Debuts for Kovy & Bergfors... Kessel, Staal and Vanek rolling... Vokoun a one man show... Hodgson not impressed... Ward out... my favourite Marty
We'll go with Ilya Kovalchuk in the leadoff spot for the second day in a row as he made his Devils debut last night and he drove the fans wild (really?... no, not really... cmon, this is New Jersey we're talking about). He managed two assists for the game while playing on the 2nd line and manning the point on the PP.
Kovy's Cman Dainius Zubrus played nearly 20 minutes last night and converted a Kovy pass into a goal... its possible this guy could form some great chemistry with Ilya and turn himself into a useful player but we have our doubts, Elias should be returning soon and they'll need to find a spot for him in the top 6 so maybe he or Langenbrunner moves over to center the 2nd line.
On the other side of the coin, Niclas Bergfors made his debut for the Thrashers but only played 12:53 and didn't see any PP time. We're not really a big fan of this guy as he had four unimpressive seasons in the AHL before cracking the Devils roster this year but we have to remember that he's only 22-years old and he is on pace to top 200 shots this year which is rather impressive for a rookie.
Phil Kessel has points in 11 of his past 13 for 4+10=14 in total... he hasn't really missed Matt Stajan yet but its only been two games.
Eric Staal is on an absolute tear as he has points in 11 straight with 10+6=16 and 44 shots during the streak... good on ya if you bought low on him when he was struggling early in the season.
Tomas Vokoun stopped 38 of 40 last night but his teammates didn't seem interested in playing as they could only manage 13 shots (WTF???) against Calgary and TV took the loss. He's been dynamite lately with a 7-4-2 record, four shutouts and 1.53 & .953 averages in his last 13 games.
We've been talking up Thomas Vanek lately and with two more assists last night he has 5+6=11 (with 5 PPP) in his last 10 games.
Andrej Sekera has been firmly planted in Lindy Ruff's doghouse lately but he returned from his latest stint in the pressbox with a goal on Wednesday and followed it up with 1+2=3 last night... so maybe, just maybe, he's working his way into Ruff's goodbooks.
Michal Neuvirth was recalled yesterday and started last night, stopping 43 of 45 to pick up the win over the Thrashers. We had thought when he was sent down that he wouldn't be back until after the Olympics but I guess they wanted to give Jose a break. Neuvirth has won his last six decisions but is probably destined to finish the year in the AHL unless Varlamov can't get himself back to 100%.
Injury Updates (see our Injury Updates page for a consolidated list of injuries):
Cam Ward left the team and returned to Carolina to have a UBI looked at, he's out for tonight's game as well but we don't know the extent beyond that.
So Mike Green returned from injury/suspension last night and picked up right where he always does... on the scoresheet with a goal in 25 minutes of action.
What's distracting us today? Read this article and we're liking it for a lot of reasons:
- How cool is it that The Luongo's and The Brodeur's live within a kilometer of each other
- How sweet are those old school Canada uni's?
- How awesome is it that Denis Brodeur passed up a pro contract just to play in the Olympics?
- How great does Olympic hockey look in an outdoor arena?
Brodeur has to be starting in Vancouver... but it's sure nice to have Bobby Lou sitting on the bench.