It was a banner night for Ryane Clowe and a pair of other Newfoundland and Labrador NHLers Saturday night.
The Fermeuse-born Clowe scored both goals, including the winner 3:52 into overtime, as the San Jose Sharks slipped past the Chicago Blackhawks 2-1 in San Jose.
The product of the St. John’s AAA Maple Leafs midget program is enjoying a career year in San Jose with eight goals and 20 assists through 29 games. His 28 points are second-most on the Sharks, behind Dany Heatley, placing him 27th overall in league scoring, one point ahead of such notables as the Calgary Flames’ Jarome Iginla and Patrick Kane of the Blackhawks.
In Newark, N.J., Dan Cleary potted the game-winner as the Detroit Red Wings downed the New Jersey Devils 4-1.
Like Clowe, the native of Riverhead, Harbour Grace is enjoying a banner season with 13 goals through 28 games. Should Cleary keep up this pace, he’d finish the year with 37 or 38 goals, a big jump from his previous high of 20 goals during the 2006-07 and 2007-08 seasons.
Out in Vancouver Saturday night, Teddy Purcell of St. John’s picked up a goal and an assist as the Tampa Bay Lightning shaded the Vancouver Canucks 5-4.
Purcell, who also played AAA midget hockey with the Leafs, has six goals and 15 assists in 30 Tampa Bay games, already an NHL single-season career high.
In fact, the 2010-11 season is proving to be a big year for Newfoundlanders in the NHL. In Buffalo, rookie Luke Adam of St. John’s is making a case for himself as a full-time NHLer one year removed from junior and in Boston, Bonavista’s Michael Ryder has shrugged off rumours of a trade or even demotion to the minors with eight goals and 10 assists in 28 games.
A sixth Newfoundlander, Adam Pardy, also of Bonavista, has just returned to the Flames’ lineup after missing a number of game because of a shoulder injury.
In fact, a glance through the stats book indicates a milestone was reached late last week, courtesy of Clowe.
On Wednesday, in a 5-4 win over the Philadelphia Flyers, Clowe netted the game’s first goal, his sixth of the season.
The goal was of special significance in these parts as it was the 500th NHL goal scored by a born-and-bred Newfoundlander. So, in other words, Keith Brown’s 68 goals do not count. While Brown was born in Corner Brook, he moved away at a very early age, as did Dave Pichette (Grand Falls) and his 41 NHL goals and Brad Brown (Baie Verte) and his pair of NHL tallies.
Alex Faulkner was the first Newfoundlander to play in the NHL, and the first Newfoundlander to score an NHL goal. That came during the 1962-63 season, in his third game as a Detroit Red Wing and fourth NHL game (he played one game for the 1961-62 Toronto Maple Leafs).
At the old Detroit Olympia, against the Montreal Canadiens, Faulkner fed a pass to teammate Bruce McGregor from behind the net, but the puck hit Canadiens’ goaltender Cesare Maniago’s skate and deflected into the net.
“The biggest fluke goal you’ll ever see,” laughed Faulkner.
The following is a list of born-and-bred Newfoundlanders who have played in the NHL, and their goal total:
Michael Ryder (Bonavista) 152
Dan Cleary (Riverhead, Harbour Grace) 126
Ryane Clowe (Fermeuse) 68
Tony White (Grand Falls) 37
Harold Druken (St. John’s) 27
John Slaney (St. John’s) 22
Teddy Purcell (St. John’s) 17
Darren Langdon (Deer Lake) 16
Alex Faulkner (Bishop’s Falls) 15
Jason King (Corner Brook) 12
Adam Pardy (Bonavista) 3
Don Howse (Grand Falls) 2
Joe Lundrigan (Corner Brook) 2
Jason Morgan (C.B.S.) 2
Dwayne Norris (St. John’s) 2
Bob Gladney (Clarenville) 1
Luke Adam (St. John’s) 1
Doug O’Brien (St. John’s) 0
Chad Penney (Labrador City) 0
Terry Ryan (Mount Pearl) 0
Darryl Williams (Mount Pearl) 0
* Goaltenders Doug Grant (Corner Brook) and Dan LaCosta (Labrador City) also played in the NHL