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McKenna, LaCosta earn first NHL wins

lacosta-cbj_200.jpg(AP) — In Columbus, Dan LaCosta made 28 saves in his first NHL start to help the Blue Jackets snap a three-game losing streak with a 3-2 victory over the San Jose Sharks on Saturday night.

LaCosta, recalled Friday from the AHL’s Syracuse Crunch on an emergency basis, found out after the morning skate that he would start against the Western Conference-leading Sharks.

"I’m just happy," LaCosta said. "It couldn’t have went any better tonight. That’s one of the best teams in the league. We did a good job showing a lot of character in overtime."

Starter Steve Mason — second in the NHL with a 2.09 goals-against average — is sidelined by mononucleosis, and recently acquired backup Wade Dubielewicz sat out with the flu after losing 4-1 at Pittsburgh on Friday night

A third-round pick in 2004, LaCosta is 15-14-2 in 34 AHL appearances with the Crunch this season. His only previous NHL game action was in two relief appearances. He allowed a combined two goals on 24 shots.

"It’s definitely the highlight of my career for sure," LaCosta said.

LaCosta made the key stops, including one off his facemask on a close-range shot by Joe Thornton in overtime.

Columbus started fast and efficient, scoring on their first two shots to give LaCosta an early 2-0 cushion after the opening period.

"That kind of just let me loosen up there and just go out and play," LaCosta said. "I wasn’t thinking that much after that."


mckenna(AP) — Mike McKenna raised both his arms into air when teammate Gary Roberts broke a scoreless tie. The Tampa Bay rookie goalie then made sure the one-goal lead stood up.

McKenna made 28 saves for his first NHL win and shutout, and Roberts scored in the third period in the Lightning’s 1-0 victory over the New York Islanders on Saturday night.

McKenna was making his second career NHL start and third appearance overall.

"I have experienced that at other levels, but never in the NHL," McKenna said. "It’s hard even to describe. It’s quite a feeling."

McKenna stopped a right-circle shot by Trent Hunter and then used his stick to keep the loose puck from going into the net in the second. He also stopped a left-circle shot in the final minute by Kyle Okposo, who got the scoring chance right after serving a hooking penalty.

"How can you not root for a kid like that?" Tampa Bay interim coach Rick Tocchet said. "All of a sudden, now he’s our starting goalie. Pretty unflappable kid. He’s done a good job."

McKenna, who was recalled earlier in the week by the Lightning, is 11-10-1 in 24 AHL games with Norfolk this season.