With over a week to go in the preseason, it's a little surprising to see a lot of complete games being played by goalies already. A lot of the full games are being seen by the potential back-ups, with the occasional starting goalie thrown in for good measure (and ice-time). This is a trend, which should continue through the remainder of the preseason, leading up to opening night. Keep an eye out for the goalies, as you want to make sure you know who's starting where.
Opening up on Monday's action in the preseason, the Sabres took on the Capitals. Despite the Capitals packing the gist of their offense in the line-up the Sabres managed to cool their jets with a 2-1 win. Patrick Lalime saw all 60 minutes and only had to make 19 stops for the victory. Lalime will be in charge of backing up Ryan Miller this season, likely seeing a little more action in the regular season, helping to keep their number one a little more rested.
The Thrashers entertained the Hurricanes on Monday night and played as bad hosts, beating Carolina, 4-2. Johan Hedberg was in the net for Atlanta, registering the win on a 20-save effort. Former Maple Leafs, Nikolai Antropov and Pavel Kubina, led the team in scoring in the victory. Antropov had three assists, while Kubina scored a goal and added an assist. Both players seemed to be fitting into the new system in Georgia.
The Hurricanes dressed many of their top prospects in their loss to the Thrashers, but it was one of their veterans that shone through the defeat. Rod Brind'Amour had a pair of assists in the game, being the lone bright spot for the Hurricanes. At age 39, there are very few signs of him slowing down any time soon, which is good for the youth of Carolina, likely taking much from his experiences in the NHL.
Steve Mason took to the ice for his first full game of the preseason, helping to beat the Minnesota Wild, 5-1. Mason recorded 16 saves for the win, trying to get back into game shape for a run back to the playoffs in Columbus. Sophomore Derrick Brassard led the team in scoring in the game, picking up a goal and two assists in the contest. If he's back in form, he'll be a great pick-up for a team in their fantasy pool. Rick Nash and Raffi Torres each kicked in a goal and an assist, while Kristian Huselius had a pair of assists in the game as well.
Carey Price made 28 stops in a full game victory over the Penguins on Monday. Price is trying to rebound from a bit of a disappointing year in Montreal and beating the Cup champs is a good start to that. Brian Gionta, again, took top honours in scoring for the Habs, as he's really becoming accustomed to the Montreal way of play, scoring a pair of goals and adding an assist in the 4-3 win. Andrei Markov also had a pair of assists in the game.
The Senators and the Lightning took one of their preseason tilts to Regina on Monday night, where the Sens came away victorious, 3-1. Brian Elliot had very little work to do over the three periods, only seeing 9 shots on goal, earning the win for the Sens. On the scoresheet, it was both Jason Spezza and Mike Fisher earning the top draw, with a goal and an assist each in the game. Overall, the Sens offense wasn't quite there either, only managing 18 shots in the game themselves.
It was J-S Giguere in net for the Ducks, as they beat the Sharks, 3-2, in Anaheim on Monday night. Giguere and Jonas Hiller are locked in a battle to be the number one keeper for the Ducks this season and if Giguere can put up 23-save efforts against teams like the Sharks, he will be tough to deny come next week. The battle will really be on now, as the coaching staff will have a hard decision to make.
The Sharks had some of their bigger guns out on the ice against Anaheim in their 3-2 loss, but they weren't quite cocked and loaded as one may have expected. Instead, it was Benn Ferriero, a rookie forward, who picked up a goal and an assist in the game to lead the Sharks in scoring. The 22-year old Boston College alum has been mentioned a few times in camp and may end up surprising a few, including some long-time Sharks prospects on the depth chart.
The Canucks remained undefeated in the preseason, thanks to some last second heroics and a shootout win, beating the Flames, 5-4. Cory Schneider got the nod in net for the whole game, stopping 13 shots in regulation and overtime. Daniel Sedin scored a pair of goals and the shootout winner for Vancouver, while Alex Burrows and Christian Ehrhoff each had a couple of assists each.
The Flames found a couple of bright spots in their loss, as Jay Bouwmeester had a goal and an assist in the loss, while Brandon Prust had a pair of assists. Bouwmeester is a lock for the Flames on opening night against the same Canucks, while Prust is working his hardest to also be a lock. Right now, I have him penciled in to be there when the puck drops, but there is some competition coming up through the ranks as well.