Take that, Pens! That is all.
As of right now, the entries for the Yelnats Cup Bracket Challenge are locked, if you wanted to participate, well... too bad!
On tonight's menu:
Both Dallas and Carolina have byes for the first round, so just two games tonight. Let's get it started!
New York Islanders @ New Jersey Devils
Crazy, crazy night at the Prudential Center tonight. The Devils got things started within the first 2:30 of the game with a pretty wraparound goal by Patrik Elias, assisted by Anton Volchenkov and Travis Zajac. Zajac added a fourth point in as many Devils goals in total so far assisting on a Zach Parise goal one minute later. Nick Palmieri also assisted on Parise's goal. 2-0 Devils at that point, but the Isles came to play too. At 5:08 of the first, Blake Comeau scored off a seeing-eye Michael Grabner pass. Josh Bailey also contributed on the goal. New Jersey did not take a penalty in the period, and New York got one minor, but no damage as done. John Tavares tied the game at 2 a piece assisted by Matt Martin and P.A. Parenteau at the 11:23 period. Already some high-flying, exciting offensive hockey after 20 minutes. Shots were 12-9 in favor of New Jersey.
In the second frame, both teams got one minor each and also a PPG each. Kyle Okposo got a powerplay tip-in goal to give the Isles the lead for the first time in the game at 3:31. He tipped home a Bruno Gervais slapper and Tavares got the 2nd assist. Barely a minute later, Zach Parise scored a PPG of his own, his second goal of the game, assisted by Ilya Kovalchuk and Elias. Nick Palmieri continued his strong showing by netting a goal to regain the lead for the Devils at the 6:21 mark of the period. Dainius Zubrus and David Clarkson got the assists on this one. The seesaw battle continued as P.A. Parenteau tied the game at 4 to end the period. Ty Wishart and Matt Moulson with the assists.
Funny how no matter how disciplined the Devils played, it just wasn't disciplined enough. They started the period with a minor penalty and NYI capitalized once again on the PP. P.A. Parenteau got his second goal of the game, third point, as he finished a beautiful tic-tac-toe play with Tavares being the tic and Moulson being the tac. This goal seemed to have kicked the wind out of the Devils as they managed only 9 shots on goal in the third, the Isles got 16. Michael Haley scored a rare goal, assisted by Ty Wishart, which would turn out to be the game-winner as Zach Parise completed his hat-trick in the dying moments of the game, assisted by Henrik Tallinder and Kovalchuk, but it just wasn't enough.
Isles take a 2-0 series lead back to Long Island with a crazy 6-5 win over the Devils. The key for the Isles in this game may well have been discipline, as they only got two minor penalties in the entire game, as opposed to the zillion penalties they took in game 1, and with the way the Devils were playing, they could've added some PPGs. The Devils' defense need to figure it out, because allowing 12 goals to the Isles in two home games to start the series is beyond unacceptable and they're now in a rough spot.
Period 1 2 3 OT Total
NJ 2 2 1 - 5
NYI 2 2 2 - 6
PIM NJ 0 2 0 - 2
PIM NYI 2 2 0 - 4
SOG NJ 12 10 9 - 31
SOG NYI 9 12 16 - 37
#1 P.A. Parenteau (2G, 1A)
#2 Zach Parise (Hat-trick)
#3 John Tavares (G, 2A)
Colorado Avalanche @ St.-Louis Blues
The Blues can thank their lucky stars that the 16 penalty minutes they amassed in the first period didn't lead to a blowout loss. In fact, the Avalanche powerplay didn't even find a way to get a single goal on any of those penalties, two of which were majors, both by B.J. Crombeen. That's some amazing penalty-killing right there. Oddly enough, the Avalanche had no penalties. Even more odd is the fact that both teams ended the period even in shots and goals. Shots were 9-9, goals were 1-1. Matt Duchene scored the first goal of the game with helpers from Paul Stastny and Milan Hejduk. Matt D'Agostini answered with a goal around a minute and a half later at the 7:33 mark. Kevin Shattenkirk got his first point of the series, which means only Chris Stewart remained in the ''bitter tradee'' list who hadn't had a point yet, as Erik Johnson and Jay McClement got points in game one. Ian Cole got the second assist on D'Agostini's goal.
The Blues continued their march to the penalty box with 6 more PIM in the second period, but the Avs still couldn't solve the PK unit. Matt D'Agostini scored a second goal to continue his beautiful start to the playoffs, assisted by Inglorious Backes and Ian Cole. 25 seconds later, Daniel Winnik tied the score at 2, scoring on Paul Stastny's rebound. David Jones got an assist on that one as well. Colorado played smart all game long, very disciplined, 0 PIM in the first 40 minutes. Winnik scored another goal to give the Avalanche a 3-2 lead to end the period. Hejduk and Ryan O'Byrne with the apples. STL got 15 shots in the second, COL had 10.
On the one penalty the Avalanche took all game long, 2 goals were scored: A Matt Hunwick shorthanded goal, assisted by O'Byrne and Ryan O'Reilly and a Chris Stewart (there goes that list) powerplay goal in which he absolutely destroyed the puck with a vicious slapper. David Backes and Andy McDonald assisted. The Blues tried desperately to tie the game, but to no avail and the Avs escape with a 4-3 win on enemy territory.
This could've been an absolutely ugly game for the Blues had the Avalanche not failed to score on 9 seperate powerplay opportunities. Jaroslav Halak was simply amazing in net, despite allowing 4 goals, because it should've been far more lopsided than it actually was. The Blues played like absolute berserkers out there, hitting everything that moved, no discipline at all, but still got plenty of shots and it's a wonder they didn't get outshot. In the end though, the Avs come out of St.-Louis with 2 wins, putting the Blues in a tough situtation, much like the Devils before them. The Blues will need to calm down and play some much calmer, more concentrated hockey if they want to get back in there. Now, the notable players of the big trade have all scored at least a point, so look for them to become even bigger parts of this series.
Period 1 2 3 OT Total
STL 1 1 1 - 3
COL 1 2 1 - 4
PIM STL 16 6 4 - 26
PIM COL 0 0 2 - 2
SOG STL 9 15 10 - 34
SOG COL 9 10 11 - 30
#1 Daniel Winnik (2G)
#2 Matt D'Agostini (2G)
#3 Jaroslav Halak (9 powerplays thwarted, only reason they didn't get pummeled on the scoreboard)
That was tonight's action, what do you think everyone? Things getting interesting enough? Anyone have some requests to make the recaps better? Tell me what you think!
Tavares is now leading all skaters with 5 points (2G, 3A), but that should change tomorrow as there will be 4 games on the docket: