What a great night of hockey to open the NHL season yesterday night. There were 5 games on opening day including the first game between Minnesota and Carolina in Finland. While ESPN was busy bashing the NHL for having a game in Finland. They failed to realize the reason for the game was due to the high number of Finnish players on both squads. Also featured on day one was some great rivalry games between Montreal vs Toronto and Pittsburgh opened up a new barn against the Flyers. Edmonton also played Calgary, I would call it rivalry but the Oilers have not been exactly out standing in the last couple of years. The night was capped off by an OT thriller in which the Avs bettered the new-look Blackhawks. Lets take a closer look at each game.
Minnesota vs Carolina - Carolina won the game 4-3. Carolina took control of the game with 3 goals in the second period. Minnesota put up one goal in each period but it was not enough to take down the Canes. Brandon Sutter for Carolina topped all players with 2 goals. Carolina players took all three stars of the games. Neither team is thought to do much in their divisions this year and I think thats why ESPN was hating on this game. It was a good game at least in my eyes.
Toronto vs Montreal - In a heated rivalry game the Leafs took care of the Canadians 3-2. The Leafs took a 2-1 lead after the first period. The Leafs would score again in the 3rd to make it 3-1 before the Canadians could answer to make it 3-2. It was a pretty evenly matched game, shots favored the Canadians 28-24, and faceoffs won 23-20 Canadians. Toronto forced the Canadians to defend 5 power plays in the game. Both teams again I do not think are expected to do much in their divisions, but they still will fight hard all season.
Flyers @ Penguins - The Penguins opened up their new barn with a visit from in-state rivals, the Flyers. The Flyers would kill the party winning the game 3-2. The scoring started in the 2nd period when the Flyers jumped on the Pens with 2 goals by Briere and Betts. Kennedy would get the first goal for the Pens in the 3rd periods. The Flyers would get a shorthanded goal to make it 3-1 but the Pens were not done as Goligoski found the back of the net. Crosby and Malkin were both held in check and posted a -1 on the night. Both these teams should make it deep into the playoffs.
Calgary @ Edmonton - Who would have thought that the worst team last year in the could come in and start the season by blanking the Flames 4-0. The Oilers started scoring in the first with a goal from Brule. They would have to wait until the 3rd period to get their second goal. The goal was an awesome goal by rookie Eberle, a sweet backhand.....and it was shorthanded. The Oilers scored two more quickly and closed the scoring 4-0. Khabibulin was a perfect 37 for 37, and the Oilers beat down the Flames.
Chicago @ Colorado - The best game of the night by far, the Avs beat the Hawks 4-3 in OT. The Hawks got the first goal from newcomer Bickell. Chris Stewart would answer for the Avs knotting the game 1-1 as the period ended. Colorado would get two more in the second period making it 3-1 and the Hawks were not looking very good. They were able to make it 3-2 on a goal late in the second from Hossa on a nice deflection. Patrick Sharp would tie the game in the 3rd off a rebound and tie the game. Stastny would get his 2nd goal of the game in OT to win it for the Avs. The Hawks defense was a little suspect all night, giving up too many odd man rushes. Turco played well in his first game in net for the Hawks. Andersen as well, played brilliant for the Avs. Both teams played well for the first game, and boy it was a very exciting one.