Sunday, October 17, 2010

Goaltending woes; Hot seat already?

Four unanswered goals helps Atlanta stun San Jose
Hey, remember when the Sharks didn't think Evgeni Nabokov was a good goalie? So they went out and got Antero Niittymaki and then Antti Niemi?

Yeah. About that.

It's still early, but San Jose officials have to be a little curious about their goalies after Atlanta erased a 2-0 deficit by scoring four straight times against Niemi and defeated San Jose, 4-2. The Sharks have played only three games (two by Niemi and one by Niittymaki) and so far, the results haven't been very impressive. Niemi's first start was solid but not this one.

The guy who was impressive was Chris Mason, who made 37 saves for the Thrashers. Andrew Ladd, Anthony Stewart, Dustin Byfuglien and Evander Kane scored for Atlanta.

Tick, tock, tick, tock
How early is too early for a first-time head coach to be on the hot seat? John McLean might be getting curious. Also on the clock watch is the career-span of Martin Brodeur.

Four different Bruins scored goals as Boston throttled Brodeur and the Devils, 4-1. New Jersey now sits 1-4-1 through six games and Brodeur, who has started each game, has allowed fewer than three goals in a game just twice. He's given up four goals twice and five goals once.

Something for New Jersey that has plenty of time remaining is Ilya Kovalchuk's contract. Kovalchuk was held without a point for the third time in six games and logged only 15:35 of ice time. For a team that's struggling to score goals (New Jersey has five in its last four games), why didn't he get more ice time?

Anyway, Jordan Caron (the first of his NHL career), Michael Ryder, Shawn Thornton and Milan Lucic scored. Tim Thomas made 37 saves and could be getting back into a time-share at worst with Tuukka Rask, if not outright wresting away the No. 1 reins.

Doubling up
--Sidney Crosby broke out of his season-long slump by scoring two power play goals in a span of 84 seconds and also assisted on a goal as Pittsburgh defeated Philadelphia, 5-1.
--Milan Jurcina scored once shorthanded and again even-strength to lead the Islanders past Colorado, 5-2. Jurcina also had an assist.
--Continuing with the two-goal-one-assist theme, David Booth did the same as Florida routed Tampa Bay, 6-0, handing the Lightning their first loss. Tomas Vokoun made 29 saves.
--Patrick Sharp had a brace (soccer term: two goals) in Chicago's 4-3 win over Buffalo.

Stop the presses
Jarome Iginla and Olli Jokinen registered points. Calgary scored goals. The Flames won! Holy cow. Never thought I'd see the day. Iginla scored his first goal of the season and added an assist, Alex Tanguay scored twice and had one assist and the Flames beat Edmonton, 5-3.

Working late
--Washington erased a 2-0 deficit in the third period and Alex Ovechkin scored in overtime to give the Capitals a 3-2 win over Nashville.
--Kari Lehtonen made 41 saves and Dallas erased an early two-goal deficit to earn a 3-2 shootout win over St. Louis.
--Niklas Kronwall's power play goal with 16 seconds remaining in overtime lifted Detroit over Phoenix, 2-1. Jimmy Howard made 25 saves.

Power outage this time
Sorry, Wild fans. After praising Minnesota's power play, I apparently jinxed them, leading to a 1-for-5 performance (note: I'd kill for the Pens to go 1-for-5) but worst of all, allowing a shorthanded goal to R.J. Umberger that snapped a 2-2 tie in the third period and helped Columbus to a 3-2 win.

Rope-a-dope only for Montreal?
A common strategy for the Canadiens in the 2010 playoffs was get a lead, pack it in on defense and allow the opponent to fire a bunch of shots from long-range that didn't have much chance of going in. Ottawa apparently tried to do that but failed miserably.

After taking a 3-1 lead midway through the game, the Senators were out-shot 16-2 in the third period and 40-19 overall, watching Montreal storm back to earn a 4-3 win on Tomas Plekanec's late goal.

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