I went to sleep a little early last night and decided to do the post this morning. Having a two-week old baby messes with your sleep schedule so you gotta take it when you can.
I wake up this morning and see the Sharks devoured the Rangers 9-2 last night. Tomas Hertl scored four more goals last night! Go and get him now.
Now that you got him, we’ll move on.
This San Jose team is looking like an early-season juggernaut like they did last year. Remember they started out 7-0 and took a colossal dump after that with a seven-game winless streak. But while they’re hot it’s time to swim with the Sharks. Jason Demers added three assists last night for the Sharks and all were on Hertl’s goals. Joe Paveslki had a trio of helpers as well. Shockingly, Brent Burns (wicked facial hair and all) didn’t have a point in the game and was one of four skaters not to get one. In the box score you can see just how many players picked up points last night. Wow! Only two of the goals came on the power play.
The flip side of this is I am wondering what happened to Henrik Lundqvist. The Rangers’ goaltender (and best in fantasy hockey some might day) got hammered in this one. He gave up four goals on 26 shots and was yanked at 9:19 of the second period. Martin Biron came in and was promptly scored on twenty seconds later so it didn’t matter who was in goal for this one. Lundqvist is 1-2 with a 3.62 GAA and a .897 save percentage. Eek!
The Rangers still have road games with ANA, STL, WSH, NJ, PHI, and DET before they get to their home opener on the 26th. Things might not get better until they take on the Devils so it might be time to let Lundqvist sit on the bench instead of weighing your team down.
Antti Niemi, on the other hand, made 18 saves in the win and is 3-0-0 with a 1.38 GAA and .938 save percentage. Just saying.
Here’s the rest of the highlights from last night.
The Islanders clocked the Coyotes 6-1. John Tavares scored twice in the win. Josh Bailey (G,2A), Michael Grabner (3A) and Franz Nielsen (3A) had three-point nights in the win. Phoenix goaltender Mike Smith was yanked after two periods in favor of Tomas Griess. Evgeni Nabokov made 33 saves in the win. The Coyotes held a players-only meeting following the game. That’s the first one of those we’ve heard of…and we’re four games into the season. Grabner was one of our better adds early last season and could be worth a kick of the tires here again.
Colorado slipped past Toronto 2-1. PA Parenteau‘s third-period goal with an assist from Nathan MacKinnon made the difference in this one. Both goaltenders were solid as Semyon Varlamov (27-28) outdueled Johnathan Bernier (31-33) for the win. Don’t look now but the Avalanche is 3-0 this season. Joffrey Lupul scored the lone goal for the Leafs. Varlamov…go get him.
Pittsburgh’s Jussi Jokinen had a hat trick as the Penguins dumped the Hurricanes 5-2. Jokinen picked up his first hat trick in several years in the game and two of his three goals came on the power play. Olli Maatta and Sidney Crosby each had two assists as Pittsburgh moves to 3-0 this season. I wouldn’t run out to get Jokinen since this seems like a one-off and probably won’t happen again this season. The scary thing is he hit the post twice and could have had five goals. Marc-Andre Fleury and Cam Ward each made 32 saves on the night.
Philadelphia won a game. Albeit a 2-1 win over the equally lousy Florida Panthers. Both guys with variations of Brayden scored for the Flyers (Braydon Coburn and Brayden Schenn) while Brad Boyes had the only goal for Florida. The real story to watch here is that Tim Thomas left the game with a lower-body injury. He came out of the game 7:31 into the first period and already surrendered both goals. Jacob Markstrom came on in relief and stopped all 25 shots he saw. Markstrom could be a sleeper to pick up if you need a spot start should Thomas be out for a while.
Tampa Bay shuffled past the winless Sabres 3-2 in overtime. Buffalo (0-3-1) looks like its power play may have found some life with Cody Hodgson, Thomas Vanek and Jamie McBain all working together. Vanek had two assists so the other guys got the goals. Either way, it’s a little blip on the radar for Buffalo which had been leaving Ryan Miller no support in goal. Teddy Purcell’s power play goal tied it up and Alex Killorn potted the winner 1:50 into OT. Ben Bishop got the win (21-23) while Jhonas Enroth (31-34) took the loss. Enroth looks like he’s making the most of his opportunity in goal when it comes to him. Miller was given the night off as he might still be dealing with groin issues. Or the Sabres might be grooming Enroth to take the lead between the pipes this season.
Nashville edged the Minnesota Wild 3-2 to keep the Wild winless at 0-1-2 this season. Nashville got first-period goals from Colin Wilson and Filip Forsberg on the power play to get off to a good start. Eric Nystrom scored as well to give the Predators all the offense they needed. Zach Parise scored his third goal of the season in the loss for Minnesota. Pekka Rinne stopped 32-of-34 shots for the win but the story on goal was Niklas Backstrom.
Backstrom left the game with a lower-body injury after Nystrom was tripped on a breakaway and went crashing into the goaltender. Backstrom will be evaluated today. Josh Harding had to come in stone-cold and face a penalty shot for his first shot of the game. It was the only thing that got past him as he stopped the other 19 shots he saw.
Trying to pick which backup goaltender to pick up between Markstrom and Harding is not a pleasant decision. One was awful last season and the other one has a terrible disease that could flare up at anytime and cause him to miss long periods of time. See what comes back on the starters before you go for one of these backups.
Vancouver downed the Devils 3-2 in overtime to keep New Jersey (0-3-1) out of the win column this season. Jason Garrison had the overtime winner for the Canucks. Jaromir Jagr and Patrick Elias each scored their second goals of the season in the losing effort. Daniel Sedin had a goal and an assist to fuel the Canucks. Roberto Luongo (21-23) outdueled former backup Corey Schneider (29-32) to get the win.
Wednesday’s Games (all times ET) A light night on the ice with just three games
Chicago at St. Louis 8:00pm
Montreal at Calgary 8:00pm
Ottawa at Los Angeles 10:30pm