11/10/11- Studs & Duds
In an action-packed night, the NHL saw many players and teams that strived, while others faltered. Here are the Studs and Duds for Thursday, November 10th.
3) Scriven' Big
At the moment, the Toronto Maple Leafs are in a slight state of panic. On Saturday, Tim Connolly was injured, joining Colby Armstrong on the injured reserve, hurting Toronto's depth at forward. However, the most catastrophic injury goes to James Reimer, who has not returned after being sidelined in mid-October. With the loss of Reimer, the Leafs have struggled to find wins, with Jonas Gustavsson being horrendous in the majority of his starts. However, Ben Scrivens has seen ice time due to the open roster spot, and has been inconsistent, with flashes of brilliance. On Thursday against the Blues, his flash was more evident than ever.
Scrivens stopped 38 of 40 shots en route to a 3-2 victory, the second of his young career. While a .950 save percentage is quite respectable, Scrivens' play throughout the game was not indicative of the stellar goaltending he showed. In a game where he got no help from the offense (that recorded an abysmal 8 shots through the latter two-thirds of the game), Scrivens came up big at opportune times. Making clutch stops such as this glove save, this Cornell alumni is fully responsible for the victory, and ultimately 2 points on the standings.
Kris Versteeg has had an interesting road in his short NHL career. Only 25 years old, "Verbeauty" won a stanley cup in Chicago, before being moved to 3 teams in a span of one year. Failing to find his niche in Toronto and Philadelphia, Kris packed his bags to go to Florida. Optimistic, he told reporters he was "taking is toe drag to South Beach". Versteeg embraced this opportunity, and was destined to help the Florida Panthers win games. After tonight, LeBron James should take notes.
Versteeg recorded a hat trick and an assist for a 4 point night, the only one recorded on Thursday. While they weren't particularly spectacular, Versteeg took advantage of fortunate bounces, and worked hard to earn this difficult feat. If Versteeg continues to have nights like these, Tallon will be considered a genius for acquiring this sniper for his hockey club.
1) Comeback Kids
Depending on who you ask, one of the most difficult situations in hockey is the dreaded 3-0 deficit. At this point, the game is still within reach, but still a long shot of winning. In Denver, the New York Islanders had the Avalanche at this point, and were all of 21 seconds away from entering the 3rd period with a 3 goal lead. However, Colorado had different plans.
Starting with a powerplay goal by Paul Stastny with 21 seconds remaining in the 2nd period, the Avalanche exploded. On a total of 51 shots throughout the game on a flustered Al Montoya, the Avs added 3 more goals to win 4-3 in overtime. The mindset of a 3-0 deficit is difficult to overcome, but the talented Avalanche squad was able to prevail. Considered a bottom 5 team heading into the season, their 8-7-1 record has surprised many. An exciting team to watch, the Avs are keeping fans happy, and attempting to prove all critics wrong. Wins like this will keep the "haters" away, at least for another night.
3) Pava"Let in 4 Goals"
As a goaltender in the NHL, there will be great nights, good nights, and bad nights. Ondrej Pavelec just had himself a very bad night. Stopping only 11 of 15 shots, Pavelec recorded a save percentage of .733, leading to an early exit for the young goaltender.
For Jets fans, nights like these have to be upsetting. Pavelec has had games in which he has been fantastic, like his shutout against the Islanders. However, there have been many nights where he has not performed to a high level, like his matchup against the Flyers. Hopefully, he is able to bounce back from this night in his next start. It's likely growing pains, but more bad starts from Pavelec could ultimately lead to less games played, and many questions from the coaching staff about Pavelec's ability to be a star goaltender in the league.
2) Ruined Homecoming
In a span of a few days, the San Jose Sharks and the Minnesota Wild changed the makeshift of their teams for years to come. In 2 separate deals, the Wild received Dany Heatley and Devin Setoguchi, while the Sharks receives Martin Havlat and Brent Burns. In a great deal for both sides, the two teams met on Thursday in Northern California. Heatley and Setoguchi were determined to spark a fire and beat the Sharks, in the arena that they used to call home.
Unfortunately, the flame burned out. In a pathetic showing by the former Sharks, Heatley and Setoguchi combined for 1 shot and 2 minor penalties. To rub salt in the wound, Burns and Havlat played fairly well in their 3-1 victory. There will be more match-ups between the two hockey clubs, but the Sharks ousted the Wild, embarrassing Heatley in Setoguchi in front of their former home crowd.
1) Fallen Superstars
The top "dud" goes to members of the Columbus Blue Jackets. This, however, does not go to the entire team. As I know, the abysmal team that is the Blue Jackets has been beaten to death. The poor goaltending, the inability to win games, and the lack of defensive/offensive initiative has stuck the Jackets with 2 wins in 15 games. However, the main focus of today's studs does not go to the team as a whole, but two superstars that take up over 20% of Columbus' cap space.
Rick Nash and James Wisniewski were god-awful tonight. The Blackhawks scored 6 goals against the Jackets on Thursday, 2 of which came on the powerplay. Wisniewski and Nash combined for a total of -7, with James totalling a -4. The two leaders have seemed to lost all motivation and self confidence. Both players now sit at a -9, and Wisniewski is now only 1 of 2 players (the second being Eric Staal) to have a +/- under -7 that has a lower rating than the amount of games played. It's absolutely pathetic, and more needs to be expected out of these two players.
Points of Interest
- Gabriel Landeskog played 22 minutes of hockey tonight. He led all Colorado Forwards in that department.
- The Toronto Maple Leafs recorded 3 shots in the 3rd period.
- The Winnipeg Jets recorded 4 shots in the 1st.
- Mark Letestu scored in his first game as a Jacket.