Fans the NHL is finally back and we had plenty of surprises and disappointments in the first week. Each Monday this season check back with The Inscriber for the week that was in the NHL.
Some big time teams like the New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers, and the defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings struggled out of the block. The Rangers seem to be turning it around and have won their last two-games and newly acquired superstar Rick Nash has five-points in five-games. Philadelphia seemed to be headed in the right direction until last night when Michael Leighton saw the red light so many times he got a sunburn. The Kings has struggled mightily out of the gate and have managed only one-win so far.
The Tampa Bay Lightning have a powerful, powerful offense so far. They are getting contributions up and down the lineup. Martin St. Louis, Steven Stamkos, Teddy Purcell, and Cory Conacher are all in the top-20 in points. Conacher is a huge surprise for the Bolts, the 5’8 winger went undrafted and impressed at the Lightning camp last year. The transition from being the fourth rookie to win the Les Cunningham Award for AHL MVP, has been nothing but smooth for the 23-year-old. He has tallied two-goals and five-assists in five-games for Tampa Bay.
The New Jersey Devils are not missing former captain Zach Parise so far. They are leading the Atlantic Division with a 3-0-1 record. Many
are were expecting the Devils to fall off after losing Parise via free agency.
Out in the Western Conference is a there division better than the Central. The St. Louis Blues are 5-1-0, which is only good enough for second place, with a record of 6-0-0 the Chicago Blackhawks are leading the way. The Hawks handed the Blues their only loss so far a 3-2 victory back on January 22. We won’t see these two rivals square off again until February 28 when they play in St. Louis.
Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau are leading the way for the San Jose Sharks. Both are tied for the league lead in points with a lucky number 13, Marleau has nine-goals and three-assists and Thornton has three-goals and ten-assists. Everyone knows what this Sharks team is capable of in the regular season, the problem is grabbing that elusive Stanley Cup.
Game of the Week – January 27, Minnesota Wild at St. Louis Blues
It was a great back and forth game with both teams dominating sections of the game. Wade Redden opened the scoring in the first for the Blues, with his second-goal of the season. The Wild scored three unanswered in the second period getting back-to-back goals from Parise and one from Mikko Koivu, but Patrick Berglund scored for St. Louis with less than five-minutes to play in the second. In the third all of the scoring came in the final ten-minutes with the Blues getting goals from Chris Stewart and Barrett Jackman. With just over four-minutes to play Dany Heatley scored a beautiful tip-in goal, the puck was in the air and he waited for it to just fall beneath the crossbar before batting it in. The game headed to overtime where the Blues scored on a goal from Vladimir Sobitka.