A fairly busy night in the preseason on Saturday, as it winds down and the teams are now getting ready for the real thing this coming week. In a quick review of the evening, there were no big surprises in who got points last night and there was a couple shutouts to make mention of as well. That's what we like to see as we head towards the draft on Tuesday. Are we excited yet?
The Blue Jackets went into Boston for a preseason game and beat their hosts, 4-2, thanks to a 3-goal third period for Columbus. Both Raffi Torres and Derek Dorsett each collected a goal and an assist in the game, while Kris Russell had a pair of assists in the win. In net, it was Mathieu Garon getting another game for conditioning in the pre-season and he made 22 saves for the win. There's a good chance that he'll get a good number of starts to help keep Steve Mason fresh this year.
The Bruins did have a bright spot in their loss last night to Columbus, as Milan Lucic had a pair of assists in the game. Lucic, who had 42 points last season, may be required to help replace some of that scoring that left the Bruins during the off-season. A 2-assist night like Saturday should go a long ways to help ensure some confidence that he will be able to up his game to another level.
The Canadiens played host to the Sabres on Saturday night and took that game, 3-2. It was Montreal's final preseason contest, which was definitely thought to be a success. Leading the way for Montreal last night was Carey Price, making 29 saves for the win. Glen Metropolit was the other clutch player for the Habs, registering two assists and ensuring his place on the third or fourth line when the season opens.
Well, I don't think you can ever count out Martin Brodeur from having another good year, especially with the Olympics around the corner and a few doubters emerging from the shadows. Brodeur made 21 saves against the Flyers for a shutout victory on Saturday night, but since it's the preseason, it won't count towards him breaking any records, but it will fill him with all sorts of confidence, which no one in the Eastern Conference really wants him to have.
The Hurricanes continue to blow through this preseason with some pretty good auditions. Last night, they took on the Nashville Predators and let back-up goalie, Michael Leighton loose on them. Leighton made 21 saves and earned the victory, likely giving him an extra start or two (in consideration) through the year to help Cam Ward rest. Eric Staal led all scorers for the Hurricanes with a goal and an assist in the game, while Aaron Ward, Tim Gleason and Joe Corvo each picked up a couple assists in the game, each. The Hurricanes will be a good team to pluck point producers from this year.
Despite the Predators losing their game, 5-2, there was some bright spots in their loss. Both J-P Dumont and Patric Hornqvist each picked up a goal and an assist in the loss, helping to make sure they were not shutout and to show themselves that they can score against some of the better goaltending in the league. The Preds will likely drop a few more games than win, but they should be able to make the games interesting on the scoreboard.
The Blues finished their North American preseason with a bang, beating up n the Dallas Stars, 5-0, before heading off to Sweden for their NHL Premiere starts. Chris Mason earned the shutout with a 29-save effort, as he should have the number one job locked in for the Blues. Veteran addition, Derek Armstrong, has done everything to earn a spot with the club, picking up another three points on Saturday night. He's quickly turning into a sleeper contender for any draft, which would be a huge surprise this year. Erik Johnson, Brad Winchester and David Backes all chipped in with a goal and an assist each as well.
The annual Frozen Fury game in Las Vegas saw the Kings and Avalanche go head-to-head on Saturday night with the Kings winning the match, 5-3. The sad thing about the neutral location, is again, no boxscore on NHL.com. Oh well. From here, I could see that Anze Kopitar had a couple of goals for the Kings. It's weird, I can't see who played in net for the Kings, yet I know who played in net for the Avalanche. Strange.
The Avalanche did celebrate two goals from veteran winger, Darcy Tucker, who was more of a shadow than a player in the 2009 season. Tucker is going to have to have a presence with the Avalanche this season if the team is wanting to be successful at any point this year. The Avs are getting set for what could be a very long year.
If I told you the Coyotes and Sharks played to a 2-0 game, you probably wouldn't have thought it was going to be the Coyotes that took the victory. Well, surprise, surprise! Ilya Bryzgalov made 27 stops to earn the shutout on Saturday night. Bryzgalov will be leaned upon in the desert to help the flailing Coyotes to help attract some fans to games in Glendale, or else it could be bye bye dogs in the Summer.
In Calgary, it was the battle of the starting goalies and both put on a pretty good show. In the end, it was Roberto Luongo who came up trumps in the shootout, as the Canucks game away with the 2-1 win. Luongo had to make 24 saves in regulation and overtime to earn the win and he is also making that run towards the Olympics for Team Canada. We're likely going to see some quality keeping from him this season.