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Elias Says ...

1/18/2006 - NBA NHL NFL + more

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

NBA
Andrei Kirilenko had 18 points, 16 rebounds and 11 assists on Tuesday night, becoming the first Jazz player to record a triple-double since Karl Malone on May 4, 1999. Utah's streak of 530 consecutive games without a player posting a triple-double was by far the longest current streak in the league. The longest current drought now belongs to Toronto, which has gone 379 games without a triple-double since Alvin Williams did it on March 23, 2001.

• Sacramento's Brad Miller fell one assist shy of a triple-double, recording 18 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists. Over the last four seasons, only two starting centers have recorded triple-doubles in the NBA: Kevin Garnett (in a rare start at center on Dec. 18, 2003) and Vlade Divac (on Feb. 17, 2004).

• Phoenix trailed Sacramento by 24 points in the second quarter. It was the Suns' largest first-half deficit since they fell 27 points behind at San Antonio on March 27, 2004.

NFL
• Eric Mangini, who was the youngest coordinator in the NFL during the 2005 season, was named head coach of the Jets on Tuesday, two days shy of his 35th birthday. Mangini answered questions about his age at his news conference citing Bill Walsh's belief that "you're never quite ready for your first head coaching job, regardless of how old you are."

Mangini could have pointed out that nine of the 22 head coaches who have won a Super Bowl began their NFL head coaching careers in their 30s: John Madden (first game coached at age 33), Don Shula (33), Jon Gruden (35), Mike Shanahan (36), Tom Landry (36), Hank Stram (37), Chuck Noll (37), Bill Belichick (39) and Dick Vermeil (39). Seven others, who coached in the Super Bowl but never won, were head coaches in the league before age 40: John Rauch, Red Miller, Ray Malavasi, Dan Reeves, Sam Wyche, Bill Cowher and Jeff Fisher.

• On Opening Day of the 2006 season, Mangini will become the fourth-youngest head coach since the 1970 NFL-AFL merger. The three youngest: David Shula (33), Gruden (35) and Cowher (35). (Gruden and Cowher were each a "younger 35" than Mangini will be in early September.)

• The Saints have reportedly selected Sean Payton as their head coach. This past season, New Orleans scored the second-fewest points in the NFL (14.7 per game) and committed the second-most turnovers in the league (43). Payton becomes the fourth rookie head coach since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger to inherit a team that finished among the two worst in the league in those two categories. The others were Bill Walsh (who took over as head coach of the 49ers in 1979), Bill Belichick (1991 Browns) and Mike Riley (1999 Chargers).

NHL
• When the streaking Devils visited the sinking Blues, it marked only the third NHL game in the last 12 years matching a team with at least six consecutive wins against an opponent with at least six straight losses. The team on the losing streak won both previous games: the Lightning over the Flyers earlier this season, and the Flames over the Stars in January 1999.

• The Devils took a 3-0 lead in St. Louis, putting history convincingly on their side. Entering Tuesday night, Martin Brodeur was 198-1-1 in games in which New Jersey led by three-or-more goals. But the Blues rallied to tie the game, 3-3. It was only the seventh time in his career that Brodeur squandered a three-goal lead. The Devils then scored two more goals to win, 5-3.

• Patrick Elias had three more assists. Elias has nine assists since making his season debut on Jan. 3, tying Sergei Zubov for the most in the NHL over that span.

• The Hurricanes earned a shootout win over the Flyers 4-3 after trailing, 3-1, in the third period. It was the first time in franchise history that the Whalers/Hurricanes won a game in Philadelphia in which they trailed by two-or-more goals. Only twice before had they even been able to salvage one point from a tie by overcoming a two-goal deficit in a road game against the Flyers (1981 and 1999).

Carolina has now scored at least three goals in each of its last nine games, tying the franchise's longest streak in the last 15 years.

• The Hurricanes have now won eight consecutive games. They had a nine-game winning streak earlier this season. Prior to this season (including 18 years in Hartford and seven in Carolina), the franchise never had a winning streak longer than seven games.

• The Islanders beat the Blackhawks in Chicago 2-1 in overtime. It was only the third time this season that the Islanders allowed fewer than two goals in a game. (The other instances were a 4-1 win in New Jersey on Nov. 8 and a 2-1 win in Detroit on Dec. 4.) This season, the only NHL teams to hold their opponents to no goals or one goal as infrequently as the Islanders are the Penguins (once) and Capitals (also three times).

The Islanders have won three straight games against the Blackhawks (dating back to March 2003), after winning only one of their previous 22 games against Chicago.

Milan Hejduk scored two goals in 34 seconds on Tuesday night. Only four NHL players scored a pair of goals in a shorter time span this season: Jaromir Jagr (15 seconds), Joe Sakic (19 seconds), Daniel Alfredsson (20 seconds) and Jonathan Cheechoo (30 seconds).