Friday, October 15, 2010

Night of firsts; Calgary closing gap for "worst"

Six games were played Friday, and three teams earned their first victory of the season.

Mr. Underwood, Elliott lead Sens
Just when I was beginning to consider cutting Brian Elliott from a fantasy team, Pascal Leclaire came through with his annual first injury of the season. After a goalmouth collision just over two minutes into the game, Leclaire departed after making three saves.

In his place, Elliott stopped 19 shots and Mike Fisher scored twice to lead Ottawa past Carolina, 3-2, for the Senators' first victory of 2010-11. Fisher's second goal came on the power play with 5:57 remaining and was the second half of a double minor. The Hurricanes had done a great job killing the first two minutes. Ottawa finally got the puck into the attacking zone for about five seconds when Fisher just blasted a slapper past Cam Ward.

Carolina had erased a 2-0 deficit on goals by Sergei Samsonov and Eric Staal, who had two points. Ward made 36 saves. Milan Michalek also scored for Ottawa.

Power play propels Minnesota to first win
NHL teams take note: It might be a good idea to avoid taking penalties against the Wild.

Minnesota converted four of six chances with the man-advantage in a 4-2 victory over Edmonton, giving the Wild a 7-for-16 success rate on the power play through three games. That'll get 'er done.

Mikko Koivu scored twice and added an assist to lead Minnesota to its first win. Mittens and Matt Cullen each had a goal and assist and Andrew Brunette posted two helpers. Niklas Backstrom stopped 24 shots.

Dustin Penner and Tom Gilbert scored for the Oilers.

Whither Jarome Iginla? Florida blanks Flames
I'd initially written in the headline that Calgary was now in the lead for the league's worst team. I changed my mind because despite being shut out at home by Florida, 3-0, the Flames still aren't worse than Anaheim (yet), since the Ducks still have a minus-10 goal differential. Give Calgary time, though. It could happen.

That Olli Jokinen signing is working out fabulously, isn't it? Calgary has now scored just three goals in three games, and neither Jokinen nor captain Jarome Iginla have registered a point. Bad times in Alberta. Looks like the Oilers will have to carry the province this season.

Tomas Vokoun stopped all 27 shots he saw and Radek Dvorak scored twice for Florida, which became the last team to earn a point in recording its first win. Marty Reasoner had two assists and Shawn Matthias also scored.

Yzerman: GM of the Year
Tampa Bay held high-powered Philadelphia to four shots on goal in the third period, making Pavel Kubina's early goal in the final frame stand up as the winner in the Lightning's 3-2 victory. Steven Stamkos and Dominic Moore also scored for the Lightning, which got 24 saves from Dan Ellis.

Danny Briere and Nikolaiy Zherdev scored for the Flyers.

In a rare classy gesture from an entity of the Philadelphia sports universe, former Flyer and current member of the Lightning Simon Gagne was named the game's No. 1 star despite recording no points, only one shot on goal and a minus-1 rating. Nice gesture.

--Cal O'Reilly recorded three assists, Steve Sullivan scored twice and Anders Lindback made 32 saves for Nashville in a 4-3 win over St. Louis.
--Brad Richards scored once and set up two other goals as Dallas downed Detroit, 4-1. No Gagne-like gesture for former Star and current Red Wing Mike Modano from the Three Stars voters.

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