Last night was a night of firsts for plenty of teams.
In his second game manning the powerplay, young defenseman Alex Goligoski put the Pittsburgh Penguins in the home win column with an overtime goal. Both Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby assisted on the play with the man advantage but were otherwise held off the scoring sheet.
They left the scoring to Michael Rupp and rookie Eric Tangradi. Paul Martin also added an assist for his fifth point in as many games. Perhaps even more of a surprise is backup Brent Johnson, who has led the team to their only two wins of the season. Hard to argue in favor for Marc-Andre Fleury as he continues to let in goals in buckets.
It will be interesting to see if they go back to Johnson in tomorrow’s back-to-back game.
On the other end of the ice, Josh Bailey put up his second goal of the season while Blake Comeau produced two assists of his own. We liked Comeau at the end of last season and he has done nothing but rack up points since.
In Columbus, the reigning Stanley Cup Champions tested Steve Mason early and often, peppering him to the tune of 40 shots and five goals. Naturally, the Blue Jackets would lose as Nikita Filatov, Rick Nash, Antoine Vermette and Jakub Voracek combined for an awful zero points and -10.
The Chicago Blackhawks did not miss a beat without Patrick Kane as Patrick Sharp scored two goals and took an Ovechkin-line 13 shots– good for a franchise record. For formats where the latter count, he gave your team a huge boost. Marian Hossa and Tomas Kopecky also combined for a goal and an assist each as the team cruised to Marty Turco’s first victory of the season.
In the first game of the New York Rangers’ home schedule they fell to the now 4 – 0 Toronto Maple Leafs. Fourth line center Brian Boyle stepped up with increased minutes after Chris Drury re-injured his finger, scoring two goals and bringing the team back from a 3-1 deficit.
When all the dust settled the home team simply could not stop the attack of Phil Kessel and Tyler Bozak, especially on their seventh powerplay attempt. Winger Clarke MacArthur also continues to lead the League in goal scoring, adding his fifth of the season earlier in the game just as a penalty expired.
For the second straight game Matt Taormina and Ilya Kovalchuk combined for a goal. When the New Jersey Devils faced the Colorado Avalanche the unlikely duo each scored a goal and assisted on the other as the team eventually fell to the Avs 3-2.
The top line of TJ Galiardi, Paul Stastny and Chris Stewart really provided an offensive spark as they combined for six points. JM Liles also put up another assist as he, like MacArthur, continues to be an unlikely League leader.
Carey Price continues his dominance against the Buffalo Sabres by only allowing one goal against their high-octane offense. Head coach Lindsey Ruff was apparently livid with their effort and did the Montreal Canadiens a favor by benching center Tim Connolly for most of the third period. The Habs received two unlikely goals from Josh Gorges and Alexandre Picard while only giving up a third period marker from the hot Derek Roy.
Like most teams have so far, the Atlanta Thrashers scored four goals on the Anaheim Ducks. However, the latter managed to score them back, forcing overtime and eventually losing in shootout. Anthony Stewart gave his best impersonation of his brother Chris, scoring a hat trick despite scoring only four goals in his previous 108 NHL games. Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Teemu Selanne all had multi-point games, you can once again vote for them here.
In the late game, Jonathan Quick exacted revenge on the Vancouver Canucks. As he continues to fend off the younger Jonathan Bernier, Quick leads the League in GAA with a paltry 0.97 through his first three games– two of which coming against the team that eliminated them from the playoffs last year.
The second line of Justin Williams, Jarret Stoll and Ryan Smyth continued to click while the captain Dustin Brown added two goals of his own. As predicted, the Los Angeles Kings will be good, very good; led by their young core and duo of excellent netminders.