New Jersey 4
Edmonton 5 (SO)
NY Rangers 3
Los Angeles 1
* Ryan Nugent-Hopkins made his return to the Edmonton Oilers and took six of the Oilers 27 shots, scoring on one to get the ball rolling for the Oil. But the real impressive stuff? Dallas Eakins played him 28 minutes and 12 seconds – not bad for his first game of the season. I’m willing to bet they try not to make a habit of that though.
* Ales Hemsky was credited with five takeaways. Of the 72 active NHL skaters last night, no one else surpassed two.
* Brad Richards scored twice. His linemate Rick Nash had two assists.
* Damien Brunner is off an running with New Jersey. He had a goal and an assist, while Jaromir Jagr got his first as a Devil.
* David Perron is fitting in nicely with the Oilers. He had a goal, an assist, the shootout winner and played over 25 minutes.
Why plus/minus is going the way of the Dodo bird
Plus/minus has never been a perfect stat, but an extreme number in either direction can still be somewhat illuminating. But for the most part, there’s a lot of luck involved. Sometimes you hop on the ice right as a goal against is scored, sometimes you have nothing to do with a great individual effort and get a plus, and sometimes…well sometimes you’re on the powerplay and end up getting a dash when this happens.
Ryan McDonagh scores a beauty on Jonathan Quick:
Darryl Sutter, your thoughts on the goal?
“He dropped his stick. What do you want to talk about – tell him not to drop his stick?”
Oilers first win didn’t come easy
The Oilers fell behind the Devils 3-0 at home last night, and after starting 0-2, you gotta believe some fingers were reaching for the panic button. There was a lot of hype around the Oilers being a potential playoff contender, and you could almost feel the team dig deep and go into “we can’t be this bad” mode.
They scored four times in under nine minutes in the third to take the lead. Here’s the Hall goal to put them ahead – super slick to not take this all the way across the crease by Hall (seeing the Brodeur attempted poke check probably solidified that decision), opening up Marty and sliding it five hole.
The Devils scored in the final minute to push it to OT, but a couple nice Backhand Shelf finishes from Eberle and Perron in the shootout got them the win.
Around The League
* The New Jersey Devils are playing in Vancouver tonight, so Roberto Luongo took to Twitter to send his ol’ buddy Corey Schneider a message:
That’s from this video they made about their “rivalry” during their goalie competition days.
I found the tweet sort of funny in the wake of Cory Schneider’s comments on returning to Vancouver:
“We’re there less than 24 hours. Gotta play a game, gotta win a game. I’m not going to get all nostalgic.”
Whoa, speak for yourself there, Schneids.
* Sticking with the theme of goalies, apparently the League wanted to walk back the size of padding even farther than they were able to get the NHLPA to go this year, so they’ve decided to start enforcing all the rules on goalie gear, including the max length of the paddles on their sticks. 26″ is the max allowed, but plenty of guys use 28″ (up to 80% of NHL goaltenders, according to a manufacturer), so by enforcing the rule the League is forcing some goalies to change their positioning.
From InGoal Magazine:
Two inches may not seem like much, but goaltenders grip their stick where the shaft intersects the thicker paddle, so changing that point relative to the ice can force an altered stance or blocker position, opening up holes on the blocker side arm, and even causing balance issues in the crease.
* Last thing on goalies: Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliot are generally regarded as one of the best goalie tandems around (and with Jake Allen in the minors, they’re a killer trio…for now), but Elliot may not see much ice for awhile. The Blues only play six times in the first 14 days of the season, and coach Ken Hitchcock is saying it’s likely Halak will get every start.
* The Toronto Maple Leafs are considering trading their 6’2″ great-skating 23-year-old defenseman who put up five points in six playoff games last year, because, y’know, Leafs and all that. Elliotte Friedman, from his 30 Thoughts post:
There is definitely some level of conversation going on between other teams and Toronto involving Jake Gardiner. I despise the word “shopped,” as it’s more like a feeling-out process. If the Maple Leafs do decide to do it, it’s going to be for a young asset or assets. So, you have to look at teams with talented young players. This is PURELY my speculation, but if teams like Dallas, Florida or Minnesota would be interested, you could see a match.
* Another neat tidbit from 30 Thoughts? Ilya Bryzgalov went to the ECHL instead of the KHL because if an NHL team wants him, they can sign him without him having to clear waivers. When you have to clear waivers, teams like the Islanders pounce, ala Evgeni Nabokov when the latter tried to sign with the Red Wings.
* And finally Ryan O’Reilly of the Colorado Avalanche has a crazy curve. I think I would’ve love it, but it’s not for everyone – basically, there’s a distinct hook at the toe with an generally flat-ish blade through the middle. Great for toe-drags, corralling loose pucks, quick flicks and so on.
From Mike Chambers’ note on the twig on the Denver Post’s site:
You can actually buy one to try here, if you’re into that sort of thing.