Thursday, September 28, 2017

Last Night's Preseason Performers (Sep 28)

We already know that Antti Niemi has won the back-up job for the Pittsburgh Penguins, so now it is all about getting those preseason legs worked into regular season legs with the current starts and he got a good workout out of the Buffalo Sabres on Wednesday night, stopping 38 of 42 shots in a 5-4 win.

It's still scary to think what this Penguins team will be capable of offensively this season, especially when Jake Guentzel and Conor Sheary led the way with 3 points each and then Evgeni Malkin, Phil Kessel and Sidney Crosby each had 2 points.  These Penguins are going to go early and quickly, I'm thinking.

The Sabres scoring four goals last night was no feat to sneeze at and Ryan O'Reilly was the most notable player, notching a pair of assists in the loss.

There may be no one happier in this preseason than Cory Schneider these days, as he is finally seeing some offense being played in front of him and that was one thing he didn't get to see enough of last season. The luck that brought Nico Hischier to the team, the trade that saw Marcus Johansson come from Washington, among other moves, and the Devils are finally giving their goalie some help... in the preseason.  Hischier had another goal and a pair of assists, while defenseman Damon Severson had a couple of assists as well and Schneider made 22 saves for the win, as the Devils topped the Capitals, 4-1.

The Canadiens took their preseason schedule to Quebec City for one of their last preseason games on the schedule, playing another neutral site game against the Maple Leafs, but it certainly didn't help their preseason record, as they dropped this game as well, 4-2, to go 0-6-0 in the preseason, thus far.

Curtis McElhinney got the start and the win for the Leafs, making 29 saves to do so, while the only offensive bright spot in the game was roster hopeful Andreas Johnsson, who had a goal and a pair of assists.

The Canadiens have two more home preseason games to play, still looking for that elusive win.

The Winnipeg Jets came back from being down 3-1 in the 2nd period, scoring four unanswered goals to beat the Ottawa Senators in front of their home crowd, 5-3, on Wednesday night.  Connor Hellebuyck got the nod in this one for the Jets, making 15 saves for the win and helping his cause to be the number two guy this season.

Dustin Byfuglien had a goal and 2 assists for a 3-point night, while Bryan Little had a pair of goals, Nic Petan went one and one and then Nikolaj Ehlers had a pair of assists as well.  Things are still looking up for the Jets in this preseason, they could figure to be a strong team, especially for the hockey pool, in 2018.

The Carolina Hurricanes had a preseason home game in Saskatoon of all places on Wednesday night, playing host to the Edmonton Oilers, who are clearly the closest team to their neutral site, but that's neither here nor there on this night. The Oilers were the better of the two sides, blanking the Hurricanes, 4-0.

Laurent Brossoit stopped all 24 shots for a shutout, while Connor McDavid scored a pair of goals and added an assist for a 3-point night.  It's starting to look like all systems are a go for the Oilers, which is certainly a scary thought.

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