Well, tonight was certainly an odd night of hockey. To steal a phrase from professional wrestling, the Tampa Bay Lightning and Nashville Predators “hooked the tights” to shock their opponents late in games while the Chicago Blackhawks and Pittsburgh Penguins apparently haven’t seen those Under Armour “must protect this house” commercials (they are a collective 0-5 at home so far this season).
Anyway, obscure goofy sports clothing commercial references aside, let’s take a look at the first five games today (we’ll take a look at Vancouver at Anaheim later tonight or early tomorrow).
Eh, same old, same old. Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom starred for Washington (each player notched one goal and one assist) while the Capitals beat the Islanders. Ho hum, right?
Well, it wasn’t all old hat. For one thing, there was a first: Nino Niederreiter – the youngest player in the NHL – scored his first career goal in this one. It also happened to be a low-scoring, low-shot affair as Michal Neuvirth (23 out of 24 saves) slightly edged Dwayne Roloson (24 out of 26 saves). Sure, it ended with the Capitals taking two points and the Islanders leaving with zero, but it wasn’t the blowout many expected.
Read all about Martin Brodeur and Ryan Miller’s impressive performances by clicking here.
I’ve heard about sports teams struggling to get acclimated to their new digs, but jeez, Pittsburgh is really taking that one far. They’re now winless in three games, but even worse, they didn’t even gain consolation points by losing during overtime or in shootouts. Meanwhile, the Toronto Maple Leafs are now 3-0 and it’s not just against cream puffs, either.
Unless, um, the Penguins turn out to be cream puffs this season. Yikes.
The Canadiens looked like they were poised to take this one until Steve Stamkos scored a power-play goal with just a little more than a minute left in the third period to send this one to overtime. Ryan Malone then sent Montreal fans home shocked as he scored an opportunistic goal in overtime, adding a game-winner to his two secondary assists. (It seems like the move to No. 6 is going well for Malone.)
Carey Price is the last person to blame for this, as his regular season has been the polar opposite of his horrid preseason so far. He made 44 out of 48 saves in this one while Mike Smith had a much easier workload, stopping 24 out of 27.
The Nashville Predators won this one seemingly out of nowhere, in a way that would make Ric Flair proud (if he was involved in anything but the occasional Carolina Hurricanes game). Joel Ward scored a game-winning power-play goal with only 27 seconds left in the game as Nashville continue to be a difficult foe to deal with for Chicago.