Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Tuesday Night NHL Round-Up

The Capitals were idle tonight. Games and results around the league so far tonight:

Minnesota 4, Atlanta 2 in regulation;
Pittsburgh 3, Philadelphia 2 in overtime;
Calgary 5, Colorado 4 in regulation;
San Jose 5, Columbus 2 in regulation;
Los Angeles 6, Anaheim 3 in regulation.

So that means those team's records are now:
Minnesota: 2-0-0, first in the Northwest Division;
Atlanta: 1-1-1, third in the Southeast Division;
Pittsburgh: 2-1-1, second in the Atlantic Division;
Philadelphia: 0-2-1, last (fifth) in the Atlantic Division;
Calgary: 1-1-1, fourth in the Northwest Division;
Colorado: 0-3-0, last (fifth) in the Northwest Division;
San Jose: 4-0-0, first in the Pacific Division;
Columbus: 1-2-0, fourth in the Central Division;
Los Angeles: 1-2-0, third in the Pacific Division;
Anaheim: 0-3-0, last (fifth) in the Pacific Division.

Surprises in the NHL standings so far?

1) NY Rangers 5-0-0 start of the season and being firmly on top of the Atlantic Division. Given they started the season early in Europe, albeit against the Tampa Bay Lightning, the fact that since returning to this side of the pond the Rangers have gone 3-0 against 3 strong teams is pretty exceptional.

2) Philadelphia 0-2-1 start is pretty surprising given the strength and talent levels on the Flyers team. The Flyers schedule also doesn't get any easier any time soon. The Broad Street Bullies next five games are: first a two game West Coast road trip to face Colorado and San Jose; a home game against San Jose; and a home & home on back to back nights against the New Jersey Devils. Based on how teams have come out of the gates, the Flyers best chance for a victory is in Denver against the 0-3-0 Avalanche, since Colorado so far has been suffering from weak goaltending, however, the Mile High City is never an easy place for visiting teams to do well.

3) Chicago's 0-2-1 "surprise" start is even more confusing given they are spending 12+M on goaltenders this year an currently they have a team Goals Against Average in the first three games of 3.33 and they lost their last game in a shootout. None of the Blackhawk's remaining seven games this month are an easy two points but look for them to slowly begin to "dig themselves" out none the less.

4) Anaheim's 0-3-0 start is certainly a surprise and the 10 points they could easily find themselves behind San Jose after they finish the nine (9) remaining games this month will not be easy to make-up, even though it is early in the season to counting anyone out.

Next up for the Capitals are the Penguins Thursday night in Pittsburgh. Should be a nail-biter and fun game to watch. Marc-Andre Fluery looked tough tonight, hopefully Jose Theodore will match his intensity and stone both Crosby and Malkin. Look for Alexander Ovechkin to score at least one goal since he was kept off the score sheet in the Caps last game, a 5-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks.

(Pummel those Penguins)

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