Sunday, September 24, 2017

Last Night's Preseason Performers (Sep 24)

Mikael Granlund made his first preseason appearance for the Minnesota Wild on Saturday and he didn't disappoint, picking up a goal and an assist in the 2-1 win over the Avalanche.  Devan Dubnyk got the call for the whole game and had to make 28 stops for the victory.  This Wild team is aiming quite high this season and with the right amount of elbow grease, they can really go places.

The Red Wings have been a real Jekyll & Hyde kind of team in this preseason... one day, they'll be the team you expect and not show up and then the next, they'll beat a team with a handful of goals.  Jimmy Howard got the start against the Bruins last night, making 19 saves in a 5-1 win and he had quite a bit of help in this one.  Frans Nielsen and Martin Frk both had 3-point efforts, while Mike Green, Anthony Mantha and Dylan Larkin all had 2-point nights.  Which team is going to be the regular season team, I wonder?

Cam Ward isn't quite ready to let go of the number one spot in Carolina just yet, as he went the distance against the Capitals on Saturday night, making 22 saves for the 4-1 win.  Valentin Zykov was the only forward to hit multiple points in this one, as he picked up a couple of assists, but the money maker is the blueline, where Justin Faulk and Trevor Carrick each had a goal and assist.

The Senators gave the net to Craig Anderson for his first full preseason game on Saturday night and he bested the Canadiens by making 25 saves in a 5-1 victory.  Rookie Logan Brown made a statement with a 3-point night, including a pair of goals, while Mark Stone went one and one and prospect Alex Formenton had a couple of assists in the victory.

Did someone say starting goalies?  Cory Schneider also went the distance for the New Jersey Devils on Saturday, going up against the Rangers.  It was a decent Rangers squad for preseason action as well, which made the Devils holding them down to 18 shots, all the more impressive.  Schneider had to make 17 saves in the 2-1 win, but the lack of offense may still be a bit concerning.

Kasperi Kapanen continues to make a case that there just isn't enough young players on the Maple Leafs roster, heading into the 2018 season.  Kapanen was the only Leafs player worth noting in a 3-1 win over the Sabres in Buffalo on Saturday night.  I fully expect to see Kapanen in a Leafs uniform when the puck drops and I also expect him to make an impact in the hockey pool this year too.

Talk about another keeper that isn't going to be shuffled off to a backup role too quietly... Kari Lehtonen made 21 saves in a 4-0 shutout victory over the Blues last night.  He's expected to be the number two guy behind Ben Bishop, but as a protest to that idea, it's a pretty good one.  Another name to keep an eye on in Dallas is Roope Hintz, as he has been having a good camp, according to some reports, plus he added a couple of assists last night.  Let's not forget about Dan Hamhuis either, he went one and one last night too.

The Blue Jackets gave back-up goalie Joonas Korpisalo a run against the Blackhawks on Saturday night and he had to make an incredible 52 saves in a 3-2 victory in Chicago, all but sealing his spot as the number two guy in Columbus.  If it wasn't for him, this post likely wouldn't have been possible.

Patrick Sharp of the Blackhawks was the only notable offensive player in this game, as he assisted on both pucks that managed to get past the Jackets keeper.

The Sharks took to the desert on Saturday night and it took them through to the shootout to dispatch of the Coyotes in preseason action.  Troy Grosenick, who is trying to unseat Aaron Dell as the back-up, made 24 saves in regulation and overtime, before making four key stops in the skills competition for the win.  Mikkel Boedker was the only Sharks player to register 2 points, picking up a pair of goals in the win and he's coming off a fairly disappointing 2017 season, in need of a bounce back.

For the dogs, they were highlighted by Nick Cousins, Derek Stepan, Clayton Keller and Christian Dvorak, who all had 2 points each in various fashions.  The Coyotes may not roll over this season or at the very least, roll over on command.

Finally, it was a pretty veteran-laden roster for the Oilers that welcomed the Winnipeg Jets to town and Cam Talbot got the nod for the game, making 20 saves in a 6-2 thumping.  Jesse Puljujarvi and Connor McDavid were both 3-point players in the win, while Brad Malone potted a pair of goals of his own, trying to make an impression in this camp.  The Oilers are going to be an offensive juggernaut this season, so you may want to consider buying early and often into them.

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