Friday, September 22, 2017

Last Night's Preseason Performers (Sep 22)

It was a full game for both Keith Kinkaid of the Devils and Carey Price of the Canadiens and the winner was... the Devils!  Okay, it's still the preseason and the rosters are not what they are really going to be, but it's something when the lowly Devils get the best of one of the best goalies in the world.

Kinkaid made 28 saves in the 4-1 victory and if it wasn't for a last minute goal for, we wouldn't have any multi-point skaters, but Jesper Bratt scored a late goal to give him a pair, while Stefan Noesen also assisted on both of his goals to get a nod as well.  Kinkaid has a roster spot set, but the other two, still sitting on the bubble, both with some possibility still.

It must be that time of the preseason, when goalies start getting full games, because Tuukka Rask got the nod for the Bruins and he went from start to finish, making 30 saves in a 2-1 win over the Flyers on Thursday night.  Rask is one of my highest projected players this year, as I think the Bruins have improved a fair bit in this off-season and Rask is going to be the guy that cleans up in the points department.

The theme of goalies continued on to the Minnesota Wild playing host to the Winnipeg Jets at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, where Alex Stalock put a stranglehold on the back-up job with a 21-save shutout on Thursday night.  The Wild scored midway through the 2nd period and that was all that they could muster and all that they really needed in the end, as the boxscore suggests somewhat of a dud game.

The Chicago Blackhawks flexed a little bit of that familiar muscle on Thursday night and the Detroit Red Wings were the unlucky recipients of their wrath.  The Blackhawks had yet to dress a good portion of their veterans until tonight, but with Jonathan Toews out with a bout of the flu, they had most of their regulars in the lineup for a 6-1 win.

The Blackhawks were led by returnee Brandon Saad, who picked up hat trick in the win, while Richard Panik was also good enough to chip in with a trio of assists in this one.  There were questions about both of these guys heading into the season, more about how would Saad fit in again on his come back to Chicago or how would Panik fare in year two of his tenure with the Hawks?

Nick Schmaltz, Patrick Sharp and Jordan Oesterle were all good enough for a pair of assists each in the win as well.  The Blackhawks made a number of cuts before the game on Thursday, so they will be getting down to the nitty-gritty here soon.

Two teams that struggled defensively in 2017 went head-to-head with rosters that won't quite resemble their opening night lists, except for maybe the home side, the Avalanche, had a couple more key vets on their side, which was likely the tipping point in their 5-1 win.

We skipped a game that had a notable goalie, so let's rectify that by mentioning that Semyon Varlamov got the nod and the complete game for Colorado, making 21 saves in the win.  Try not to get fooled by the trio of assists that Nail Yakupov had last night, he certainly seems to be the guy that loves playing in the preseason and then disappears on opening night.

Alex Kerfoot and David Warsofsky each went one and one last night, while Chris Bigras had a pair of assists, all three vying for some bubble spots on the roster this season.  Kerfoot the more interesting of the bunch, as a big NCAA free agent signing in this off-season, making waves early.

The traveling road show that are the Vegas Golden Knights were in San Jose on Thursday night, taking on another divisional opponent in the Sharks in some preseason action, still undefeated heading into the game.  The Sharks were ready for the assignment ahead of them, as they iced a pretty strong side and threw Martin Jones in for the whole thing.  The Sharks were the better of the two teams on the night, winning 5-2 and Jones making 15 saves for the win.

Tomas Hertl, Timo Meier, Joakim Ryan and Chris Tierney were all 2-point players on the night, Hertl the only one of the four players with a goal, the rest all posted pairs of assists.  The Sharks had four other goal scorers on the night, spreading the offense around, showing us why they shouldn't be discounted too badly headed into the season.

The Golden Knights had one bright spot in the loss, as Cody Eakin made his preseason debut and registered a pair of assists on each of the team's goals on the night.  He'll be locked in for a roster spot, undoubtedly and I believe he will be pool worthy this season.

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