Elias Says ...

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

NLCS Game 6
John Maine was the seventh rookie pitcher to start for a team that trailed 3-games-to-2 in a best-of-7 postseason series, and get this: Each of the teams that started a rookie pitcher under those circumstances won Game 6 to force a decisive seventh game! The other rookie starters were Jeff Tesreau (1912 Giants), Paul Dean (1934 Cardinals), Gary Waslewski (1967 Red Sox), John Stuper (1982 Cardinals), Les Straker (1987 Twins) and Tim Wakefield (1992 Pirates). Wakefield's appearance was in the NLCS; the others were all in the World Series.

Jose Reyes began the Mets' half of the first with a home run. Only four other players ever homered to lead off the first inning of a postseason game in which their club faced elimination. Craig Biggio did it in for the Astros in Game 7 of the 2004 NLCS, and three did it in the World Series: Phil Rizzuto (1942 Yankees, Game 5), Pete Rose (1972 Reds, Game 5) and Davey Lopes (1978 Dodgers, Game 6). Reyes joined Rose as the only players to do it in a winning effort.

• Until Reyes broke the streak with an infield single in the seventh inning, Cardinals pitchers had held opponents hitless in 34 at-bats with two outs and runners in scoring position during the 2006 postseason. That was the longest such streak for any team during a single postseason, surpassing the previous mark set by the Yankees, who held opponents without a hit in 27 straight at-bats in those situations during the 1998 postseason.

• Two Mets relievers (Chad Bradford in the sixth inning and Guillermo Mota in the seventh) induced the first batter they faced to ground into an inning-ending double play (Scott Rolen and Chris Duncan, respectively). In postseason history, there was only one other game in which a pair of teammates induced DP grounders to the first batters they faced. Tom Gordon and Esteban Loaiza did it for the Yankees in their 14-inning loss at Fenway Park in Game 5 of the 2004 ALCS.

So Taguchi spoiled the Mets' shutout bid with a two-run double off Billy Wagner in the ninth. Taguchi, who homered in his only other appearance against New York's closer in this series, was hitless in five previous career at-bats against Wagner (all during regular-season play).

Evgeni Malkin's second-period goal in his NHL debut was all the Penguins could muster in a 2-1 loss to the Devils. Malkin was the second player selected in the 2004 draft, behind Alexander Ovechkin, who scored a pair of goals in his first game in the league (Oct. 5, 2005). Since the inception of the NHL's "universal" draft in 1970, there has never been another draft in which the top two selections each scored a goal in their NHL debut.

Malkin became the 31st player to score the first goal of his NHL career against Martin Brodeur and he was the fourth of those players to do it in his debut. The others were Landon Wilson for Colorado in 1995, Denis Hamel for Buffalo in 2000, and Jeff Heerema for Carolina in 2003.

Tomas Vokoun turned aside 38 shots in the Predators' 3-0 victory over the Rangers. No visiting goaltender had stopped that many shots on goal in a shutout at Madison Square Garden since Jan. 28, 2002, when Nikolai Khabibulin made 42 saves in a 1-0 win for the Lightning.

Jaromir Jagr, Michael Nylander and Brendan Shanahan each saw their point-scoring streaks end at six games for the Rangers (3-4-0). Since 1993-94, only one other trio of teammates scored points in each of their team's first six games of a season. In 2002-03, Dan Boyle, Vaclav Prospal and Brad Richards had points in Tampa Bay's first seven games.

• The Capitals defeated the Panthers 5-2, scoring all of their goals by 14:18 of the first period. Only once in its history had Washington reached the five-goal mark earlier in a game (10:46 in a 12-2 route of Quebec on Feb. 6, 1990).

All of Washington's goals on Wednesday were scored at even strength. Only one other time in the last 10 years had an NHL team netted five even-strength goals so early in a game (Ottawa at Toronto, Jan. 8, 2004).