Tonight’s great goalie performances: Thomas earns 7th win, Chris Mason stops 52 shots

While Brent Johnson’s great start to the season is coming to a screeching halt in Dallas, two other goalies played excellent hockey tonight. The first performer shouldn’t come as a surprise while the second one might raise a few eyebrows.

  • Gosh, Tim Thomas is really slipping isn’t he? He brought a .50 GAA into tonight’s game but allowed four times that many (two) tonight. Jeez, what a slacker.

In all seriousness, Thomas put another great performance together, stopping 33 out of 35 shots to help the Bruins beat the woeful Buffalo Sabres 5-2. He is now an amazing 7-0 to start the 2010-11 season, even if his numbers went from “impossible” to “improbable.”

  • When I think of goalies who fly under the radar, I think of Tomas Vokoun and Chris Mason. Normally, I would expect Vokoun to produce the better performance, but tonight Mason was probably the best goalie in the NHL.

He made a staggering 52 saves tonight to help the Atlanta Thrashers eek out a 4-3 win over the Florida Panthers.

To give you an idea of how much of a difference maker Mason was, the former Predators goalie faced as many shots (23) in the second period as Vokoun did in the entire game. Despite being out-shot 23-5 in that period, Mason helped the Thrashers keep the game tied 2-2. Those 55 shots tied a Florida Panthers record set against the Washington Capitals on December 18, 2005, yet Mason helped Atlanta steal the game.

Measure of revenge? Red Wings bottle Lightning

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In some ways, it really felt like their first-round series.

For all the talent on both ends of the rink with the Detroit Red Wings and Tampa Bay Lightning, each squad can really smother opponents defensively when things go that way.

Through two periods, the two teams were very quiet. Things really picked up when Justin Abdelkader unleashed a big hit, a moment that injected enough life into the proceedings for the Red Wings to eventually build a 3-1 win.

Maybe they’re slipping under the radar a bit compared to previous iterations of the team, but it’s interesting that the Red Wings are now undefeated in three games.

They’ve been impressive at times, too, outscoring opponents by a combined score of 11-4.

Call it a refreshing time after Mike Babcock or merely carryover from a subtly solid run last season, but either way, the Red Wings may just be able to keep up their end of a brewing rivalry.

Hands of gold: Connor McDavid scores his first NHL goal


Taking three games to score your first NHL goal isn’t a big deal, unless you’re someone like Connor McDavid.

The mega-hyped wunderkind must feel relieved to finally find the net, as he tied tonight’s Edmonton Oilers – Dallas Stars skirmish with a 2-2 deflection goal, which you can watch above this post’s headline.

To no surprise, there were plenty of reactions, including Pierre LeBrun’s tweet (which inspired part of this headline).

Of course, there were the inevitable Wayne Gretzky comparisons:

Interesting thing you might not consider: Stars fans will have to stomach this one even more frequently than that time Patrik Stefan biffed that empty-netter (also against the Oilers):

McDavid may have also delivered his first questionable check, too: