The New Jersey Devils looked good on paper against the Rangers, defeating them 3-2 on Thursday. For the Devils, it was Zach Parise who showed that he was ready to get the season going with two goals against the State rivals. Parise had himself a great year last season, scoring 32 goals in 81 games for Jersey and is in line to do it all over again. This does help Brodeur's case for 40+ wins this season.
A welcome to the two new defensemen on the Senators' roster, as both Filip Kuba and Jason Smith each recorded assists on the tying and game-winning goals of the game. Kuba, acquired from Tampa Bay, and Smith, signed as a free agent, will man the blueline this season for Ottawa, giving the team some good depth, experience and skill from the backend. This could be the pairing that eats up a lot of ice-time in most games, along with Chris Phillips and Anton Volchenkov.
Tomas Fleischmann made a good case for some more ice-time on Wednesday night, scoring a pair of goals in Washington's win against Carolina. Fleischmann played in 75 games for the Capitals last year, scoring 10 goals and added 20 assists, so you know that he does have some talent. Paired up with veteran winger, Viktor Kozlov, Fleischmann may have himself a good season pairing to keep his numbers up. Stock is on the rise here.
The Canadiens and the Red Wings squared off at Joe Louis Arena and the Habs gave the Red Wings a look at a piece of the team that would likely be challenging them for the Cup at the end of the year. Andrei Markov proved to be the hero of the game for the Habs, assisting on the game-tying goal that would eventually send the game to a shootout, where Markov scored the shootout winner. It looks like the Canadiens are in pretty good shape this year, also getting a contribution from their new acquisition Robert Lang (two assists).
The Penguins hosted the Leafs on Wednesday and what should be considered more of a 3-0 game, the Leafs did pull two goals out in the third to make it a 3-2 final. Evgeni Malkin was something else in the game, scoring a goal and an assist. Malkin moved the puck, dangled it through defenders and was a dominant force throughout the night. His high praise from last season is certainly warranted.
The Minnesota Wild turned in a defensive performance against Columbus, winning 2-1 at home. Niklas Backstrom turned away 22 shots for the win, as the offensively strapped Wild managed to sneak one by the Jackets. Not a lot to take from this game, although Owen Nolan did record his first point of the pre-season with the Wild.
The Coyotes and Flames were in Winnipeg on Wednesday night, where the Flames took the game, 3-2. For the Coyotes, however, there was a brighter ray of light that shone through. Scoring both goals for Phoenix was prospect Enver Lisin, a forward from Russia, drafted in the 2nd round of 2004. There are some high hopes for Lisin, who is looking to crack the Coyotes line-up full-time. Assisting on both goals was Shane Doan, who also looked fairly sharp in the game.
In a 4-3 shootout loss to the Kings, the Avalanche were looking to prove that they were healthy enough to make a difference in the Northwest Division again. Ryan Smyth scored a pair of goals in the game, both assisted by Paul Statsny. Joe Sakic was in the line-up for the Avs, registering an assist, and Darcy Tucker debuted with a goal. It may be a bit early yet to count out Colorado.
In yet another shootout last night, Panther newcomer, Bryan McCabe, scored the shootout winner for the Panthers, as they topped the Oilers, 3-2. Top prospect, Shawn Matthias, also tallied for the Panthers in the win, as they move 3-0 in pre-season play.
Finally, it was a bit of a romp on the pond in Anaheim last night, as the Ducks took it to the Sharks, 6-4, in a high scoring affair. Ryan Getzlaf was tops on the Ducks scoresheet, scoring a goal and adding three assists. Mid-season form came early for him. Bobby Ryan scored a pair of goals and added an assist, while Corey Perry scored a pair of goals. There was plenty to be optimistic about in Anaheim. Bobby Ryan's stock as a rookie will go up with this game, as he is tabbed to be one of the players in the running for the Calder Trophy this year. He might be a good one to snap up.