Friday, October 8, 2010

Pens search for reset button; the Oilers (?!) win big

Careless turnover, shoddy finishing doom Penguins in new arena opening
Throughout the first game at Pittsburgh's new Consol Energy Center, the Penguins were just asking for trouble. A blind drop pass here, a blind drop pass there, holy criminy, there's another blind drop pass.

This time, it's in the back of the net. The wrong net.

A series of careless (you guessed it) blind drop passes finally caught up to Pittsburgh, when Kris Letang attempted to shovel the puck backwards in his own end to defense partner Paul Martin while on the power play. Instead, Philadelphia's Claude Giroux picked up the puck, deked Marc-Andre Fleury out of his equipment and buried what proved to be the winner as the Flyers spoiled the first regular season game at the Consol Energy Center, 3-2 over Pittsburgh.

The Penguins arguably out-played the Flyers, but the argument turns moot as Pittsburgh consistently failed to score on any of its many, many chances. There were a number of posts, quite a few just-misses, and just poor finishing. Philadelphia took advantage by jumping out to a 2-0 lead on a nifty redirect goal by Danny (apparently not Daniel any more) Briere on the power play and Blair Betts' opportunistic rebound goal.

Tyler Kennedy scored early in the third period to restore life to the home faithful, only for Giroux to bury the team again. But hark, Alex Goligoski redirected Zbynek Michalek's wrist shot from the point on the same power play on which Giroux scored, but that would be the end of it.

Highly touted young goalie Sergei Bobrovsky became the latest rookie netminder to earn his first career win, in his first career start, against Pittsburgh, making 29 saves. With any luck, his career becomes like the last goalie, Carey Price, who has been underwhelming since then (but OK, might turn out to be good anyway.)

Oilers douse Flames with huge outburst
Of all the goalies on display Thursday night - including whatever unknown Philadelphia was going to throw out - who would've guessed Nikolai Khabibulin would post the only shutout?

His 37 saves provided the will, and three goals in a span of 3:40 by his teammates paved the way for Edmonton, which blanked Calgary, 4-0, behind a goal and assist by rookie Jordan Eberle. He was originally credited with two goals, but as of this writing, the second was changed to Shawn Horcoff.

Ales Hemsky, seeking a strong season after an injury cut short his 2009-10 campaign, also scored, as did Gilbert Brule. Taylor Hall did not record a point in his NHL debut.

Oh, that's who's going to score
Honestly, I did know Brandon Sutter's name before Thursday, when I questioned who would score for the Hurricanes. Now Minnesota fans know him too.

Sutter, who netted 21 goals last season, leads the NHL after scoring a pair to lead Carolina 4-3 over Minnesota in Helsinki, Finland. Anton Babchuk scored in his return to the NHL and Jussi Jokinen had a goal and assist for Carolina, which got 26 saves from Cam Ward.

Guillaume Latendresse, Matt Cullen and Brent Burns scored for the Wild.

Plan the parade
Tim Brent (who?!) and Phil Kessel needed just nine minutes to start the "Get rid of Carey Price" campaign going, staking Toronto to a quick 2-0 lead over Montreal which became a 3-2 victory. Clarke MacArthur also scored for the Maple Leafs, who got 26 saves from Jean-Sebastien Giguere. Dustin Boyd and Jeff Halpern scored for the Canadiens, who need more than Dustin Boyd and Jeff Halpern to provide offense.

Down go the champs
XM, Sirius, satellite radio listeners, a word of advice: Listen to the Altitude radio games. Comedy gold, that play by play guy. From on-air orgasms when Colorado scores, to complaints about the officiating ("That should've been a penalty!") to down and depressed when the opposition gets a goal, he provides everything for your over-the-top needs. Think Doc Emrick gets excited? Hoo boy. You ain't heard nothing yet.

So imagine how excited he was when Paul Stastny scored his second goal of the game to give Colorado a 4-3 overtime victory over defending champion Chicago. The Avalanche lost a 3-1 lead when Marian Hossa and Patrick Sharp scored but Stastny's marker late in overtime provided the win. Chris Stewart and Matt Duchene had a goal and assist each for Colorado. Craig Anderson made 35 saves. Bryan Bickell scored the game's opening goal for Chicago and Marty Turco stopped 37 shots.


Nick in New York said...

Oh yeah. The Avs radio AND TV guys are all about bringing it. Mike Haynes is one of them, IIRC, (not sure tv or radio) and he used to do Broncos too, IIRC. They're amazing.

KiPA - Kevin in PA said...

I can't really stand watching Altitude on Center Ice, but since there were only two games on XM last night on my way home from that pathetic excuse of an opener, I decided COL-CHI would be more entertaining so it'd be better to listen to. I wasn't disappointed.