Regular season recaps – October 9

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From the Penguins losing their first two games at home, the Blackhawks suffering a defeat as they raise their Stanley Cup banner and the Devils going 0-2 (OK, 0-1-1) in their first games with shiny new toy Ilya Kovalchuk, the 2010-11 season has seen it’s fair share of spoilers* so far. Anyway, let’s get to the recaps. They will be brisk because this was a hefty night of hockey.

* – Not the kind of spoilers that movie Web sites hand out, like the fact that that Bruce Willis is that dude in a hairpiece in “The Sixth Sense.”**

Columbus 3, San Jose 2 (OT)

Steve Mason was the star of this one, stopping 33 out of 35 shots to help the Blue Jackets go 1-1 overseas. Joe Thornton now has two goals in two games, a goal-scoring trend I doubt will continue (then again, he is in a contract year). The Sharks might worry a bit about their 5-on-5 scoring, as four of their five goals this season have come on the power play so far.

Washington 7, New Jersey 2

My pick for the Eastern Conference finals ended up being a real blow-out in this one. Martin Brodeur allowed 5 goals in two periods before Johan Hedberg allowed two more while Michal Neuvirth made his Brodeur impression by stopping 31 out for 33 shots. Alex Ovechkin was his usual better-than-Ilya-Kovalchuk self, scoring two goals and one assist while his Russian pal was held pointless.

Dallas 5, NY Islanders 4 (SO)

The Stars almost coughed this one up, but Dallas is 2-0 on the road and in “extra innings” as they began the season with a shootout and overtime win. One trend that could make Stars fans giddy is that Brenden Morrow and Mike Ribeiro seem like they’re finding the chemistry that helped them form one of the league’s most underrated duos a few seasons ago. Morrow already has three goals in two games and Ribeiro assisted on all of them.

Toronto 5, Ottawa 1

Well, would you look at that? With a 2-0 start, the Toronto Maple Leafs might be building the confidence to take a Northeast Division that lacks an elite team. Let’s not plan the parade just yet, but Brian Burke must be happy about his team’s solid start.

Montreal 3, Pittsburgh 2

Read all about it here.

NY Rangers 6, Buffalo 3

The story of this game was rookie Derek Stepan’s hat trick. Check out the video here.

Tampa Bay 5, Atlanta 3

Steven Stamkos had two goals and one assist, evildoer Steve Downie had a goal and an assist and the Lightning fought off a late charge by the Thrashers to begin the Steve Yzerman era with a win.

Nashville 4, Anaheim 1

The Ducks have been out-scored 9-1 in their first two games this season. That’s just horrible. The Predators hope to scrap their way to the playoffs yet again. So far, so good.

St. Louis 2, Philadelphia 1 (OT)

Jaroslav Halak began his time as the St. Louis Blues top starter by stopping 29 out of 30 shots to win the game. Brian Boucher was sharp, too, stopping 23 out of 25 shots. The Blues scored a power-play goal, but need to be more efficient than 1 for 10 if they want to return to the playoffs this season.

Detroit 3, Chicago 2

The Red Wings spoiled the Blackhawks’ Stanley Cup banner raising party by narrowly beating them in this one. Valterri Filppula scored two goals, including the game-winner on the power play, while Chris Osgood stopped 26 out of 28 shots to give Marty Turco and the Hawks their second loss of the season.

Note: We’ll cover the Kings-Canucks game tomorrow morning.

** – Numerous cool points to anyone who knows what TV show that reference is from.

Slump busters: Simmonds, Couturier end long scoring droughts in win over Rangers

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It’s been a good few days to be a fan of the Philadelphia Flyers, as their team delivered not once, but twice during Thanksgiving weekend.

The Flyers picked up a 3-2 OT win over the Predators on Friday before shutting out the New York Rangers, 3-0, on Saturday.

It was a good afternoon for three players in particular.

Both Wayne Simmonds and Sean Couturier ended long scoring slumps.

Simmonds’ two goals were his first in seven games, while Couturier scored for the first time in his last 13 contests.

Goaltender Steve Mason also had a solid outing against the Rangers.

The 27-year-old turned aside all 24 shots he faced including this great save on Dominic Moore:

The Flyers lost defenseman Nick Schultz to an upper-body injury in the first period after he took a big hit from Dylan McIlrath.

Luke Schenn defended his fallen teammate by dropping the gloves with McIlrath, which didn’t go unnoticed by his teammates.

The Rangers are now on a season-high three-game losing streak. Their lack of effort has to be concerning for their head coach Alain Vigneault.

The Flyers outshot the Rangers 30-14 over the final 40 minutes.

Video: Flyers lose Schultz after big hit from McIlrath

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It looks like the injury bug has taken another chunk out of the Philadelphia Flyers.

The Flyers, who are already without Mark Streit, Ryan White and R.J. Umberger, have now lost Nick Schultz to injury.

Schultz left Saturday’s game against the Rangers in the first period after taking a hit from Rangers defenseman Dylan McIlrath.

Luke Schenn went after McIlrath right after he delivered the hit and both players dropped the gloves.

Schultz did not return.

You can watch the entire sequence by clicking on the video at the top of the page.

The 33-year-old has just one assist in 23 games, but he leads the Flyers in blocked shots with 54.

Goalie nods: Bernier has a ‘huge’ opportunity to prove himself vs. Caps

Jonathan Bernier
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Jonathan Bernier hasn’t been very good in ’15-16, but he’ll have a great opportunity to right the ship on Saturday night.

Facing the Washington Capitals is never an easy task if you’re a goaltender, of course, but Bernier can’t afford to be picky with his chances.

The 27-year-old is still looking for his first win of the season, as he has an overall record of 0-7-1. His 3.17 goals-against-average and a .895 save percentage are just as bad as his record.

Starter James Reimer is out tonight after suffering an injury in practice and although Bernier probably can’t win the starting job with just one good game, a solid performance would go a long way.

He’ll go head-to-head with Capitals goalie Braden Holtby.


Cory Schneider will face the Habs for the second time in two nights. The Canadiens will do the same with Mike Condon. Montreal beat New Jersey, 3-2, in a shootout on Friday.

-The Islanders have yet to confirm a starter, but they’ll likely go up against Ben Bishop on Saturday night.

-Expect Linus Ullmark to go up against Pekka Rinne when the Sabres and Predators clash in Nashville. Rinne is on a season-high four-game losing streak.

-The Oilers may turn to Anders Nilsson against the Penguins. Pittsburgh will decide between giving Marc-Andre Fleury two starts in two nights or going with Jeff Zatkoff.

-The Stars, like Pittsburgh, will have to decide if they want to give Antti Niemi a second game in two nights. They will be going up against Darcy Kuemper, who will be making just his second start of the season.

Sergei Bobrovsky will get the start in Saturday’s game against the St. Louis Blues. He was solid in a 2-1 OT win over the Penguins on Friday night. The Blues will counter with starter Jake Allen.

-The Jets have yet to confirm a starter in Denver. They’ll be going up against Semyon Varlamov, who was pulled in Wednesday’s game against Ottawa after he allowed three goals on 15 shots.

Craig Anderson will look to win his fifth straight game when the Senators take on Arizona. The ‘Yotes still haven’t named a starter.

Jonas Hiller is likely to get the start against San Jose, while the Sharks will definitely be countering with starter Martin Jones. The Sharks goaltender is coming off a loss to the ‘Hawks, but previously won five in a row.

Scott Darling will put his 2-2-1 record on the line against the Kings. Jonathan Quick will probably be between the pipes for the Kings. Quick has a 7-15-1 record against the ‘Hawks in his career.

The verdict is in: Dubinsky gets one game for cross-checking Crosby


Brandon Dubinsky has been suspended one game for his cross-check to the back of Sidney Crosby‘s neck.

The incident took place during the second period of Friday’s game.

Crosby did head to the locker room after the play, but he was able to return.

When deciding on the number of games to give Dubinsky, here’s what the NHL took into account:

  1. Dubinsky delivered a clear cross-check.
  2. Dubinsky has been fined before, but never suspended.
  3. Crosby wasn’t seriously injured on the play.

“In this case, while Dubinsky’s cross-check isn’t overly violent or forceful, it is an intentional strike to an opponent’s head using his stick,” the NHL said in their explanation of the play. “This is not a case where the head contact was caused by a sudden movement by Crosby or by a stick riding up a player’s back or shoulders and making subsequent contact with the head.”

Click on the video at the top of the page to watch the NHL’s full explanation.

The Blue Jackets take on the Blues in St. Louis tonight.