More on the Oilers - so impressed and so surprised with their strong defensive play. Great goaltending helps, but they, as a team, are really making it easy for Khabibulin and Dubnyk to shine. The Gilbert-Smid pairing has been fantastic (who knew Tom Gilbert and fantastic would ever be in the same sentence). Not sure if they can sustain it, but they have already surpassed most expecations for how they would be able to defend this season.
The Leafs had several strong performances last night (Scrivens in goal, more on him below).
MacArthur scored two, Lupul had two helpers, and Kessel had another good game. JM Liles had a great game on the back end, scoring a goal, adding three shots on goal, and playing minutes on the PP, PK, and at even strength. His acquisition this past summer was one of the more underrated moves in the hockey world.
Both Kristian Huselius and Peter Mueller skated yesterday. Mueller is out with concussion-related issues, while Huselius is rehabbing a torn pectoral muscle. Huselius is still likely another month or two away, while with Mueller it is anybody's guess.
Evander Kane has three two-point games in his last four contests.
Adam Henrique had a goal and assist centering the top line (Parise and Kovalchuk) last night.
The Leafs won again, this time thanks to a strong performance (39 saves) from Ben Scrivens.
I thankfully missed most of the Canucks/Wild game. Caught the replay of it on my PVR. Thoughts:
Canucks were awful. Kevin Bieksa is playing like he did two years ago (bad). He was fantastic last year, but before that had struggled for a few. Hopefully he isn’t regressing backwards.
Manny Malhotra clearly is struggling from missing a summer of training. His eye is doing much better, but because of offseason surgery he wasn’t able to train at his peak.
Cory Schneider let in five goals but the Canucks could have easily allowed double. If Luongo had let five in people would likely be harder on him (the nature of the market), but Schneider didn’t really have a chance last night.
Matt Cullen had an impressive game for the Wild. He’s a solid depth option, especially during the hot streaks he has each season.
As always, there were a lot of games last night and I inevitably miss stuff. I don’t mean to offend your favourite player by forgetting to mention his stellar performance.
The surprising stellar defensive start continues for the Oilers - a 19 save shutout for Khabibulin last night. Edmonton is getting production from the ‘all mullet line’ of Smyth, Horcoff, and Jones. The three vets are able to play the tough minutes, opening up offensive opportunities for the trio of impressive young forwards that come over the boards right after.
Interesting stat from mc79hockey on Twitter:
Among Oiler forwards - "Time On Ice against Kopitar: Smyth 8.3 Horcoff 8.1 Jones 7.1 Eberle 2.0 Hall 1.5 RNH 1.3"
Corey Potter had a goal and played almost four minutes on the PP – Stu McDonald wrote a good piece on him last weekend.
The Rangers signed Anton Stralman to a one-year deal. He’s got some upside, as the team clearly isn’t 100% confident in their power play options.
Rinne contract – well deserved. He’s paid like one of the best goalies in the league because… well… he is. My own speculation – Suter signs next, and Weber is eventually traded out of town.
Rinne, by the way, had a shutout over Phoenix last night (on his birthday, no less). I am glad I used a high draft pick on Rinne in my one year league.
Suter and Weber both played 27 minutes – no other Predator skater was over 20. They love to balance the ice time (which is smart, considering their forward group is essentially 12 second or third liners).
Keith Yandle pointless again. I am starting to smell a buy low option…
After looking lost on Tuesday against the Canucks, Iginla torched Detroit for two goals and an assist last night. The Flames need a center on the top line in the long term, and I’m looking forward to seeing Backlund there once he returns from injury.
One reason why Iginla may have seen a spike in production - Olli Jokinen was bumped up to the top line. The two haven't really clicked in the past, but Alex Tanguay can play the role of distributor to two shooters very well.
My piece for the Canucks Army yesterday – some general thoughts regarding the team over the past week.
Wanted to extend a congrats to Ryan Goddard, Chris Wassel, and Jason Arbuthnot for officially joining the writing team!
Lots more coming this morning on the other games from last night.
Highlights from the Edmonton/LA game from last night: