Notes from Wednesday, Oct. 7
Stars of the night
--Ilya Bryzgalov was rarely tested against a lethargic and disinterested Penguins squad but made 24 saves for his ninth career shutout in Phoenix's 3-0 win.
--The Sedin twins combined for seven points, led by Henrik's two goals and two assists, in Vancouver's 7-1 victory over Montreal.
How did he do that?
Phoenix's Petr Prucha scored a goal from his back. He got tied up with Pittsburgh defenseman Mark Eaton near the crease and fell to the ice, but twisted around and flipped the loose puck past goalie Brent Johnson to give the Coyotes a 2-0 lead. Radim Vrbata assisted on the play and added an empty-net goal later. Ed Jovanovski opened the scoring.
Tale of two goalies
Will the real Carey Price and Roberto Luongo stand up? Hard to get a read on these guys. Price stopped 77 of 81 shots in his first two games, both Montreal wins, then gave up a whopping seven goals on 32 shots to Vancouver and was pulled Wednesday.
Luongo, meanwhile, made only 50 saves on 61 shots in his first three appearances, being pulled in the most recent, but bounced back to allow just one goal on 28 shots against the Habs to get Vancouver its first victory of the season.
There are two possible explanations for Pittsburgh's lackadaisical performance against Phoenix. One is the Coyotes are better than people think. The off-ice issues may have brought the team together rather than cause distractions. The other is the Penguins might've been focusing more on Thursday's impending war with the Flyers, a division game that always brings out the hate in everyone involved.
Quote of the night
''We weren't able to get a whole lot going. There's no real excuse for it, we weren't good at all, but we've got to move on."
Penguins captain Sidney Crosby
Thursday, Oct. 8
Unlike Wednesday, Thursday's schedule has a lot of fun games. There are three rivalry games - Chicago at Detroit, Calgary at Edmonton and the aforementioned Pittsburgh at Philadelphia. There's also an intriguing match-up of Anaheim at Boston.
But we're going to go with the Rangers (2-1-0) at Washington (2-0-1), a 7 p.m. ET game. In a rematch of a first-round playoff series last season, won by Washington in seven games, it pits the Capitals' seemingly unstoppable offense against one of the game's top goalies, Henrik Lundqvist. The game will be available only on Center Ice packages for those not in the New York or Washington areas.