Cal O`Reilly had a three point night (all assists) in the Preds win over the Blues and he seems to be settling into his #1C role between Sullivan and Hornqvist. We mentioned yesterday that O'Reilly was seeing more ice-time than Matt Lombardi, well it turns out Lombardi is hurt (more on that in our injury updates) but don't take anything away from O'Reilly as he's finally getting a chance to show what he can do and is making the most of it. Just be aware that he doesn't shoot the puck, won't score and his PIMs will be next to nothing... so he'll really only help you in assists & PPP.
With two goals last night Steve Sullivan now has four on the season and seems to really be enjoying the feeds from O'Reilly. Sully only had 17 goals all of last season, so not sure if it's been a conscious decision to shoot the puck more but he has 14 shots through 3 games after averaging less than 2 /game over his past three seasons... lets hope it continues.
Big home opener for Mikko Koivu last night with 2+1=3 (all points on the PP). Koivu's an underrated player cause he plays on a poor team without much talent around him but he's been consistently improving throughout his career and his pts/gm (and shots/gm) has increased in each of his five seasons so far... look for that trend to continue again this year.
Things are going as planned so far for Steve Downie... we weren't sure how new coach Guy Boucher would react to his antics but so far, so good as Downie had 2 assists & 7 PIMs last night to bring his totals to 1+3=4 with 11 PIMs through his first three games. As we've been saying all summer, if he can get to 50 points & 200 PIMs this year, it would be the stuff of fantasy legend as nobody has done that since Theo Fleury did it back in 2001/02.
Kari Lehtonen stopped 25 of 26 to beat Detroit last night and that's three wins in a row to start the year. In another moral victory, he has outlasted Pascal Leclaire (who was injured last night). Enjoy this while it lasts but we still wouldn't get too comfortable with Lehtonen as his next injury is likely right around the corner.
Detroit went back to Chris Osgood last night in game #4 and he reminded Babcock why he shouldn't be tempting fate as he gave up four on only 15 shots in the loss to Dallas. This is another reason why we like Howard this year (even if he struggles) as his job is very safe.
We told you the other day to be patient with Tomas Vokoun as he's typically a slow starter, well it didn't take him long to find his groove as he stopped all 27 shots he faced last night in a blanking of the Flames for his first victory of the season.