...and I'm already pretty excited about this season, even though there's another 72 or so to go. A full night for the league, almost every team is playing tonight, but first up, Tampa and Buffalo. Tampa is starting to look like the team that everyone expected them to be with the house cleaning, and Buffalo looks like a playoff team that just keeps coming up empty. Stamkos registers his first goals, the first a tip off a Lecavalier shot, and the other a rifle from the top of the circle on the PP. Everyone was trying to dish it to Stevie to get that pressure off of him. Vanek is still on fire with his ninth goal in the losing effort, but I worry about Miller's durability throughout the season.
Rangers/Thrashers. Columbus is gnashing their teeth watching Zherdev making moves like the one tonight in his new Broadway Blue. If the Thrashers needed any more bad news than the fact that they have to host their home games in Atlanta, Bogosian fractured his fibula with no idea of how long he'll be out.
The Montreal/Minnesota game looked like a combination of shootout drills, and odd-man rushes but Price looked sharp, as did Josh Harding, just nor sharp enough letting 2 past on 21 shots.
Man does Florida play some ugly hockey! If Ottawa wasn't stinking it up I think it would be a lot more obvious.
The Sharks look to be firing on all cylinders, but the key for them, as its been for the past few years, is whether or not they can keep it up in April and into May. Detroit has that never say die mentality getting a late goal to tie the Ducks, but lose in OT the night before, and another, more meaningless, late goal against the Sharks tonight. The Wings had to be spent from the brawl with the Ducks the night before, but nonetheless the Sharks were moving the puck well and finding one another in front of the net. Marleau marks off his sixth goal this year, a significantly better start than last year, with a beautiful feed from Gentle Joe behind the net. Great vision he's got.
Philly is starting to come back to their senses with the help of some soft scheduling lining up two confidence boosting basement dwellers into their rink. Mopping up the sorry Thrashers in a 5-0 blowout, but needing OT to beat the pesky, but still pathetic Isles.
Mason gives up a squeaker halfway through the 3rd, and wonders if its better to be a Blue or a Pred.
But it couldn't be any worse than being Andrew Raycroft who gives up 4 goals on 14 shots, two of which would give justification to a mercy killing, or at least a trip to the woodshed. But the real hero of the night is Jared Boll for Columbus who racks up 22 minutes in penalties, in a hugging match with Ian Lappy, and picking on gingernut Cody McLeod earning a trifecta of a 5 minute major, 10 minute misconduct, and a 2 minute instigator. Nice job Jared!
Calgary is on a roll with their 5th straight win over the B's who visited the Saddledome tonight. Calgary has significantly upgraded in the offseason, and looks like a very different, but still that mucking workhorse team. The Bruins are another team moving the puck well, but came up short tonight.
All NHL games have been postponed until we discover the seriousness of Sidney Crosby's undisclosed injury. Fleury tried to keep the Pens in it, but had no offensive support against a .500, (its still early) Phoenix team.
Mason Raymond skated around the Kings to the front of the net for a beautiful individual effort, as Vancouver easily handled Los Angeles at the building where the Lakers play. Kyle Wellwood will remain on the roster for another week, netting a PP goal for immunity.
And finally Nashville scored one in each frame for a 3-1 victory over Edmonton. Shea Weber looked to single-handedly control the game, while Garon did not look as sharp as Roloson has in the last few games.
Can't wait until the circulation comes back in my appendages, and oxygen returns to my brain. Until next week!