How good was the hockey last night? The goaltending? Apart from the Penguins/Senators game it left something to be desired, but overall that was the kind of night that HAD to have made some converts. You know that down in the states people flipping by NBC saw those games and... oh, right. Well we liked it, anyways. A little recap, plus a look at tonight's action coming up. Grab a coffee and wake the hell up, hockey starts soon!
You come to see the show
Well, we're gonna rock and roll you
Come and get on your seat
We're gonna make you feel alright
Hey, you wanna go crazy tonight!
Let me hear you shout and scream
You make me mad and wild
Well, we're gonna rock and pile you
We're gonna do our best
The best kicks you in the head, alright
Yeah, it's gonna get crazy tonight
Let me hear you all go wild
* Rock and roll crazy night
You are the heroes tonight
Rock and roll crazy night
You are the hero
You come to see the show
Well, we're gonna rock and shock you
Come on get on your feet
The sound hits you in the face, alright
Ohh, let's get so crazy tonight
Let me hear you rock and roll
So we had a little bit of everything last night, didn't we? All the game 1 upset victims from Wednesday got their revenge, and the stragglers to the party kept the trend rolling with what might just be the most shocking upset of all those game 1 jaw-droppers.
New Jersey finally got a win for poor Ilya Kovalchuk, whose frustration level was getting dangerously close to 'stab somebody with a skate' levels, but Dainus Zubrus scored late for the Devils, and he who was banished from Atlanta added the empty netter for the 5-3 win to knot that series at 1 game a piece. Martin Brodeur started to play some better goal in the 3rd, but the Devils will need more consistency from him as this series shifts, jaw dropping travel and all, from Newark to Philadelphia. How do they do it?
Sidney Crosby scored the tying goal and had a Henrik Sedin like setup on the game winner by Kris Letang as the Penguins shook off a brutal early goal on Marc-Andre Fleury to defeat the Ottawa Senators 2-1. More people would be talking about this, but the internets is getting filled with torch & pitchfork bearing Penguins fans 'Out For Justice' on Andy Sutton, after he taught Jordan Leopold to keep his damn head up. Yeah, it was a clean hit, I'm an expert and it's on the replay (internet memes for the day crossed off my to do list). I do not expect any supplemental discipline from the league for the hit, though I am keeping a bottle of Tums ready to deal with the nauseating irony of the Penguins fans crying foul over a hit. You got the win, and Sid was fucking amazing. Stop wasting your time on worrying about that hit, Penguins fans. If Bob McKenzie says it's clean, that's good enough for me.
Was it just me, or did the two late games last night appear, for a while at least to be parallel universes? Completely bizarre as we saw a cavalcade of bloody awful goaltending from all 4 keepers involved, none more so than San Jose's Evgeni Nabokov. So how in the hell did he come out as the winning goalie in that one? The Avalanche were ridiculously outclassed in that game, yet somehow they were leading with a minute to go thanks to shoddy defense and amateur hour goaltending from Nabokov. 5 goals on 22 shots, all of the goals coming 5 on 5, where the Avs managed a paltry 15 shots. Craig Anderson was more than twice as busy, but still gave up 6 goals. Colorado had no business winning that game, but with the way Nabokov played, did the Sharks?
While you couldn't tell from watching the Versus feed, snakes were once again thrown, but so were chunks of octopus shrapnel and lit cigarettes apparently, as the ugliness on the ice is being matched in the stands. In a mirror image of the lunacy in San Jose, these two teams traded goals, but ultimately the Coyotes simply gave the Red Wings too many opportunites, and they took advantage of them, skating out of the desert with a 7-4 win. Henrik Zetterberg led the way with the hat trick for the Wings. Best part of the night was the colour commentator for Versus telling us that Detroit's the only team that sees hats thrown on the ice by fans for hat tricks on the road. Really?
The Coyotes are in tough in this one, though the Red Wings have shown signs of not being the unstoppable juggernaut so many have painted them as. They gave the Wings all the breaks they needed to win, and the took advantage of them. They'll also need more than just Shane Doan as they head into JLA for game 3.
So after holding up an entire league for the Harlem Globetrotters, the Chicago Blackhawks and Nashville Predators finally started their series last night. Best part? Only hearing Chelsea Dagger once, of course? The Preds came out as billed and played a hard-fought, defensively responsible game and were full value for a 4-1 win. Exciting game? Maybe not, but the Predators are definitely in the 'just win, baby' mindset. They did a hell of a job of neutralizing Chicago chances, holding them to 25 shots on goal, the only one that got by Pekka Rinne was a shot that fell out of his glove with Patrick 'Stop the Cab and look at my mullet!' Kane in the crease to tuck it home. But it was Annti Niemi who had the gaffe of the night in this one, giving up a 'Cloutier-esque' goal to JP Dumont that gave the Preds life.
Another goal from Dumont and a couple empty netters wrapped up what can politely be described as a 3rd period collapse by the Hawks. Was it all the Preds, or did they take their opponents a little lightly? It certainly had the appearance of that. Oh and nice touch having 'skill player' Ben Eager on the ice at the end of the game, Coach Q. Nice to see the douchebaggery you honed in Colorado and fine tuned last season is ready to roll for the playoffs.
Regicide... with a side of bacon.
Game 2 of the Canucks and Kings goes tonight, and while it looks like Aaron Rome might be a game time decision, we know that Michael Grabner is definitely in the lineup in place of Matt Pettinger. I like this move, as Grabner's speed will be one more thing to throw at LA. Other than that no other changes for the Canucks, who played a pretty decent game on Thursday and look to go up 2-0 before the series shifts to Hollywood.
It's a given the Kings will try and ramp up the physical play tonight, the key for the Canucks will be to match it intelligently, not get suckered into retaliation penalties and take advantage of PP's that will arise from LA trying to muck it up. They will need to tighten up the PK though, and look to exploit opportunities for shorthanded goals. No real concerns apart from that, they can obviously play better, but just getting shots to the net on Jonathan Quick and being in position for the rebounds is going to be a large factor.
Make sure you check out our pregame and game time threads, and take the poll today, dammit!
Which was the biggest game 1 upset?
Montreal over Washington (90 votes)
Philadelphia over New Jersey (2 votes)
Phoenix over Detroit (is this really an upset?) (3 votes)
Colorado over San Jose (20 votes)
Nashville over Chicago (35 votes)
Ottawa over Pittsburgh (5 votes)
155 total votes