Friday, September 29, 2017

Last Night's Preseason Performers (Sep 29)

It was all Panthers in another preseason battle of the Florida teams, as they thumped the Lightning, 5-2, on Thursday night.  Forward Jared McCann finally broke out for the Panthers, scoring a hat-trick on the night, followed by Radim Vrbata, who had a goal and an assist, while James Reimer made 34 saves for the win and his preseason 2 points.  If the preseason is any indication, the Panthers could be a competitive team this year.

Nikita Kucherov had a pair of assists in the loss, as his game continues to come around on time.  Kucherov was a big scorer last year and he'll be looking to build on that huge season.

The Flyers broke out for five goals against the Bruins on Thursday night, handing them a solid 5-1 loss.  Alex Lyon got a preseason recall, because Michal Neuvirth was under the weather, and he ended up getting some offensive support in a 31-save effort for the win.  It was also a good night for the offense for the Flyers, as Travis Konecny, Sean Couturier, Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek, four of the big names on the squad, all walked out of this game with 2 points a piece.

The Red Wings welcomed back Justin Abdelkader and Niklas Kronwall to action on Thursday night against the Blackhawks, but it certainly wasn't enough, as Chicago got the best of Detroit in this one, 4-2, thanks to a 3-goal 3rd period to come back and win the game.  Rookie forward Alex DeBrincat was the top player in this one, picking up a goal and an assist in the win and there are plenty of expectations that he'll be in the lineup for opening night next week.

The job of Corey Crawford's backup might still need some deciding upon, as Anton Forsberg put in a big effort on Thursday night, making 32 saves for the win.

The Blue Jackets and the Predators needed the skills competition to decide their game in preseason action on Thursday night.  Columbus was 2-for-3 in the shootout, taking the game, 4-3, in the end.  Sergei Bobrovsky made 21 saves through regulation and overtime and another couple stops in the shootout for the win, suggesting that the Jackets are not going to be far away from success, if they are apart from it at all.

Nick Foligno had a goal and an assist, while both Artemi Panarin and Alexander Wennberg each had a pair of assists in the win, really rounding out their offense.

Predators defenseman Matt Irwin had a goal and an assist in the loss as well and it looks like he'll be a steady piece of the already strong Nashville blueline.

The only notable player in the Flames/Canucks game on Thursday night was Vancouver backup-to-be Anders Nilsson, who made 30 saves in a 3-1 win.  The offense was spread out pretty well among the three goals for the Canucks on the night, so Nilsson gets the only nod, which isn't so bad.  He could be a good depth goalie, especially down the stretch, when the Canucks might not be contending for a playoff spot and pressing on Jacob Markstrom isn't really necessary.

The Avalanche continued to roll through the preseason with a 4-2 win over the Golden Knights last night.  Semyon Varlamov is really trying to impress, picking up another full game win, making 34 saves for this one.  It's hard to believe that the Avalanche are going to be any different than the last couple seasons, but if Varlamov is ready to carry them on his back, you just never know.

Sven Andrighetto and Chris Bigras were the notables on the scoresheet, each coming away with 2 points.  Again, if this team chooses to compete, they'll be ripe with sleeper picks, up and down their lineup.

It was a well-rounded effort from the Kings on Thursday night, as they got the better of the Coyotes in preseason action. Jonathan Quick made 37 saves for the win, while Jake Muzzin, Mike Cammalleri, Alec Martinez and Tyler Toffoli all came away with a couple points each.  The Kings are one of those mystery teams heading into the season, thinking that they should be better than they have been over the last couple years, but it's not outrageous to think that some of them are over-the-hill either.  It's buyer beware with the Kings this year, as they may look okay to pick for your team, but... but... but... are they?

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