Verbeek and MacInnis reach milestones

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The Independent Online

Pat Verbeek and Al MacInnis reached milestones in fitting fashion.

Verbeek, the feisty forward with a deft touch around the net, scored his 500th goal with a close-range shot. MacInnis, the big defenseman with the NHL's hardest shot, reached 1,100 points with a blast from the point.

Verbeek became the 28th player in NHL history to score 500 goals, beating goalie Fred Brathwaite twice in Detroit's 2-2 home tie with Calgary on Wednesday night.

MacInnis became the fifth defenseman to reach 1,100 points, scoring a power-play goal with 2:13 left to give St. Louis a 2-1 victory over Carolina. MacInnis' shot deflected off a Carolina defenseman and past goalie Arturs Irbe.

Verbeek, 35, who helped Dallas win the Stanley Cup last season, has 22 goals since joining the Red Wings as a free agent Nov. 10.

"I'm just out of words. It's exciting," Verbeek said. "You start the year with a new team and wonder if they believe in you."

MacInnis, 36, has 299 goals and 801 assists in 19 seasons.

"I'll take it," said MacInnis, who ended a 13-game goal drought. "I had some good shots tonight. Irbe made a couple of nice plays. I figure I'd just continue to shoot. And eventually, hopefully, one would go in."

The NHL-leading Blues tied a franchise record with their 47th victory of the season, and moved six points ahead of the Red Wings in the race for the top spot in the Western Conference.

In the other NHL games, it was the New York Islanders 5, Toronto 2; Montreal 1, Atlanta 1; Edmonton 2, Anaheim 1; and San Jose 4, Vancouver 3.

Verbeek opened the scoring with a power-play goal in the first period. He reached the milestone with 5:22 remaining in the third period, taking a hard pass from Steve Yzerman and firing the puck past Brathwaite from the side of the goal.

"I didn't see the pass go through," Brathwaite said. "I was looking around and the next thing I knew it was on his stick. I tried to come over. The first time he beat me low, so I tried to come across low and he put it under the bar."

Darryl Shannon and Brad Werenka scored for Calgary.

MacInnis helped the Blues tie the team victory record set in 1990-91. The Blues are 13-1-1 in their last 15 road games and have an NHL-best 25 road victories.

"This is the time of year we want to stay sharp for the playoffs," MacInnis said. "Ultimately, we want to compete for the Stanley Cup."

Marty Reasoner also scored for St. Louis. Jeff O'Neill scored for Carolina.

Sharks 4, Canucks 3

Vincent Damphousse and Jeff Friesen scored in the third period as San Jose beat visiting Vancouver to take over sole possession of eighth place in the Western Conference.

Trailing 3-2 and with Owen Nolan sidelined by a mild concussion, the Sharks tied the game midway through the third period on Damphousse's goal. Friesen scored with 4:10 left.

Niklas Sundstrom and Patrick Marleau scored first-period goals for the Sharks. Murray Baron, Trent Klatt and Matt Cooke scored for the Canucks.

Canadiens 1, Thrashers 1

Oleg Petrov scored a power-play goal early in the second period as Montreal tied Atlanta.

The Canadiens, 1-3-2 in their previous six games, moved a point ahead of Buffalo in the race for the final Eastern Conference playoff spot. Montreal is two points behind seventh-place Pittsburgh.

Donald Audette had a first-period goal for Atlanta, which broke an 11-game home losing streak. Atlanta goalie Damian Rhodes made a career-high 48 saves, including six in overtime.

Islanders 5, Maple Leafs 2

Mariusz Czerkawski and Claude Lapointe each scored two goals in New York's victory in Toronto.

Brad Isbister added a goal and two assists for New York and Kevin Weekes made 27 saves, including 20 in the third period when the Islanders were outshot 21-4.

Alexander Karpovtsev and Sergei Berezin scored for Toronto.

Oilers 2, Mighty Ducks 1

Doug Weight had a goal and an assist as Edmonton beat visiting Anaheim to move into a first-place tie with Colorado in the Northwest Division.

Weight scored his 17th goal with three minutes left in the second. Tom Poti added a power-play goal for the Oilers. Ed Ward scored for the Mighty Ducks.