Thursday, September 21, 2017

Last Night's Preseason Performers (Sep 21)

There was no Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin... no Phil Kessel or Patric Hornqvist.  That didn't matter, Jake Guentzel is trying to lift himself among those names and a 5-point effort against the Red Wings will give him a hand up on that idea.  The Penguins, on the shoulders of their budding young superstar, narrowly beat the Red Wings, 6-5 in overtime, for an exhibition win.

Also having a good game for the Penguins were Conor Sheary, who had a 3-point night, while a 23-year old rookie Adam Johnson and Justin Schultz had a couple of points each.  The depth in Pittsburgh looks promising again this year, which is definitely a scary thought.

The Red Wings still scored a handful of goals as well, which shouldn't be overlooked.  Gustav Nyquist, who may have been a tad disappointing in 2017, had a good start to his preseason with 2 goals and 2 assists on the night.  The Red Wings, if they want to be competitive this season, will need him.  Prospect defenseman Joe Hicketts also chipped in with a pair of assists as well, but he'll have a hard time cracking this blueline this season.

The Devils and Rangers took part in what looked to be a very back-and-forth affair at Madison Square Garden last night, with the Rangers capping off the game with an overtime winner, taking the game, 4-3.

The Rangers' big prize in the off-season, defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk, got off to a great start, notching 3 assists in the win.  Chris Kreider and Mats Zuccarello each came away with 2 points a piece, as the vets were the ones coming up big for the home side in their win.

New signing Drew Stafford and tryout member Jimmy Hayes were both decent for the Devils in this one, each posting 2 points in the loss.  The Devils have some bubble spots for Hayes, if he can earn a job, but there could be a push from their youth, which might also keep Hayes unemployed too.

The Islanders and Flyers had a neutral site game as the first game of their split squad double-header on Wednesday night, playing at the PPL Center in Allenstown, PA, with the Flyers, of course, being the home team.  The home-ice advantage worked out in their favour, with a 3-2 overtime victory over Long Island.

Taylor Leier finished with a pair of goals, while Shayne Gostisbehere had one and one and Dale Weise had a pair of helpers.  There are a couple bubble spots up front for Leier to try and capitalize on and a pair of goals will get him a longer look, I'm sure.

At the Barclay's Center, the Islanders were going to take advantage of their home half of the split squad affair with the Flyers and they certainly did, taking their game 3-2 as well, but theirs was done in regulation.

The Islanders didn't have a multi-point player in the win, but the Flyers had an impressive outing from sophomore forward Travis Konecny, who had a goal and an assist in the loss.  Konecny might have a tough time finding some big time minutes, especially with Nolan Patrick coming to town.

The Lightning and the Hurricanes were at it again on Wednesday night and the result was somewhat similar, as the visiting team was the one walking away with the victory in the preseason match-up.  The Lightning posted a 4-3 victory in the game, but the scoring was so even, that no player finished with more than a single point for the winning side.

The home side, however, did have one familiar name hit the scoresheet more than once and that was Elias Lindholm, who posted a couple of helpers in the game.  Lindholm is one of three Hurricanes players that I have projected in the 50-point range and if the Hurricanes can get their game together, the 22-year old could easily surpass expectations.

The Washington Capitals took a pretty good squad to the Bell Centre in Montreal on Wednesday night and they were rewarded with a pretty full effort from their guys, taking a 4-2 win away from this one.

Evgeny Kuznetsov was the headliner in this game, as the only player with multiple points in the win, as he finished with a goal and a pair of helpers.  Kuznetsov and his restricted free agent contract was one of a couple that incited some change within the Capitals roster this summer and he's off to a start, where the team can feel confident that they made the right decision.

The St. Louis Blues held their own with the Columbus Blue Jackets in town on Wednesday night, but still needed overtime to dispatch their division rivals, 3-2.

Vladimir Tarasenko scored a pair of goals, including the overtime winner, while Jaden Schwartz had a pair of assists as well.  The Blues will need both of these guys to hit their stride early on, if they are going to make a splash, back into the playoffs this year,

The Jackets saw a pair of goals from Zac Dalpe, a bubble player in this training camp, and Sonny Milano, a long-time prospect in their system, still looking to finally crack this roster.  Neither are expected to make an impact, but you never know.

It was a fairly veteran-laden roster for the host Winnipeg Jets, but that wasn't enough for a win for the home fans on Wednesday night, as they dropped a 4-1 decision to an Edmonton Oilers team that didn't bring all of its weapons.

Okay, the Oilers didn't have all their big weapons, but this was a good time for Ryan Nugent-Hopkins to reassert himself into a top six spot in the lineup for opening night and he did well, with a trio of assists in the win to lead the way.  Newcomer Jussi Jokinen was also on top of his game, scoring a goal and adding a pair of assists, while veteran forward Mark Letestu had a goal and an assist as well.

The young Canucks were in Calgary, as the veterans were getting ready in China, taking on the Flames in a different kind of preseason tilt for both sides.  The Canucks were giving extended time to the young guys to make an impact, while the Flames were already trying to pare down their roster for those key roster cuts in the coming days.  A quick start for the Flames wasn't enough, as the kids clawed their way back from a 3-1 deficit to win 5-3 on Wednesday.

Young defenseman Jalen Chatfield was the best Canucks player on the scoresheet, picking up a goal and a pair of assists, while Jake Virtanen went one and one and Cole Cassels had a pair of assists.

Flames junior prospect Dillon Dube had a couple of assists, while the Flames jumped out to that big lead, but obviously, it wasn't enough.

Lots of chatter about an improved Arizona Coyotes team on paper and that product may have translated fairly well on the ice last night, as their group laid a 5-1 beating on a fairly young Anaheim Ducks team.

For the Coyotes, it was all names that you are hoping to see as a poolie, as both Clayton Keller and Christian Fischer each had a pair of goals and an assist for 3-point nights, while Max Domi had a goal and an assist to also make his mark on the blog post.  Let's see how the Coyotes fare against some more veteran laden teams, but they are off to a good start anyways.

This game was more about this morning, than it was last night, but since the post was going to be published after the game finished, we'll count it here.

It was a 5:30am MT start for the Canucks and Kings in Shanghai this morning, the first of two games to be played in China, helping to grow the game ahead of the 2022 Olympic Games in China and one could argue that the display of the new penalty calls may not have been the wisest way to get the game growing, but that's neither here nor there.  It's a big deal and any hockey is better than no hockey!

It was the Kings getting the better of the Canucks in the first game, as they had a bit more jump in their game, capitalizing on some turnovers and a somewhat lethargic opponent.  Defenseman Alec Martinez came out as the top player in the game, finishing with a goal and 2 assists, while Tanner Pearson had a pair of goals, Jeff Carter went one and one and Jake Muzzin had a couple of assists as well.  Jonathan Quick made 31 saves, playing the entire game and earning the win as well.

Game two will go on Saturday morning, a 1:30am MT start, which should be part of the Saturday morning post.
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