game while registering at least one goal in each period (and we're including a win, loss or tie in this one): Frank Boucher at Detroit in December 1927 (3-1 win) and Dave Creighton at Chicago in March 1958 (3-2 win).

" Zach Parise scored two goals in the Devils' win over the Islanders. Parise, Patrik Elias (who scored No. 16 in this game), Brian Gionta (15) and Jamie Langenbrunner (15) have all scored at least 15 goals this season for the Devils, who have played 40 games. It's only the second time in franchise history that four players reached the 15-goal plateau in the team's first 40 games of a season. In 1989-90, Sylvain Turgeon, John MacLean, Brendan Shanahan and Kirk Muller all had at least 15 goals in New Jersey's first 37 games.

" Martin Brodeur stopped 40 of 43 shots on goal to lead the Devils to a 4-3 win over the Islanders at the Meadowlands. It was the 18th time in Brodeur's career that he faced 40-or-more shots on goal in a regular-season game but only the second time he did so in a game at New Jersey. The previous instance was a 3-3 tie against the Flyers on Dec. 12, 2003, when Philadelphia put 40 shots on net.

" The Maple Leafs beat the Bruins 10-2 at TD Banknorth Center, matching their most goals ever in a game at Boston (a mark they set in their first game in the city, in December 1924) and the most goals ever allowed in a home game by the Bruins (done six times previously).

The Leafs outscored the Bruins 4-0 in the third period. Why is that significant? Toronto was outscored 17-2 in the third period of its past seven road games.

Alexander Steen scored three goals for the Maple Leafs in their rout of the Bruins. Steen was the first Toronto player to register a hat trick against the Bruins since Rick Vaive on Nov. 14, 1985, and the first to do so in Boston since Pete Stemkowski scored three goals at Boston Garden on March 23, 1967.

Ian White was plus-6 for the Leafs on Thursday night. The last NHL player to have a plus/minus rating that high in one game was Philadelphia's Mike Rathje on Nov. 3, 2005 (plus-6). The last Maple Leaf with a plus/minus rating of plus-6 or better in a game was Al Iafrate on Feb. 3, 1990 (plus-6).

" The Blues have not allowed a first-period goal in any of their past 12 games, tying the modern-era NHL record set by the Kings in 1974-75. The all-time record for consecutive games without giving up a goal in the first period is 18 by the original Ottawa Senators in 1927-28.

" Here's a statistical oddity worth mentioning (or is it?). The Blues have led 1-0 at the end of the first period in each of their past six home games.