The Toronto Maple Leafs probably ramped up the excitement levels even more on Friday night with an 8-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres. Defenseman Frank Corrado put a good word for a roster spot with a 3-point night to lead the way for the young Leafs and then it was quite the cast of characters with 2 points on the night. Mitch Marner, Peter Holland, Kasperi Kapanen, Matt Hunwick and Jake Gardiner all had great nights well.
It was a positive sign for the Pittsburgh Penguins, as Marc-Andre Fleury made 24 saves for a shutout against the Chicago Blackhawks, 1-0. Fleury is the number one for the Penguins, as they are waiting for Matt Murray to heal up from a broken hand. Fleury's value will certainly increase, but with all signs pointing to Murray being the team's number one, when healthy, his annual value won't nearly be as high.
The Tampa Bay Lightning are still without one of their key restricted free agents, but Ondrej Palat did well enough on Friday to ease the team's concerns. Palat scored the overtime winner and added an assist in a 2-1 win over the Hurricanes. Palat was a 40-point player last season and he should improve on those numbers with a healthy season, which will make him a very attractive pick in the pool next weekend.
It was another solid goaltending performance in Detroit, as the Bruins will likely be going with Friday night's winner, Anton Khudobin, as their back-up goalie for the year. Khudobin made 34 saves in an overtime victory, playing the entire game. Last season, the 30-year old Kazakh played in Anaheim as the back-up and third goalie and moved back to Boston for more work. He could be a good late round goalie, if needed.
The St. Louis Blues got the best of their division rivals from Dallas on Friday night, 4-1, but there wasn't much in the way of notable scorers or point-getters in this one, except for defenseman Petteri Lindbohm, who had a goal and an assist in the win. Last season, he played in 10 games for the Blues, but didn't register any points. After the top four defensemen on their roster, the Blues could have some competition for one of the last three spots and Lindbohm has given some notice for it.
The Edmonton Oilers finally got Jesse Puljujarvi into their preseason lineup for the first time on Friday night, but it wasn't enough, as the hosts, the Winnipeg Jets, were excellent, beating the Oilers, 5-1.
Mark Scheifele had a 4-point night and Blake Wheeler chipped in with 3 points, while Adam Lowry had a goal and an assist in the victory. Michael Hutchinson is keeping the goaltending conversation interesting in Winnipeg, after making 33 saves in the win.
The Flames have been getting rave reviews for their pairing of Sam Bennett and Troy Brouwer, who each walked out of their victory against the Canucks on Friday night with a couple of points each. This combination will be a big look for the Flames and it is expected to start the season, at the very least, and this offensive showing should give a lot of hope to Flames fans and poolies alike.
It was a good night for Mikhail Grigorenko, scoring a pair of goals for the Colorado Avalanche in their 3-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings. Also getting in on the scoring act was tryout Rene Bourque, who added another pair of assists in the victory, as his name has been popping up in these blog posts early on. Grigorenko is a lock for a job and a good hockey pool prospect, but Bourque could be making a great case for an NHL deal this Fall.
For the Kings, Jeff Carter returned from his lower-body injury, which kept him out of Canada's lineup at the World Cup, playing 18 minutes on the ice in the loss.
The San Jose Sharks picked up a preseason overtime win over the Arizona Coyotes on Friday, 3-2, and in that one, defenseman Justin Braun picked up a couple of regulation time assists in the victory. Goaltender Aaron Dell is also trying to make a case for the back-up job, making 20 saves in the victory, getting the call for the whole game.
Tomas Hertl was another high profiled player making his first appearance in the preseason, as he had off-season knee surgery and was obviously given the green light. He should be good to go for opening night now.