Saturday, October 24, 2009

NHL Recap 10-23-09

Stars of the night
--Sidney Crosby, 2 goals, the lone shootout goal; Pittsburgh beats Florida, 3-2. The tying goal was Crosby's first shorthanded goal of his career. Two fine plays by Evgeni Malkin to set up both goals, including a spectacular diving keep-in at the blue line on Crosby's power play goal.
--Tomas Vokoun, 41 saves in the loss. Still could've been the first star of the game.
--David Perron, 1 goal (SHG, GWG), 1 assist; St. Louis beats Minnesota, 3-1.
--Paul Stastny, 2 goals (GWG), 1 assist; Colorado edges Carolina, 5-4.

The Skoula Report
New feature for as long as Skoula plays, at least as long as I feel like doing it. Possibly only on slow nights.
Martin Skoula made his Pittsburgh debut, and considering he hasn't played in a while, he didn't look too bad. Made several good plays in his 17:02 of ice time, which was more than NHL blocked shot leader Jay McKee's 15:24. He was a +1, with one SOG, and blocked four shots. One or two of those were luck - he just happened to be in the right spot - but the others were good positioning. He also had a nice poke-check to stop a scoring chance. His stick-handling and mobility reminded one of Hal Gill or Rob Scuderi, but overall, he didn't do anything to hurt the team.

Demotions can be good
One of the Blues' top young players is Perron, who had recorded no points until Friday. A demotion to the third line resulted in him getting his first points of the season. St. Louis has to hope he begins consistently producing. Sorry, Wild fans, not trying to rub salt in the wounds.

Quote of the night
"(Colorado coach) Joe (Sacco) grabbed the guys and told them to regain their composure and not go running around trying to get guys back. You can lose your whole team on a hit like that, end up in the box and lose the two points."
Colorado defenseman Adam Foote, on teammate Darcy Tucker being on the receiving end of a check into the boards by Tuomo Ruutu, who was assessed a five-minute major and a game misconduct. Milan Hejduk scored on the ensuing power play and Wojtek Wolski scored shortly after it ended, to break what had been a 2-2 tie.

Marquee matchup
Saturday, Oct. 24 (15 games)
Los Angeles (6-4-0) at Phoenix (6-2-0), 9 p.m. ET. Anze Kopitar is red-hot and coming off his first career hat trick. He is tied for the NHL scoring lead. The Coyotes and Ilya Bryzgalov have made a habit of stopping some very good teams (Pittsburgh, San Jose and Detroit) and get another test.

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