Sorry for the late post today, had the first keeper pool draft of the season last night and had a couple beers to celebrate. It's a good cause for a late jump today. Well, it was only a 5-game schedule last night, so it's a pretty quick update. You'll be noticing that teams are now paring down to their opening night rosters (or close to it) and the stars are starting to shine for these teams. Have a look at Friday night's action...
The Bruins and Senators went at it in Ottawa last night and it was the road team that ended up taking the win. It wasn't a scoring affair, as the Bruins only won the game, 2-1, so there isn't much to talk about when it comes to forwards and defense. In net for the B's, it was Tim Thomas, who made 35 save for the win in all 60 minutes. He should have the reins for the crease in Boston without much competition.
The Hurricanes took on their Southeast Division rivals, the Thrashers, on Friday night, beating them 4-3. Cam Ward held on for the victory for the Hurricanes, making 19 saves for the two points. Eric Staal and Ray Whitney led the scoring for the Canes, having a goal and two assists each. Both players seem to be in fine form already. Joe Corvo also had a pair of assists to get his season going a little early.
The Thrashers did manage three goals against the Canes, but it was a training camp invite, Maxim Afinogenov, who came up with all the points... well, a goal and an assist, for the team. Afinogenov has reportedly made a good impression with Atlanta's coaching staff and has meshed well with some of the other Russian teammates, so it seems to be only a matter of time before he gets a deal done.
The Leafs took a tandem effort in net and a good scoring effort from Viktor Stralberg to beat the Red Wings in Detroit last night. The Leafs ended up taking the game, 5-4, in the shootout. Stralberg had a great night, scoring a pair of goals and added an assist. His spot on the team almost seems to be written in with ink by now.
The Red Wings managed to concentrate a lot of their scoring against the Leafs. Johan Franzen scored a pair of goals and added an assist, Pavel Datsyuk dished out three assists, and Niklas Kronwall scored a pair of goals in the overtime loss. Those are three names that we're all pretty familiar with and really don't need to elaborate on any more. The Red Wings are going high, whether you like it or not.
The Blackhawks earned a preseason win over the Wild on Friday night, 4-3 in regulation. Cristobel Huet made 16 saves in the complete game win for Chicago. Patrick Kane scored a pair of goals, while Brent Seabrook and Tomas Kopecky each picked up two assists. They are looking to make a big comeback this season, after a disappointing loss to Detroit in the playoffs this year. It's a different looking team, but still a good young one.
The Wild brought Martin Havlat back to Chicago to see his most recent former team and he showed them why he wanted a good, long-term contract, with a goal and an assist in the loss. Havlat begins the new era in Minnesota with a good preseason game. Antti Miettinen had a pair of assists in the loss, as Havlat's linemate in the game. We can't be sure if this pairing is what they are going forward with, but it doesn't sound like a bad idea.
The Sharks laid a good whippin' on the Ducks in San Jose on Friday night, beating them 6-0. Evgeni Nabokov only had to make 15 stops for the preseason shutout. It was an unlikely candidate for a hat trick as well, as Douglas Murray, the defenseman, popped a trio of goals and added an assist for a huge 4-point night. How high does that rank him on your list now? He only had 7 points in 59 games last year. Dan Boyle also had a 2-point night with a pair of assists. Besides those two, it was a balanced attack in scoring.