The New Jersey Devils were somehow able to defeat the Buffalo Sabres with a shorthanded roster.
Both Martin Brodeur and Ryan Miller, who were last year’s candidates for the Vezina Trophy, entered the game with subpar GAA and SV%; Miller was 1-2-0 with a 3.40 goals against and .880 save percentage while Brodeur was 0-2-1 with a 4.11 goals against and .859 save percentage. Thanks to two regulation shutouts the two have brought their numbers back to respectability. Miller now sports a 2.78 GAA and .907 SV% with a 1-2-1 record while Brodeur holds a similar 1-2-1 with a 2.99 GAA and .892 SV%.
Ilya Kovalchuk scored the only goal in overtime thanks to a heady forecheck from rookie Matt Taormina. In only his fourth NHL game, the diminutive 24-year-old defenseman gained the zone and headed the rush before dropping a pass back to Kovalchuk for the one-timer. Once the Devils start scoring in waves it will be interesting to see if Taormina’s point totals increase.
Alexander Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals battled back from a early 1-0 deficit to defeat the battle-wounded New York Islanders 2-1. Nicklas Backstrom and Ovechkin each scored a goal and an assist as they put together another regular season win. Michal Neuvirth also turned away 23 out of 24 and will make coach Bruce Boudreau’s job even harder once Semyon Varlamov returns to the lineup.
Carey Price faced an overwhelming 48 shots before losing to the Tampa Bay Lightning in overtime. The line of Steven Stamkos, Martin St. Louis and Ryan Malone combined for an impressive six points in the Montreal Canadiens’ home opener, spoiling what could have been a redeeming game for Price. After wasting a two point effort from Tomas Plekanec and the lead, the Habs clearly lost their momentum against some hometown faces.
The Toronto Maple Leafs still sit on top of the Conference and League with their most recent win, remaining undefeated at 3-0. They continue to get scoring from odd places, getting another two goals from Clarke MacArthur, a tally from Colton Orr and one from Francois Beauchemin. A revamped Pittsburgh Penguin powerplay which put Alex Goligoski in the rover role could not match the up-tempo style or backup Jonas Gustavsson, who turned aside 22 of 25 en route to his first win of the year.
Speaking of backups, rookie Anders Lindback won his first NHL start in fitting style– defeating the defending Stanley Cup champions. It seems like anyone the Nashville Predators throw between the pipes will succeed, as we somewhat predicted. Jonathan Toews had a part in both goals forced on the rookie, but 23/25 looks solid on any given night.
Last but certainly not least, the Anaheim Ducks found their mojo by putting together a four goal night against the Vancouver Canucks. Ryan Getzlaf deserves your nomination with a four-point-night all to himself (vote for him here). The big line of Bobby Ryan – Getzlaf – Corey Perry finally lived up to expectations at both even strength and with Teemu Selanne on the powerplay. Still you can expect next to nothing from their defense as they still allowed 39 shots leading to three goals. Poor Jonas Hiller.