With a full schedule on tap today around the NHL, the Daily Deke examines and reviews some of the matchups presented in today’s games. Be sure to check out our terrific Starting Goalies section which is updated as soon as we confirm the netminder for each game.
Coming off an overtime win against the New York Islanders, the Pittsburgh Penguins look to carry that momentum over to their game against the cross-state rival Philadelphia Flyers. These two teams have met once already this season, with rookie netminder Sergei Bobrovsky spoiling all the fun with his stellar in-net performance, as the Flyers beat the Pens 3-2. Speaking of ‘Bob”, he currently sits at a 2-0 record with a .931 SV% and a 2.00 GAA in his first two starts. In case you missed it, he’s a nice pickup via your waiver wire, as Michael Leighton is out with an injury.
While Pittsburgh is still waiting for Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin to get going, their defesemen have provide the offensive support. Both Alex Goligoski and Paul Martin each have four points through their first four games. If there’s a game where Crosby fans can expect a breakout, this is one of those games. Crosby has scored 24 goals against the Flyers over his career, which is the most he’s scored against any opponent. He’s also logged a total of 56 points over 33 games.
For the Flyers, their penalty kill has been excellent thus far (91.3%), but their power play units are still looking for that offensive spark. Claude Giroux has been all over the ice this year for the Flyers, and has three points over his first four games this season.
The Tampa Bay Lightning improved their team over the offseason and it’s certainly showing through the first three games. After capturing two wins on the road against the Canadians and the Flyers, the Bolts take on the Florida Panthers during a Sunshine State battle.
Steven Stamkos has picked up right where he left off last season, scoring a goal in every game he’s played in and has scored a goal in seven straight games dating back to last season.
As for the Panthers, it’s been a slow start to the season, but they were able to capture their first win of the season against the struggling Calgary Flames behind Tomas Vokoun’s shutout. While Vokoun’s record wont show it, he’s actually been solid in net, having a 1.69 GAA and a .933 SV% over his first three starts.
The 3-1 Washington Capitals pay a visit to the 3-0 Nashville Predators Saturday night where the Caps will be without the services of defenseman Mike Green. They have been superb on the penalty kill this season (100%) while their electric power play unit has yet to get things started behind Alex Ovechkin. Rookie defenseman John Carlson continues to impress this season – collecting five points in the past three games.
Washington will also be faced with their first goalie competition of the season, as Semyon Varlamov is expected to dress for the first time this season after recovering from a groin injury. Not as if the Caps have missed Varly over the first games of the season, as Michal Neuvirth has played brilliantly to start the season and will make his fifth straight appearance.
For the Preds, their netminders have been excellent thus far. Pekka Rinne went down during the season opener, but Anders Lindback has filled in nicely with his .925 SV% and 2-0 record. Rinne proclaimed himself “100% ready” on Friday, but will watch the game from the bench on Saturday. The Predators have two defenseman by the names of Ryan Suter and Shea Weber who are very good at playing their game, both scoring three points thus far. Also look for Patric Hornqvist to continue his hot streak, as he’s netted two goals early this season.
After taking three of four games last season against the Dallas Stars, the St. Louis Blues are searching for that same formula during their first meeting this season. The Blues have been terrific on the power play so far this season, led by Brad Boyes and Alex Steen.
Newly acquired goalie Jaroslav Halak has started the Blues off to a 2-1 record, as he has a 2.00 GAA and a .909 SV% through the first three games. He will sit in favor of veteran backup Ty Conklin.
For the Stars, can this hot start last deep into the season? Led by Brenden Morrow and Brad Richards, the Stars are undefeated this season and have allowed just 2.67 goals against per game this season thanks to the play of Kari Lehtonen.
Loui Erikson looks to have another breakout season for the Stars, as he’s posted three goals over three games so far and sits at a plus-5 rating.