Jonas Hiller simply cannot find a break. At the end of two periods, the Anaheim Duck starting goalie already saw 34 shots with four making their way past him. For Hiller it was already 126 shots through three games, which equals an average of 42 pucks a game and his third loss in as many games.
The problem in Anaheim seems to be their injured, raw and thrown-together blue line which is nothing short of a mess. Toni Lydman and Andy Sutton, who fill the injury quota, have already missed time this season leaving Lubomir Visnovsky to carry the weight. No offense to Visno but he has always been known more as a complementary player rather than an anchor, not to mention he may have gotten hurt in the contest.
Andreas Lilja probably will help the cause a little but the team probably benefits more from stronger play from both Cam Fowler and Luca Sbisa. The key to the Ducks going up-ice seems to be spending less time in their zone– which needs to be a priority at this point. Last season the team dug themselves a hole they simply could not climb out of; they will look to stop the bleeding quickly.
The team’s opponent, the St. Louis Blues, scored evenly en route to a 5-1 victory. Their top two lines centered by David Backes and TJ Oshie each scored a point and helped keep the Blues ahead. Habs castoff Matt D’Agostini also added two tallies of his own.
In an early rivalry game, the New York Islanders stormed back to defeat the New York Rangers 6-4. Without John Tavares, the top line of PA Parenteau, Blake Comeau and Josh Bailey combined for three goals and six points. Both teams displayed their best young talent as Brandon Dubinsky, Michael Del Zotto and Artem Anisimov were the top names on the Rangers side. The most interesting stat in my estimation, Sean Avery’s PIM – 0. Top line center Erik Christensen also left the game with a hand injury of some sort and would not return.
How long until Derek Stepan takes over the top line spot in the Big Apple? He already took Christensen’s place at the end of the game.
Playing three men short the New Jersey Devils fell two goals short of the Pittsburgh Penguins, helping them attain their first win of the year. The Pens turned to backup Brent Johnson to stop the bleeding after two subpar performances from Marc-Andre Fleury. Four of a possible seven points came from the Pittsburgh blue line as Paul Martin, Kris Letang and Alex Goligoski all had good nights offensively. Mark Letestu also put across his second goal in three games.
Should the Devils panic with their early record? Their main focus should probably be staying healthy.
Jeff Carter sneakily put two goals past Craig Anderson as the Philadelphia Flyers beat the Colorado Avalanche 4-2. The tandem of Mike Richards and Claude Giroux connected for a shorthanded goal to start the scoring while grinder Riley Cote scored an empty netter to seal the deal. Philly starting goalie Sergei Bobrovsky improved to 2-0 on the year and looks more likely to keep the position when Michael Leighton returns. For Colorado, JM Liles put up two assists and now has four in only two games.
Do the Avs start Anderson back-to-back? If this were last year, it would almost be guaranteed.
The consecutive games streak for Jason Pominville appears to be coming to an end. Right before playing the puck on the side-boards, Chicago Blackhawks defenseman leveled the winger from behind, forcing him to be carried off with a stretcher. While the Sabres were up by two goals at the time of the injury, they eventually were no match for Marian Hossa and Patrick Kane and lost 4-3. Nick Leddy also scored for the Hawks. Derek Roy also continued his hot streak, tapping in his fourth goal of the year.
When does it become time to be nervous about Ryan Miller? Drafting a goalie high always seems scary, especially since the Sabres are more of a question mark than the Devils or Vancouver Canucks.
In Washington DC, Alexander Ovechkin scored the game winner in overtime as Pascal Leclaire (undeservedly) and the Ottawa Senators lost their third straight game. After being a healthy scratch, Ryan Shannon scored the game tying goal in the third period before the Caps prevailed.
What do the Sens need to change? They certainly need to rely on their big guns rather than Shannon and Jarkko Ruutu.
The Vancouver Canucks squeaked out a 2-1 victory over the visiting Florida Panthers thanks to two goals by Daniel Sedin, both assisted by brother Henrik and Mikael Samuelsson. If the Canucks can manage to win close games like this one, they should meet their expectations. Roberto Luongo also looked on top of his game, playing further back in the net and stopping 41 shots on the night.