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Elias Says ...

1/14/2007 - NBA NHL NFL Golf + more

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

NFL

• Adam Vinatieri went 5-for-5 on field-goal attempts and provided all of his team's points in the Colts' 15-6 victory at Baltimore. He is now 34-for-42 on field-goal attempts in postseason play, and during Saturday's game, he surpassed Gary Anderson's previous NFL records of 33 postseason field goals and 40 attempts.

First off, it was the second time in his NFL career -- not the third, as was mentioned a couple of times during the telecast of the game -- that Vinatieri has kicked five field goals in a postseason game. He's the only player in NFL history who has booted five field goals in a postseason game more than once. (The other time that he made five field goals in a playoff game -- he went 5-for-5 that day, too -- came at the expense of the Colts in the 2003 AFC Championship Game in Foxborough.)

Vinatieri also tied Matt Bahr's NFL record of scoring the most points in a postseason game in which he scored all of his team's points. Bahr made five field goals in the Giants' 15-13 win at San Francisco in the 1990 NFC Championship Game.

• The Colts-Ravens game was only the fourth of the 422 postseason games played in NFL history (including the Eagles-Saints game) in which neither team scored a touchdown. Fair enough.

But get a load of this: Since the NFL started keeping statistics in 1933, the Colts-Ravens contest was also the first game in either regular-season or postseason play in which each team had the same number of pass plays (31, a total that includes times sacked) and the same total of net passing yards (161). (Oh, yes, each team also was intercepted twice and, of course, had no touchdown passes.)

How many other times have we seen a 15-6 final score in the NFL? Never before in the postseason and just once in the regular season: a 15-6 win by the Brooklyn Dodgers over the Eagles at Ebbets Field in Nov. 1941. (Hawaii fans of Elias Says: Yes, the AFC did win the Pro Bowl by a 15-6 score in February 1988.)

• The Colts won despite gaining only 261 yards on offense. Since Peyton Manning arrived in 1998, they had never won a postseason game in which they gained so few yards. If you're wondering about the regular season, they have won three games since 1998 with so few yards (although Manning only played a few plays in one of them, the 2005 regular-season finale).

During the 2006 regular season, the Colts' lowest offensive output was 272 yards in a 21-14 win over the Jaguars back in September.

• The Saints are one of the six current NFL franchises that have never played in a Super Bowl, along with the Lions, Cardinals, Browns, Jaguars and Texans -- but that's a story for another day.

Today's story is that the Saints have moved to within a game of the Super Bowl for the first time in team history. That leaves the Cardinals and the Texans as the only NFL teams that have never advanced to within one game of a Super Bowl.

• The Saints and the Eagles -- two teams that had finished in last place in the 2005 season -- put on an entertaining playoff game won by the Saints, 27-24. And, by the way: Were you like us, and had heard or read repeatedly that this was the first playoff game in history in which each team had finished in last place in their respective divisions the previous season?

Where did that come from? In last year's playoffs, the Redskins met the Buccaneers (both had finished in last place in 2004); in the 2004 playoffs, the Jets met the Chargers (both had finished in last place in 2003); in the 2003 playoffs, the Cowboys met the Panthers (both had finished in last place in 2002).

You want unique? Here's unique. The Saints beat the Eagles 27-24 at the Superdome during the regular season, and then beat them by the same score in the same building in the playoffs. It's the first time in NFL history that one team has beaten another by the same score and in the same stadium in the postseason that it had during the preceding regular season.

• Deuce McAllister was the man in the Saints victory, gaining 143 rushing yards, scoring two third-quarter touchdowns and then running for the game-clinching first down.

Only two other players in NFL history had a postseason game in which they had a rushing touchdown, a receiving touchdown, and at least 140 rushing yards. Keith Lincoln did that for the Chargers in the 1963 AFL Championship Game (206 rushing yards) and Tony Dorsett did it in a 1980 first-round game (160 rushing yards).

• Jeff Garcia connected with Donte' Stallworth's for a 75-yard touchdown pass to propel the Eagles to a first-half lead. It was the longest touchdown on a play from scrimmage in Eagles' postseason history; the old record was set in 1979, when Ron Jaworski and Billy Campfield connected on a 63-yard touchdown pass.

Saturday's touchdown was especially sweet for Stallworth, who played for the Saints for four seasons before being dealt to the Eagles before the 2006 season began. In fact, Stallworth set an NFL postseason record for the longest touchdown scored against a former team. The previous mark was held by Shannon Sharpe, who scored on a 58-yard reception in the Ravens' 21-3 victory over Sharpe's former team, the Broncos, in the 2000 playoffs.

NBA

• Kevin Garnett became the 32nd player in NBA history to reach the 10,000-rebound mark when he collected the seventh of his 14 rebounds (to go with 32 points) in the Timberwolves' 109-98 victory over the Nets.

Among those 32 players, Garnett is one of 14 who carried a career average of more than 20 points per game, and his career average of 4.5 assists per game is the highest among the members of the 10,000-rebound club, narrowly ahead of Wilt Chamberlain (4.4), Elgin Baylor (4.3) and Bill Russell (4.3).

• The Rockets continued their torrid play with a 115-111 overtime win at Sacramento. Forty-year-old Dikembe Mutombo played 39 minutes and gathered 18 rebounds -- his 10th consecutive game with a double-digit rebound total.

Sacramento's Mike Bibby went 0-for-9 on three-point field-goal attempts, setting a franchise record for most threes attempted with none made.

• The Pistons defeated the Celtics 81-73, marking their sixth straight victory over Boston, matching the most consecutive regular-season victories that the Pistons have ever enjoyed over the Celtics. They won six straight over Boston from March 1999 to April 2000.

NHL

• The Devils and the Islanders played scoreless hockey through the first 58 minutes of their game on Saturday night. Then the Devils' John Madden scored at 18:42 of the third period, only to see the Islanders' Miroslav Satan counter with the tying goal at 19:58. Scott Gomez scored 3:40 into overtime to lift New Jersey to a 2-1 victory.

But how about this: That was the first game in NHL history -- which began in 1917, the year that the United States entered World War I -- in which neither team scored in the first 58 minutes and then each team scored in the next two minutes!

• The first Rangers-Bruins game of the season provided something that none of the 604 previous games between these teams had. When Jed Ortmeyer's penalty shot produced the final goal in New York's 3-1 win, it marked the first time that the Rangers had ever scored on a penalty shot against the Bruins.

That filled the Rangers' bingo card on penalty-shot goals against the so-called original-six teams. They have scored such goals against the Canadiens, Maple Leafs, Red Wings and Blackhawks.

• The Senators beat the Canadiens 8-3, with eight different players scoring the goals for Ottawa. It was the most different goal-scorers for one team in an NHL game this season and it matched the Ottawa franchise record, done twice before: Dec. 19, 2002 (9-3 win over San Jose) and Dec. 17, 2005 (8-2 win over Toronto). Defenseman Wade Redden, who scored the first goal of the game on Saturday, also scored a goal for the Senators in each of those two games.

All eight Ottawa goals were scored in the first two periods (four in the first, four in the second), tying the team record for goals in the first 40 minutes of a game, set in an 11-5 win at Washington on Nov. 13, 2001. It was also the most goals allowed by the Canadiens in the first two periods of a game since Dec. 2, 1995, when Detroit scored 10 goals, including nine against Patrick Roy, en route to an 11-1 win at the Montreal Forum. (That was Roy's last game with the Canadiens; he was traded to Colorado four days later.)

• The Canucks scored five power play goals in their 6-1 win over the Maple Leafs in Toronto. The five power play goals were the most ever scored by the Canucks in a road game (Vancouver entered the NHL in 1970) and the most ever allowed by the Leafs in a home game (the Toronto franchise dates back to the league's 1917 origin).

• The Penguins beat the Flyers 5-3and have won all six of their games against Philadelphia this season. Pittsburgh is the first team to win as many as six games against the Flyers in one season since the Islanders beat them seven times in 1992-93.

Marc-Andre Fleury has been in goal for all six of those Penguins wins, and is the first goaltender to win six games against the Flyers in a single season. Before Fleury, four goaltenders won five games against Philadelphia in one season: Boston's Gerry Cheevers in 1970-71, the Islanders' Glenn Healy in 1992-93, New Jersey's Chris Terreri in 1992-93 and Martin Brodeur in 2005-06.

• Antero Niittymaki took the loss for the Flyers, extending his personal losing streak to 12 games. It's the longest losing streak by an NHL goaltender since Don Beaupre lost the final 27 decisions of his NHL career for Ottawa and Toronto, from Nov. 1995 to Nov. 1996.

• Henrik Zetterberg had three assists in the Red Wings' win victory at Phoenix on Thursday and he had three more in Detroit's 6-3 win over the Blackhawks at Joe Louis Arena on Saturday. Zetterberg is the fourth NHL player to have consecutive games with three or more assists this season, joining Joe Thornton (Dec. 9-11 and again Jan. 4-6), Sidney Crosby (Dec. 13-15) and Peter Forsberg (Dec. 28-31). Zetterberg is also the first Red Wings player to do it since Niklas Lidstrom on Feb. 23 and Feb. 25, 2001.

• The Panthers set a franchise record with 54 shots on goal in their 7-3 home win over the Capitals. Florida's previous high for shots in a game was 52, done twice, both in overtime games. The 54 shots on goal were the most in one game by any NHL team since Dec. 18, 2005, when the same two clubs were involved, though in opposite positions. In that game, Washington put 55 shots on Florida's goal, though the Capitals lost 3-2.

• Rookie Ryane Clowe scored two goals for San Jose in its 4-1 win at Phoenix. Clowe had only three goals in 16 games this season when he was put on the injured reserve list in early December due to a groin injury, but he's scored eight goals in five games since he was activated off I.R. on Jan. 4. Clowe is tied with Ottawa's Dany Heatley for the league lead in goals this month.

PGA

• Tadd Fujikawa, 16 years old, leads the field in greens-in-regulation at 79.6 percent through 54 holes at the Sony Open in Hawaii. He has a chance to become the youngest player on record to lead the field in greens-in-regulation at a PGA TOUR event. That distinction is currently held by Kevin Na, who did it at the 2004 Southern Farms Bureau Classic when he was 21. Na found the green-in-regulation 90.28 percent of the time in finishing in third place.