Two words: Backhand Shelf

Two words: Backhand Shelf

Last night’s NHL action was a whole bunch of wonderfulness. If you weren’t able to keep up with what was going on, I got you covered. Here’s what you need to know.

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Scores

Tampa Bay 1
Boston 3

New Jersey 0
Pittsburgh 3

Calgary 4
Washington 5 (SO)

Los Angeles 3
Minnesota 2 (SO)

Nashville 2
St. Louis 4

Florida 4
Dallas 2

Rangers 1
Phoenix 4

Vancouver 1
San Jose 4

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Notable Nights

* Radim Vr-not-bata opened his season (god that pun was bad) season with a hat-trick to help push the Coyotes past the Rangers by a score of 4-1 (you can check out the third here.) Coyotes/Rangers is an odd game, isn’t it? I feel like those teams are from other universes.

* Marc-Andre Fleury stopped all 27 Devils shots he faced for a shutout in the season opener. It’s funny: his regular season stats were good last year too, but the playoff meltdowns are so catastrophic we forget how unusual they really are. I’d like to see him bounce back. He also made this nifty behind-the-back save people are making a bit of a fuss about. I though it was, I dunno, cool that he caught it, I guess?

* Alexander Ovi-wan-kenobi continued his absolutely torrid pace to start the season with another two goals and an assist. After a whopping two games he’s leading the NHL in points (well actually he’s tied with Mikhail Grabovski) which is nice, but it’s not nearly as impressive as the “shots” category. He lead the league in that last year, averaging a massive 4.6 shots per game, totalling 30 more than the next highest shooter. This year? 20 shots after two games. You can do your own math on that average. Second right now is Phil Kessel, with 11 in two games.

* Aleksander Barkov scored his first NHL goal for the Florida Panthers. Oh, and speaking of the Panthers, Tim Thomas was named first star in his debut with the club, which saw them take down the Dallas Stars 4-2.

* Connor Carrick also got his first NHL goal after jumping out of the penalty box and finding himself with an ocean of room to take a slow-motion breakaway. I’ll be honest, this isn’t great goaltending from Karri Ramo, as nice as the move is. I don’t think most NHL tendys end up upside-down in the corner on this pretty basic deke. Still, cool moment for the kid:

This also resulted in him getting the world’s laziest shaving cream treatment from Alex Ovechkin in the post-game interview (life is better when Ovi is having fun). GIF courtesy the always great Caps website Russian Machine Never Breaks:

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What Happened

The Capitals staged a big comeback against the Flames

Unbelievably, the Calgary Flames were up 3-0 in the first period on the Capitals, in Washington. I don’t think anybody saw that coming. They chased Canadian Olympic hopeful Braden Holtby from the game after scoring on three of 11 shots, just a game after he surrendered five. The good news for him is, Adam Oates is playing the role of patient Dad:

Anyway, it was like Twilight Zone stuff, until the Flames got Flamey and Flamed the game away.

The Caps rallied to win in a shootout, but all-told, grabbing a point on the road against Washington isn’t a bad night for Calgary, and getting the two points against a non-Conference team for Washington is great. The positive results just don’t really tell the story of the game.

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Crosby got on the board with a beauty

He’s not known for having the heaviest shot in the land, but he sure does have a nice quick release and a boatload of accuracy:

Beautifully finished.

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Penalty shots everywhere

Last season it took until well beyond game 40 of the season for the fourth penalty shot to be awarded. Three days into this season’s NHL schedule, we’re already there. Chris Kelly made a nice little shimmy (complete with the motorbike kick-start move) and left himself with a lot of net to slide the puck into.

(GIF courtesy NESN)

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Jarome Iginla is still the best

There’s a zillion bajillion reasons why fighting in hockey shouldn’t be allowed, but man do fights like the one below make me love it at times. Jarome Iginla – first ballot Hall-of-Famer with over 500 goals to his name – got run over in the neutral zone by Radko Gudas (of this magnificent playoff beard), didn’t appreciate it, and wanted his shot at Gudas. No jumping anyone, nothing crazy, just “Eff you for that, let’s do this” “Okay” “Here we go then.”

Old bastard still held his own against the young ‘un.

(Don Cherry voice) THAT’S SOME GOOD CANADIAN HOCKEY RIGHT THERE. TWO GOOD GUYS, NO ONE GETS HURT. (Thumbs up…copyright @DonCherryParody)

Oh, and by the way: Rick Nash fought Martin Hanzal last night, sooo, that’s a thing that happened.

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Pekka Rinne got the hook

He saw six shots by the St. Louis Blues last night, and managed only three saves. He was sort of left in a tough spot on the Blues third goal, so I’m not really sure it was a “get this f***-up out of there” pull as much as a “we need to do something, anything to change the momentum” thing. Here’s the nice passing play that leaves Rinne stranded and sends him to the bench:

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Other News

* Dennis Seidenberg was extended by the Bruins for four years, 16 million dollars. That seems about right, he was a stud in playoffs last year.

Annnd, that’s about it for other news. Have a great weekend!