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After 220 games in the American Hockey League, Patrick Maroon made his NHL debut with the Anaheim Ducks. With four goals and eight points in his first six games with the Syracuse Crunch this season, he clearly had very little to prove. Eric Stephens of The OC Register broke down his ‘nerve-racking experience’ starting his major league career next to Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf.
If everything goes according to plan, Tuukka Rask will start more than his 29 starts last season. Matt Kalman of The Bruins Blog breaks down the promotion Rask is expected to make. Of course, coach Claude Julien would retort to ask him again in April how the game plan went.
Did you know the Buffalo Sabres were 1-17 on the power play over their last six games before last night’s two-goal output? Now you do. A slight reworking which removed Derek Roy from the man advantage clearly paid off.
Anton Babchuk was drafted in most fantasy hockey leagues with more than 14 rounds. His 26 percent ownership rate in Yahoo! leagues certainly is way too high for a one-dimensional defenseman with only three games played. Despite his two assists over that span, Kent Wilson at Flames Nation discusses why coach Brent Sutter deemed him expendable.
When the Carolina Hurricanes host the Chicago Blackhawks tomorrow night, they will yet again change their lines. The most intriguing line change has to be Jiri Tlusty — with 18 career goals over 158 games — lining up next to Eric Staal and Alexei Ponikarovsky. You can’t make this stuff up…
Don’t look now but the very same Blackhawks are once again on top of the Central Division. Their quiet confidence has allowed them to dominate in the early going. That, and not losing half of their team to the salary cap.
Adrian Dater of The Denver Post makes the argument that the ‘second line’ which features former third overall pick Matt Duchene should be called the ‘third line’. Count me among those willing to buy low on Duchene as Daniel Winnik doesn’t strike me as a top-6 forward.
We all know Columbus Blue Jackets prized forward Jeff Carter is out with a foot injury. What we don’t know is whether he will wear a protective covering on his foot. As Aaron Portzline of The Columbus Dispatch notes, “Some players complain that they are cumbersome and cheaply made, but others say they’ve come a long way in recent years.” Wonder how a protective cover would affect his mobility or his ability to block shots.
Last night’s tilt between the Dallas Stars and Los Angeles Kings figured to be a netminding dual between red-hot starting goalies Kari Lehtonen and Jonathan Quick. It turned out to be a sloppy 5-3 contest in which both goalies combined for a .885 save percentage. “Lehtonen is off to a tremendous start to his year. So to come in here and score five, it’s a big team effort,” said Los Angeles coach Terry Murray to Mark Stepneski of Andrew’s Stars Page. How will Lehtonen bounce back?
Tonight, the Detroit Red Wings face the San Jose Sharks in a rematch of their last two playoff loses. While the Sharks have won three straight, the Red Wings broke their winning streak with two blowout losses (getting outscored 11-2), leading to a few line changes.
“Confidence is the most valuable thing to have in this league and when you have good, solid goaltending, it gives you the confidence, so that you don’t have to run around and get out of position and try and make that little extra play,” said Oilers captain Shawn Horcoff to Joanne Ireland of The Edmonton Journal. Confidence apparently allowed the young team to deliver the Washington Capitals their first loss of the season.
Bill Whitehead of NHLHotStove.com thinks a playoff berth is on the horizon for the Florida Panthers. Despite last night’s 4-3 loss to the Ottawa Senators, the Cats have to be happy with their overall play, sitting only four points back of the Capitals.
Yesterday, Rich Hammond of LA Kings Insider noted the King’s efficiency in winning away from the Staples Center. Shortly after, the team improved to 3-0-1 on the road, or 4-1-1 if you include the two games in Europe. Coach Terry Murray attributes their success to a growing comfort level on the road and an added veteran presence.
“We’re trying to create a new culture, we’re trying to bring in a new system. … Dan Bylsma told me … just so you know, it’s probably going to take you 30 games.” Those quotes come from head coach Mike Yeo, via Russo’s Rants, whose team earned just nine points over their first nine games. While Yeo may not have the luxury of Evgeni Malkin, Sidney Crosby and Jordan Staal, we think he can turn the Wild around.
The Montreal Canadiens now won their last two games in just over 24 hours, bringing them back to respectability. Perhaps they were justified in letting Perry Pearn go.
Nashville Predators hockey was in true form last night with timely goals and stingy defense when they needed it. “We were able to take the momentum away and it was huge. In the game of hockey or any sport, you are going to have to weather some storms. That’s the part of sports that you have to deal with. If you weather it, and then you are able to capitalize right after they have had their push, it really can swing momentum and it did.” [Preds on the Glass]
In case there was any doubt, fourth overall pick Adam Larsson will stay with the New Jersey Devils all season, reports Tom Gulitti of The Record.
Evgeni Nabokov played 65 minutes for the much-improved New York Islanders but was “not feeling well” during the shootout. Nabokov and coach Jack Capuano explained the decision.
Madison Square Garden looks fantastic with their new renovations. Unfortunately, the new-look New York Rangers did very little to please fans, falling 4-2 in their first game on home ice.
When the Ottawa Senators decided to send Mika Zibanejad back to Sweden, invoking his entry-level slide, the main beneficiary appeared to be Stephane De Costa. The collegiate standout did not disappoint by scoring a goal, taking two shots and finishing with a plus-3 rating (he even chipped in two PIM for those considering him in deeper leagues). Sounds like he is taking advantage of his ‘Da Chance’.
Ilya Bryzgalov was quite candid following his fourth consecutive loss. The team’s newest big-money contract allowed 18 goals over his last four contests. On the bright side, he’s the first starting goalie to hold himself accountable in Philly since Ron Hextall — that has to count for something.
Current Hobey Baker Award winner Andy Miele played between Shane Doan and Mikkel Boedker for parts of the night as the rookie continues breaking into the NHL. While he needs work in certain facets like faceoffs, Jim Gintonio of The Arizona Republic argues his presence is not hurting the team.
Without Sidney Crosby the Pittsburgh Penguins continue to trump their Atlantic Division rivals, partially due to the standout two-way play of center Jordan Staal. Shelly Anderson of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette argues he could be in line for his first Frank J. Selke Trophy this season.
Kevin Kurz of CSN Bay Area argues that the Sharks’ penalty kill is much better than their outlying numbers (76 percent, 26th in the League). Their improvement in that area lead them to their most recent win over the Nashville Predators as well as their three-game winning streak. Newcomers Michal Handzus and Brent Burns are big additions to the team’s PK, as well as Marc-Edouard Vlasic, who plays over three minutes a game on the kill.
If the Blues had a plan to start Jaroslav Halak in goal tonight against Calgary, and it’s believed they did, will Brian Elliott’s 32-save shutout in Wednesday’s 3-0 win over Vancouver alter that plan?
On a similar note, Damian Cristodero of TampaBay.com opines over Dwayne Roloson likely receiving the starting nod on Saturday night. With a 9-0-1-1 career record against the Winnipeg Jets, Can you blame Guy Boucher for putting him in?
Jonathan Willis of The Leafs Nation asks how long does Jonas Gustavsson have? Even though he allowed a soft goal to Dan Girardi last night he played well enough to get the win, which may have bought him a few more games.
Roberto Luongo continues to be a hot topic in Vancouver and around the rest of the league. However, Darren Pang, via The Province, feels he should be fine with a few adjustments. Could goalie coach Roland Melanson be the next coaching casualty after leading his combination to a William M. Jennings Trophy?
Maybe the Caps only score in bunches in seasons ending in even numbers. Erika Schnure of RLDhockey.net explains the tweaks to their current PP formation and how it’s now ‘back to normal’.
In perhaps the craziest game I’ve witnessed since the early ’90s, the Winnipeg Jets received their first road win in 15 years with an 9-8 finish. Nevertheless, Kyle Wellwood and Jim Slater still lead the team in goals scored and starting goalie Ondrej Pavelec sports a 4.17 GAA. On a related note: Don’t own any Jets.
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