The Red Wings we able to hold onto a 3-1 lead going into the 3rd period, only allowing one more goal against in the 3rd for a 3-2 victory. Leading the way for the veteran Wings squad was Henrik Zetterberg, who eventuality got credit for the winning goal and an assist for a 2-point night. Zetterberg was the only player having the big night for the Red Wings with a multiple-point night. I'm expecting a good bounce back season fro him and some of the vets in Detroit.
A couple of the Blackhawks rookies were making a name for themselves on the scoresheet in the loss against the Red Wings. Brandon Pirri and Jeremy Morin each had a goal and an assist in the loss, but that could end up being a big win for them, as the Blackhawks will likely have some spots still to be decided on in the next week or so. They had definitely done their parts to get another look and/or another game.
Michael Leighton made 31 stops in regulation and overtime and only let one goal past him in the shootout to claim a 4-3 victory over the Maple Leafs on Friday night. Leighton's job as number one may not be as concrete as maybe it should be going into the regular season, but with a win like this, it picked up a little bit of help. Nikolai Zherdev also got into the mix with a couple of goals, while Claude Giroux added a couple of assists for the victory. Zherdev was picked up in the off-season for a bargain price and might turn out to be a bargain-type player.
The Leafs also had a couple of players picking up some points and it was a couple of newer faces that were doing the deed for them. Kris Versteeg had a goal and an assist in the loss and was getting some pretty good reviews as the night wore on. New captain Dion Phaneuf also chimed in with a goal and an assist. Phaneuf might not be as new to the team as Versteeg, but the captaincy is still out of the wrapper. Both players will have to get into their scoring grooves for the Leafs to be competitive this year.
Without one of their big superstars on the ice, the Penguins were able to squeak past a Blue Jackets team that was also without one or two big names, 5-4. Chris Kunitz had a goal and an assist for the Penguins, while Alex Goligoski, Mark Letestu and Steve Wagner all chimed in with a pair of assists each. Auditions for this year's Penguins team are happening more for the blueline more than anywhere else and a guy like Wagner, who has been around the league for a little while now, might finally have himself a place to play with more games like this in the preseason.
The Blue Jackets may not have had all the big guns out, but they had a great performance from Tomas Kubalik, their 5th round pick in 2008, scoring a hat-trick in the game. The Blue Jackets line-up among the forwards may be a tough one to crack this year, but at least Kubalik should have an extra notch or two beside his name for the rest of camp to help his cause. Assisting on all three Kubalik goals last night was Kristian Huselius, who made good use out of his young linemate.
The St. Louis Blues ripped the Minnesota Wild a new one with a 5-0 shellacking on Friday night. Ty Conklin made 21 saves for the shutout victory, giving the coaching staff some confidence that he will be more than capable to back-up Jaroslav Halak this year. Alex Steen and David Perron each potted a pair of goals in the win, while B.J. Crombeen and Roman Polak each had a pair of assists. All of these guys should be on the Blues roster for opening night and should likely be picked accordingly in your hockey pool this year.
Kari Lehtonen made 34 saves in a tight 2-1 victory for the Stars over the Avalanche on Friday night. Lehtonen is the Stars' new hope in goal this year and gave some of their fans something to cheer about with a good win. Lehtonen will want to instill some confidence in poolies with some good preseason starts, but he is still such a liability with his health, its hard to determine whether or not he's a good pick. On the other hand, Brad Richards is still a pretty solid pick for your pool and he had a pair of assists in the win over Colorado last night, just to let you know that he's ready to go again this year.
The Ducks and Sharks played a bit of a barn burner to finish off the night of preseason action, with a 5-4 win for the visiting Ducks. Corey Perry had a hat-trick in the game, while Ryan Getzlaf had 4 assists, but both players were in the minuses in their plus/minus rating, meaning they were only making up for what they let in on other shifts. Both players are another year older & wiser, which should make them into pretty good picks for the pool, but with some sketchy defense, you may want to hold back on them if the plus/minus counts in your pool. Also having a good night for the Ducks was Jake Newton, who finished with a goal and an assist from the blueline.
The Sharks also saw a couple of pluses in Joe Pavelski, who had 3 assists in the loss to Anaheim and Sean Sullivan also had a couple of assists in the game as well. I have a feeling that Pavelski will be a hot commodity in my draft on Tuesday night, likely going a little higher than some may project him to, while Sullivan has an outside shot of earning the 7th spot on the blueline, but even after a good performance on the scoresheet, it may not be enough.