Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Looking back and ahead

Tuesday's action

Backup Budaj beats Babcock's boys
Boom goes the alliteration. Anyway.

Peter Budaj got the start against Detroit and thanks to multiple comebacks, helped Colorado down the Red Wings, 5-4 in a shootout. The Avalanche trailed 3-1 before Ryan O'Reilly scored a late second-period goal en route to tying the game at 3-3 before the Red Wings went back in front on a shorthanded goal by Patrick Eaves.

Enter David Jones, who netted his second goal (and third point) of the game with nine minutes to play to force overtime. Neither team scored and Brandon Yip netted the only tally in the six-round shootout. Budaj finished with 24 saves. Personally, I was a little surprised to see him in goal. I probably would've played him against Philadelphia on Monday and save my better goalie for the conference foe, but that's why I'm here and not behind a bench. Seemed to work out well enough.

Noted goal scorer Daniel Winnik also found the back of the net for Colorado. Winnik now has 19 goals in 205 games, including just seven over the last two seasons.

Johan Franzen scored twice for Detroit.

LA finds the touch, rallies past Atlanta
I was all set to write about the regret Dean Lombardi must be having over not signing Ilya Kovalchuk, given Los Angeles' continued failure to score goals, when the Kings entered the third period trailing 1-0 to Atlanta.

For now, Lombardi doesn't have to worry. Two goals in a span of 2:17 and a three-point night from Ryan Smyth, plus 31 saves by Jonathan Quick, boosted Los Angeles over the Thrashers, 3-1. Smyth scored the game's first goal, assisted on Jarret Stoll's eventual game-winner and capped the evening off with an empty netter.

Justin Williams had two assists and Stoll added a helper. Chris Mason was strong in defeat, making 32 saves.

Wednesday's games

New Jersey (0-2-1) at Buffalo (1-2-0), 7 p.m. EDT

Unless something changes between now and 7 p.m., New Jersey will once again play without a full lineup. The Devils nearly pulled off a win against Pittsburgh with a third-period surge but ultimately fell short. Ilya Kovalchuk has yet to score a goal and the Devils are still looking for their first victory.

A strong debut for Buffalo is almost forgotten now, as the Sabres have allowed 10 goals in their last two games, both losses. They'll probably be without Jason Pominville, who suffered a concussion after being drilled from behind by Niklas Hjalmarsson. Offense hasn't been the problem for Buffalo, though, as Derek Roy is having a strong start.

Islanders (1-0-1) at Washington (2-1-0), 7 p.m., Versus

Not really sure why Versus decided to show this game, but it could be intriguing. New York's shown some feistiness, scoring 10 goals in its first two games. Still, I can't imagine the Capitals will have too much trouble in this one.

Toronto (2-0-0) at Pittsburgh (1-2-0), 7:30 p.m., TSN

Speaking of being feisty, the Maple Leafs needed just two games to double last October's win total of one. Jean-Sebastien Giguere has been strong, allowing only three goals. He'll face a Pittsburgh lineup that's good at putting shots on net but not in the net. The Penguins have scored just seven goals in three games, and one was an empty netter.

Tampa Bay (1-0-0) at Montreal (1-1-0), 7:30 p.m., RDS

In what I think is a scheduling oddity, Tampa Bay is one of just two teams (Nashville the other) that has played just one game so far. So, it's tough to get even a small read on the Lightning, except to say Steven Stamkos is good. The Canadiens lost to Toronto but beat Pittsburgh. So who knows.

Nashville (1-0-0) at Chicago (1-1-1), 8:30 p.m.

Here are the Predators. They'll renew rivalries with Chicago in a rematch of a first-round playoff series from last season. Pekka Rinne, injured in Nashville's opener, could return and if so, he'll need to be sharp against a Blackhawks offense that torched Ryan Miller for four goals. It's still unclear who will carry the offensive load for Nashville. Corey Crawford earned Chicago's first win but I'd still expect Marty Turco to be back in goal, though you never know. Marian Hossa is fresh off a two-goal game last time out.

Vancouver (1-0-1) at Anaheim (0-3-0), 10 p.m., TSN

The Canucks, like the Kings and Penguins, are a surprising team that's having trouble scoring goals. A team that boasted six players with 25 goals or more (two with over 30) last season has managed just three as a whole so far, though it's not all that easy scoring against Jonathan Quick or Tomas Vokoun. The Ducks' troubles I documented a couple days ago, so if any team is the remedy to another's scoring woes, it's Anaheim. I won't be surprised if we see a Ducks coaching change this season, possibly soon, if the team remains as undisciplined and out of sorts as it is now.

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