Roberto Luongo, Dave Bolland

Riding the Zamboni – Friday, December 3rd

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Vancouver 3 – Chicago 0

The folks on TSN are calling it a “statement game” for Roberto Luongo after stopping 32 shots in shutting out his personal nemeses from Chicago. Fact is, Luongo finally did his job against them and did it very well. Vancouver outplayed the Hawks throughout and got goals from Tanner Glass, Christian Ehrhoff, and Henrik Sedin to make it all work for them.

The Canucks frustrated Chicago captain Jonathan Toews by putting Ryan Kesler on him. Kesler, a Selke finalist last year, draped himself on Toews and tracked him all over the ice whenever possible and it resulted in Toews not getting many good chances. Vancouver needed the win for their collective psyche more than anything else as they got their heads handed to them by Chicago the last two years in the playoffs and 7-1 already this year.

NY Rangers 2 – NY Islanders 0

In what was perhaps the ugliest game of the night, the Rangers continued to make the Islanders lives miserable. This time around, Henrik Lundqvist gets the shutout and only had to stop 17 shots to do it. Marc Staal and Brian Boyle provided the offense and for Boyle it was his 11th goal of the year. For the Isles, it’s a brutal setback after getting stung the night before in an offensive shootout just to come back the next night and not put one home. Such is life this year for the Isles.

Carolina 2 – Colorado 1 (F/OT)

Perhaps the most fun game of the night, the Hurricanes’ youth served all tonight as Jeff Skinner had Carolina’s first goal and Brandon Sutter’s overtime goal won it for the Canes. Rookie Kevin Shattenkirk extended his point streak to eight games assisting on Milan Hejduk’s goal. Cam Ward was sensational stopping 34 shots in the win.

Buffalo 5 – Columbus 0

The Sabres had about a week off since their last game and it showed that whatever issues they were having before were solved for a night. Ryan Miller got his first shutout of the year stopping just 19 shots. Thomas Vanek and Tyler Ennis each had a goal and two assists for the Sabres meanwhile Drew Stafford scored his first goal since returning from injury.

Columbus’ Jared Boll will be getting a call from the NHL for an elbowing major he earned late in the game for a hit on Steve Montador. Boll connected with Montador in the head while also leaving his feet to deliver the hit. Boll was kicked out of the game. That wasn’t the only physicality in this one as Columbus managed to get beat up in the fights as well. Just look at what Patrick Kaleta did to Derek Dorsett in their third period fight.

Calgary 3 – Minnesota 2 (F/SO)

A couple of struggling teams duked it out in Minnesota and of course it had to be settled in the shootout. For the Wild that means bad news as Niklas Backstrom’s record in the shootout is abysmal. Rene Bourque scored the shootout winner. During the real part of the game, Pierre-Marc Bouchard scored his first goal since March 2009 and Martin Havlat had a goal you very well might see as our goal of the night. Mark Giordano and Alex Tanguay scored for Calgary. Rookie Henrik Karlsson earned the win for Calgary making just 20 stops. Backstrom made 30 saves for Minnesota.

Detroit 4 – Anaheim 0

The Ducks have been a tough team to play at The Pond this year, but Detroit handled them with ease tonight. Johan Franzen, Dan Cleary,  Tomas Holmstrom, and Valtteri Filppula scored the goals for the Wings while Jimmy Howard was brilliant in goal stopping 41 shots for the shutout victory. Downside for Anaheim is that they’re now 0-2 when wearing their third jerseys. Calling for a jinx there might be unfair as those losses have come against Chicago and Detroit. Those teams are pretty good. Jonas Hiller stopped 25 shots in a losing effort.

Goalie nods: Niemi expected for Stars against Penguins

Antti Niemi, Jonathan Toews
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Talk about getting thrown into the fire.

Antti Niemi is expected to be the starting goalie tonight in Dallas when his Stars host Sidney Crosby, Phil Kessel, Evgeni Malkin and the rest of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Niemi has, not surprisingly, been given the assignment over Kari Lehtonen, the latter of whom struggled badly during the preseason, allowing 15 goals on 84 shots.

Not that Niemi was razor sharp himself. He allowed eight goals on 65 shots, for a save percentage of .877.

Considering the Stars have a combined $10.4 million in cap space tied up in those two veteran netminders, it’s no wonder the number-one question facing the club is whether the goaltending has indeed been fixed.

We’ll start to find out tonight.

Marc-Andre Fleury will undoubtedly be in goal for Pittsburgh, though that hasn’t been confirmed.


Craig Anderson, the goalie the Senators decided to keep, versus Robin Lehner, the one they traded to the Sabres.

Cam Ward will start for Carolina when the Hurricanes visit the Predators, who will obviously go with Pekka Rinne. The consensus is that Eddie Lack will eventually supplant Ward as Carolina’s starter, but that apparently hasn’t happened yet.

Brian Elliott goes for the Blues versus Cam Talbot for the Oilers. Elliott was excellent in the preseason, stopping all but two of the 57 shots he faced, while Jake Allen allowed six goals on 60 shots.

Steve Mason for the Flyers versus Ben Bishop for the Lightning.

Ondrej Pavelec for Winnipeg versus Tuukka Rask for Boston.

Devan Dubnyk likely for the Wild versus Semyon Varlamov for the Avs.

Flyers want to prove doubters wrong

Jakub Voracek, Claude Giroux
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Jakub Voracek totally understands why nobody’s expecting much from the Philadelphia Flyers. When a team finishes 14 points out of the playoffs the year before, that’s typically going to be the case.

“We weren’t good enough last year, let’s face it,” Voracek told CSN Philly. 

So, no, it doesn’t upset him that the Flyers aren’t considered among the Stanley Cup favorites.

That being said, “it makes you feel you want to prove them wrong.”

The Flyers get going tonight with a tough game against the Lightning in Tampa Bay. They also play Saturday in Florida against the Panthers, before a rematch with the Panthers Monday in Philadelphia.

“My biggest concern would be getting off to a good start,” GM Ron Hextall said. “That’s one thing that we need to do.”

That’s something they didn’t do last year. In fact, they won just once in their first six games. By the end of November, they were 8-12-3 and in a big hole — one that proved too deep to climb out of.

Related: Flyers to start season with seven defensemen