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Blog: Face-Off Saturday

Sunday, 10.04.2009 / 1:10 AM / 2009 NHL Face-off

By Dave Lozo - NHL.com Staff Writer

Welcome to the Face-Off Saturday Live-Blog, where the NHL season gets officially under way for everyone with all 30 teams in action. I will bring you all the action from NHL HQ in New York City.

(BE SURE TO SCROLL DOWN AND READ ALONG WITH ALL THE ACTION YOU'VE MISSED TODAY)

You might be asking yourself, "Self, why would any human being sit in an office on a Saturday and provide constant updates from every game for 13 hours?"

That's a great question. I would say, "Self, for one, my boss clearly doesn't like me and wants me to suffer." Then I would say, "Self, I'm completely kidding and it's an honor and a privilege to watch every game and give you all the updates from those games."

Oh, and overtime. Getting paid overtime to watch hockey is nice too.

In all seriousness, if you've been with any of my live-blogs before (Stanley Cup Finals, NHL Awards Red Carpet) you know I update the action and provide my razor-sharp commentary and hilarious insights (or idiotic statements and bad jokes, depending on your perspective) in a rapid-fire manner. It'll be just like that today, only with a little less rapid fire at some points, because if I updated this blog every two minutes from noon till 1 a.m., I'd probably start suffering from hallucinations, vertigo and full-on dementia by 8 p.m. And that could hurt me.

I'll pick it up for the night games, when there are eight 7 p.m. contests, so be sure to refresh often. And while you're at it, you should e-mail this to your friends, because I am a live-blogging machine that runs on page views.

Here's the Face-Off Saturday schedule:

Chicago vs. Florida, noon
Vancouver at Colorado, 3 p.m.
Detroit vs. St. Louis, 3 p.m.
Philadelphia at New Jersey, 7 p.m.
Pittsburgh at N.Y. Islanders, 7 p.m.
Montreal at Buffalo, 7 p.m.
Ottawa at N.Y. Rangers, 7 p.m.
Toronto at Washington, 7 p.m.
Carolina at Boston, 7 p.m.
Tampa Bay at Atlanta, 7 p.m.
Minnesota at Columbus, 7 p.m.
Nashville at Dallas, 8 p.m.
San Jose at Anaheim, 10 p.m.
Calgary at Edmonton, 10 p.m.
Phoenix at Los Angeles, 10:30 p.m.

Panthers vs. Blackhawks in Helsinki
10.3.09 / 11:50 PM ET

Hello out there. We're on the air. It's hockey night all the live long day. We're about 15 minutes away from the first game of the day, the Blackhawks of Chicago vs. the Panthers of Florida. Finnish defenseman Ville Koistenin was the hero in Friday's 4-3 shootout win, scoring to the tie game at 2-all in regulation, then beating Cristobal Huet in the shootout.

This game is only contest at noon. The handsome and affable Shawn P. Roarke is there for NHL.com, and he has the preview. We'll get this live-blog fired up in a few minutes.

12:05 p.m. -- Still no faceoff yet. Just a really long commercial for bald people to buy fake hair. It's one where in the before picture they make the bald guy look like he hasn't combed his remaining hair in a decade. There's another guy in the ad who is like 80 years old. What does he need hair for? Luckily for me I look great bald and don't have to worry about that sort of thing. I'm like a young Jason Statham mixed with a pinch of Bruce Willis. Can you tell I'm stalling until the game starts?

12:07 -- We've got hockey!

12:11 -- Koistenin, the hero Friday, just took a bad penalty. He just needlessly cross-checked a player and the penalty was immediately called. It took less than a minute for the Hawks to capitalize. Brian Campbell ripped a shot from the point that Tomas Vokoun never saw. Dustin Byfuglien set a screen in front, and good luck getting a view around that guy. Blackhawks 1, Panthers 0

12:18 -- We're at the first TV timeout, and so far it's been all Blackhawks. The Panthers had a mild threat, but Antti Niemi blocked a centering pass from behind the net. Chicago looks like it has more jump. Seven minutes in, and the Blackhawks are looking good.

12:20 -- Jon Toews just had a great chance but the puck slipped off his stick while he made the move to the backhand.

12:23 -- The Blackhawks just hit two crossbars in about 15 seconds. Kopecky redirected a shot from the point from Campbell that caught iron, then Madden hit the crossbar on a wristshot from the win. It's all Hawks right now.

12:26 -- Kopecky had what looked like a breakaway, but he looked like he was at the end of his shift and two Panthers ran him down. It was like watching two Usain Bolts run down an NFL offensive lineman. Only on ice. And with hockey sticks. So actually it looked nothing like that. Seven minutes to go in the first period, and already I'm not making sense.

12:30 -- Niemi again uses his stick to neutralize a threat from behind the net. Weiss had room to bring it out in front, but a little poke check stopped that from happening. Not many chances so far for the Panthers.

12:34 -- Another flurry of chances for Chicago. Madden made a nice move then hit Campbell trailing. His shot went just wide. But Campbell got it out to Ladd out in front, but Vokoun made the stop. Then Weiss had a chance for Florida at the other end, but his shot went over the net, over the glass, and possibly off the roof of the arena. Four minutes to go in the first.

12:40 -- And that's the end of the first period. It's 1-0 Blackhawks. The Panthers have only 3 shots on goal. They've missed the net a lot and the Blackhawks have blocked a lot of shots. Here's your stat of the day -- the Panthers have allowed a goal in eight straight periods, overtimes not included. 

12:57 -- As the second period gets under way, let me throw this at you. Ever see that episode of Family Guy where Lois gets addicted to gambling? It starts off as a family trip, but Peter drinks a prune smoothie. That of course leads to him having to go to the bathroom, but he tries to fight it. Eventually he sees a sign for a casino that reads, "Craps! Craps! Craps!" He pulls in, Lois gets addicted, hijinks ensue. The point here is whenever I hear the name of Kamil Kreps, that's what I think about. I'm hoping he has a hat trick at some point this year so we can use the headline, "Kreps! Kreps! Kreps!"

1:00 -- The Panthers had three shots in the first period. I think they just had 4 in the first 35 seconds of the second period. None of them went in, but the effort was nice.

1:02 -- Another shot, another save by Niemi. Maybe he told his teammates he was bored and wanted to see some action while playing in front of his countrymen. Also, I'm not sure if I'm cracking up already or not, but it seems like the puck is constantly staying up on the dasher behind the net the Panthers attack twice. It just rides around the dasher like it's wider than usual.

1:04 -- Power play, Panthers. Niemi turned the puck over, and the Blackhawks had to take a penalty .

1:06 --
After the Hawks kill it off, Patrick Kane scores to make it 2-0 Blackhawks. Patrick Sharp had the original chance on the rush that was started by Duncan Keith, and the rebound came right to Kane. That's now nine straight periods in which the Panthers have allowed a goal.

1:07 -- Fraser and Campbell work out a nice give and go, but Vokoun makes a nice save on Campbell. This game has the potential to get out of hand.

1:12 -- Cory Stillman just elbowed Madden, and the Blackhawks are on the PP. This could be the game here if Chicago scores.

1:13 -- And now it's going to be a 5-on-3 for 55 seconds. Bryan Allen took a hooking penalty. This should be fun. Unless you're a Panthers fan. Then this could be bad.

1:17 -- Lot of great chances for the Hawks on the 2-man. Kane had an empty net, but his spinning backhand looked like it was stopped by a down Vokoun. It also might've hit the post. Hard to tell on the replay.

1:19 -- The Panthers kill it off. Still 2-0. Seven minutes to go in the second.

1:24 -- The Panthers just had a 3-on-1, but it seemed like no one told Kreps. He carried the puck into the zone, and all he had to do was feather the puck to Matthias for a mini-breakaway from the blue line in, but he never made the pass. Oh, Kreps.

1:29 -- Another power play for Chicago. Frolik turned the puck over to Toews, then tripped Toews. I believe they consider that compounding a problem. Two minutes to go in the second.

1:31-- Sharp cashes in on the power play. Dennis Seidenberg's stick broke, he went to the bench, and suddenly Sharp and Versteeg were off to the races. Sharp stashed it inside the right post with a sweet backhand. 3-0 Blackhawks with the time winding down in the second.

1:33 -- Two periods in the books, and it's 3-0 Chicago. Time for me to freshen up and grab some liquid refreshment. It's almost like I'm at the game, except my liquid refreshment is going to be lacking in alcohol.

1:50 -- Third period. Let's see if the Panthers can score quickly and make a game out of this and prevent me from having to make jokes like, "If you're not a fan of Antti Niemi, are you anti-Antti Niemi?" Yep, I'm getting paid for this today.

1:55 -- With 18 minutes to go, Niemi just made his 13th save of the game. I'm not sure if the Hawks are focusing more on defense with the backup in or not, but there's just not a lot for Niemi to do. Also, it's another Blackhawks PP.

1:56 -- Annnnnnnd it's 4-0. Brent Seabrook delivered a huge hit on Olesz to hold the puck in at the blue line. The puck bounced down to Byfuglien, who snapped it through Vokoun's legs. It's 4-0 Blackhawks, and that's 10 straight periods in which the Panthers have allowed a goal.

2:00 -- The Hawks had a 3-on-1 that went awry after a pass was between Madden's skates. It's like the Blackhawks are playing NHL '94 on the Sega Genesis against the computer on the easy level with offsides and icing turned off. Just 12 minutes to go.

2:04 -- A little flurry by the Panthers where Niemi stops a wrap attempt and a wrister from the high slot. Luckily for the Blackhawks, Niemi didn't forget how to make saves during the first 48 minutes of the game. And the Panthers are going on the power play after Koistenin was taken down by Troy Brouwer.

2:09 -- Two good chances for the Panthers on the PP, and that's it. With under 8 minutes to play, it's time to see if Niemi will get the shutout and incite a goalie controversy in Chicago.

2:13 -- Madden plays the puck over the glass and skates directly to the penalty box. Power play, Panthers with 6:40 left.

2:15 -- Niemi makes one save during the kill, and we're now 4:30 away from a shutout for the Finnish goaltender in front of his home fans.

2:21 -- And that's going to do it. The Blackhawks get the 4-0 victory and 3 of 4 points in Helsinki. Niemi made 23 saves in the victory. I'm going to go powder my nose and freshen up a bit for the pair of games at 3 p.m. It's the Blues and Wings from Stockholm and the Canucks and Avalanche in Denver. For a preview of the Premiere game in Sweden, check out Dan Rosen's breakdown.

3 o'clock games -- Blues-Wings in Stockholm and Canucks-Avs
10.3.09 / 3:00 PM ET

3 p.m. -- The puck will be dropping on two continents for two simultaneous NHL games in mere minutes. Detroit's Jimmy Howard is getting the start against St. Louis' Ty Conklin in Sweden, while Roberto Luongo and Craig Anderson get the call for the Canucks and Avs, respectively. And remember, you can e-mail me and tell me how terribly I'm doing at dlozo@nhl.com.

3:04 -- Before the Wings-Blues game, it appears a death metal band called Bullet performed. The lead singer just cracked me up during the clip, because he looked like a super-intense hard-core rock version of Horatio Sanz. I guess you're going to have to Google the band and do some digging, but I think it's totally worth it to get that reference.

3:08 -- And we're under way in Denver, and still waiting for the puck drop in Sweden. I don't know about you, but I'm excited to hear which 1980s hair band will be featured during the first stoppage of the Wings-Blues game. It's like Stockholm is living in 1988. And I'm not making fun. I think it's great. Poison, Warrant, Def Leppard. I think we can all agree that music peaked then, so I'm on board with Sweden wanting to live in the past. It's why I keep all my Little League trophies at my desk at work.

3:13 -- The Canucks get some token pressure early and Anderson stops a shot from a tough angle to get the whistle. While in Sweden, the fans are on their feet cheering Mats Sundin, who is dropping the cermonial first puck. And the Blues win the draw! Back in Denver, Henrik Sedin is denied on the doorstep. And we're under way in Stockholm! Let my freaking out begin.

3:15 -- Just 31 seconds into the game, Tomas Holmstrom scores from right in front of the net to give the Wings a 1-0 lead. rafalski let a shot go from the point, and Holmer put it past Conklin, who was down on the ice. And none too pleased either. Still, it's 1-0 Wings.

3:19 -- At the under-6 mark in Denver, it remains scoreless. And in Stockholm, it's 2-0 Wings! Cleary tips home a pass from Bertuzzi and it's getting out of hand early.  The Avs are in the midst of killing a penalty, and Anderson made a nice save on a Salo one-timer.

3:22 -- Franzen is in the box and Jackman is in the box as well. A little 4 on 4 action, and Kronwall is denied. Cleary gets another good chance and is denied. Meanwhile, in Denver, it's getting chippy in front of Anderson. Meanwhile in the office, I'm realizing the way these games are staggered I might not be able to get to the bathroom until 6:30. That's not good for me.

3:24 -- Anderson is standing tall under pressure for the Avs, making a series of tough saves. And the Red Wings are going on the power play as Oshie goes to the box for slashing. If the Wings go up 3-0 here, this might be over. Beating the Red Wings is fun and all,  but if you have to play them the next day when they're still ticked off, it's usually going to go badly for you.

3:26 -- And it's 3-0 Red Wings...or is it? Cleary redirects a shot from the point by Jason Williams, but it may have been with a high stick. They're going to review it. (And it's no goal. It was pretty obvious.) It's still 2-0. It's also scoreless in Denver.

3:31 -- Anderson is making save after save in a scoreless game in Denver, and the Wings and Blues remain a 2-0 game.

3:32 -- Wolski get the Avs on the board! He got position on Kyle Wellwood in front of the net, and it's 1-0 Avs. The goal was set up by a nice drive to the net by Paul Stastny, who could be a 90-point guy if he stays healthy. Less than 5 minutes to go in the first in Denver.

3:36 -- David Backes goes to the box for St. Louis, giving Detroit another power play.

3:38 -- And the Blues survive the man-down situation, and the Avs and Canucks will play 4 on 4 with Bieksa and Tucker in the box after some chippiness after a late hit after an offsides whistle. Nine minutes to go in Stockholm, three to go in Denver.

3:41 -- The Red Wings got back on the power play. Missed the penalty because I was focused on the other game. As a member of Generation X, it's hard for me to multi-task. But I'm going to say Paul Kariya took off his skate and tried to slash Brian Rafalski. I'm all about sensationalism here. Oh, the Blues killed it off.

3:43 -- The first period is over in Denver, and the Avs lead 1-0. Anderson made XX saves in the first, a lot of them tough ones. Thanks to the Blackhawks' four goals earlier and the DJ in Denver during that last stoppage, I've now heard Chelsea Dagger five times today. It's a good song, but come on. A little Barry Manilow never hurt anyone. Am I right, people? Still  6 minutes to go in Stockholm. My bladder weeps. The Blues on the PP. Ha. PP.

3:47 -- Sorry. Anderson made 12 saves for the Avs. I wasn't typing in Roman numerals before. And the Blues are held off the scoreboard on their power play. Still 2-0 in Stockholm.

3:50 -- It's an interference call in Ville Leino. It was one of those ones off a faceoff where two guy are battling for the puck, but Leino took down Backes. Just 3:40 to go in the first.

3:52 -- And the Blues are going to have a two-man advantage for 65 seconds as Maltby elbowed Kariya in the head. Andy Murray calls a timeout to either force to me to sit here longer or to settle his team down for a big power play. One or the other.

3:55 --  As the two-man advantage ends, the Blues get on the board off a net-mouth scramble. I'd tell you how the puck went in, but CBC's replay machine must be broken. It looks like Tkachuk will get the goal, and it's 2-1 Red Wings.

3:57 --
And we're through one period in Stockholm. 2-1 Wings. The Avs and Canucks should be getting started shortly, so stay tuned.

4:01 -- And the second period is under way in Denver. Ahhh, a nice four-minute break and we're right back it. If someone could bring me a couple slices of pizza, that'd be great. Thanks.

4:05 -- The Canucks are looking sharp again to start the second. Good consistent pressure, just nothing to show for it yet. Kyle Wellwood had a great shot, but had to pull back on his shot because Bernier was in the way. The announcers on Rogers called Wellwood a "nice guy." Funny stuff.

4:07 -- A few good chances for the Avs, and rookie Matt Duchene was involved with all of them. He looks pretty darn good through 1.3 games this season.

4:09 -- It looks like the Canucks are going on the PP as Alex Burrows was shoved into the net. Kyle Quincey will go to the box.

4:10 -- Anderson stops a GREAT move by Daniel Sedin. He walked out in front and drew it to his backhand, but he couldn't get it over Anderson.

4:12 -- And the Avs kill it. It seems as though the Canucks' PP strategy is let Ehroff shoot from the point as many times as he wants.

4:15 -- As we reach the 10-minute mark in Denver, the second period is getting started in Stockholm, where it's 2-1 Red Wings. And the Avs are going on the power play as Duchene draws the penalty. What a player that guy is. Luckily I'm a genius who saw that talent and I own him in the Experts Fantasy League here in the office.

4:20 -- The Canucks are able to kill off the power play. Still 1-0 Avs, and nothing of note yet in the second period in Stockholm. The Blues are going on the power play with about 16 minutes to go. Abdelkader goes to knee to knee on Thomas Steen. Everyone's OK physically after the play. Emotionally, I'm not sure. Knee on knee can be scary, and I'm not one to speculate on the feelings of fear in either player.

4:22 -- And the Blues tie it! It's 2-2 on Andy McDonald's rebound stuff. All four goals in this game have been from right in front of the net. It's the second day in a row in which the Wings have wasted a two-goal lead.

4:26 -- The Avs are going on the PP thanks to a holding call on Henrik Sedin. He held Ryan O'Reilly to  prevent him from making it 2-0, so as far as penalties go, it's a pretty good one. We've got 5 minutes left in Denver and 14 left in Stockholm.

4:27 -- Brad Winchester is going to the box for roughing. Power play Wings. Paul Stastny scores on the power play in Denver and it's 2-0 Avalanche. I'd love to tell you how it happened, but I was watching Winchester slug Jason Williams. Sorry. I'll try harder.

4:30 -- Adam Foote to the box for tripping for the Avs. He got his stick between the legs of a Canuck and took him down. He certainly didn't put his best FOOTE forward on that play! Ha! Get it? Sorry. I promise to get funnier tonight. Oh, and Kronwall has given the Wings a 3-2 lead on a blast from the point. It's starting to get hectic here.

4:32 -- Bon Jovi's "Livin' on a Prayer" during a whistle in Stockholm. I heart Sweden.

4:34 -- The second period in Denver ends with the Avs up 2-0 and Anderson making save after save, including a break away on H. Sedin. The Avs will have a PP to start the third period as D. Sedin takes a penalty. There's still 10 minutes to go in the second period in Sweden. How's that pizza coming? I'm starving here.

4:37 -- Still 3-2 Wings. They're getting chances, but at times they're like a two baby koalas sleeping next to a kitten -- they're too cute. It's like they have too much talent on offense. And as I'm sure you can tell, you know that I too know the burden of having too much talent. It leads to me getting too cute, or so the ladies tell me. This update had a point, but somewhere between koalas and me saying I had talent, I got lost. Sorry. Back to the game.

4:41 -- Conklin just ROBBED Maltby after a sweet pass from Zetterberg.

4:42 -- And seconds later, Brad Boyes ties the game at 3-3. From a tough angle, Boyes beats Jimmy Howard through the legs and the puck just trickles across the line with just under 7 minutes to go. And the Blues score again! I can't even hit update here! Berglund gives the Blues a 4-3 lead with a big slapper from the left circle. It squeezes through, and the Wings have called timeout after 2 goals in 13 seconds.

4:49 -- Brett Lebda got absolutely destroyed by Keith Tkachuk on a hit behind the Wings net. Never saw him coming. He's clearly hurt on the bench right now.

4:52 -- As the second period ends in Stockholm with the Blues up 4-3, the final period in Denver is getting started. The Avs are up 2-0 and have 1:55 remaining on a big power play.

4:56 -- A couple of good chances, but the Avs can't convert. The Avs are still 18 minutes away from being a very unlikely 2-0 team.

4:58 -- Ryan Kesler takes a penalty for holding Cody McLeod. It's another PP for the Avs (their fifth) with 16 minutes to go. They could put it away here.

5:01 -- And Darcy Tucker cashes in by jamming home the rebound after Wolski drove the net. It's 3-0 Avs on their second PP goal of the game. Barring something unforseen, the Avs are going to be 2-0 to start the season with wins over a pair of Western Conference favorites.

5:09 -- The Canucks aren't mustering much of anything as we reach the halfway point of the third. If you're a Canucks fan, you can't get too panicky over this 0-2 start. It's just the first two games. It takes time to get everyone up to speed. It's like judging a TV show after one season. You need to let it get its feet under it. Look at the first season of Seinfeld. It was mediocre at best. Just imagine if we gave up on that show right away. I think that analogy works well unless you hate Seinfeld. If that's the case, I don't know what to tell you, except that I'm really sorry that you don't have a sense of humor.

5:10 -- And after some good Vancouver pressure, Hendricks gets a breakaway. But the wind cried Luongo and he failed to put it home. But he was mashed from behind by a Canuck whose name I didn't get because I was far too excited about making a bad Jimi Hendrix joke. Anyway, power play Avs.

5:14 -- We've got 5 minutes to go in Denver and it's still 3-0. The third period is under way in Stockholm, so I'm just going to bail on the Avs-Canucks. Sorry, but you can send all the hate mail you want to me. If anything amazing happens in Denver, I'll get it to you.

5:18 -- Jason Williams with a sweet move around a defender, but a nice save by Conklin. It's still 4-3 Blues with 15 minutes to go.

5:23 -- And it's all over in Denver. Avs 3, Canucks 0. Anderson made 33 saves. If he can maintain this level of play over a full season as a starter, the Avs' outlook could be brighter than we thought. And in Stockholm, we're down to 12 minutes and it's still 4-3 Blues.

5:30 -- The Blues are just choking the life out of the Red Wings as we approach the 9-minute mark. I think my TV show analogy applies here for all those people who immediately write off the Red Wings if they lose. They probably don't even know what a write-off is. And they're the ones writing it off. Sorry. I get lost in Seinfeld quotes sometimes. But Detroit is just a tweak or two or a bounce or two from being on the verge of going 2-0. Obviously that's the not case,  but don't panic.

5:32 -- And now the Blues are going on the PP thanks to Crombeen drawing a penalty on Datsyuk. Howard made a nice same on Roman Polak. Oh, and the Blues are now up 5-3 as Tkachuk redirects a shot from Erik Johnson. This one looks like it's over.

5:36 -- Polak just turned the puck over to Datsyuk, but Conklin engaged in grand larceny to keep the game at 5-3. Just four minutes to play in Sweden.

5:42 -- Just 2 minutes to play. For those of you who entered the NHL.com Pick 15 contest, how many of you had the Avs and Blues today? Really? That many? It sounds like we have a lot of liars in our midst.

5:43 -- The net is empty for Detroit. Franzen just broke his stick over the post after being stopped by Conklin. Just one minute to play.

5:47 -- And that's our game. Your final from Stockholm, Blues 5, Red Wings 3. That gives yours truly about 85 minutes to grab some dinner and get recharged for 8 games at 7 p.m. I'm really not sure how we're going to play it in terms of updates, but I'm just hoping to not have a seizure. Hope you're having as much fun as I am. See you in a bit.

7 o'clock games -- Canes-Bruins, Canadiens-Sabres, Flyers-Devils, Pens-Islanders, Sens-Rangers, Leafs-Caps, Lightning-Thrashers, Wild-Jackets
10.3.09 / 7:00 PM ET

6:30 p.m. -- You're probably wondering how I'm going to go about my business during these 7 p.m. games. Well, that makes two of us. I'm thinking perhaps one big update dump every 10 minutes with that major goings-on. Top two picks John Tavares and Victor Hedman make their debuts for the Isles and Lightning, while Alex Ovechkin and the Caps host the Leafs and Martin Brodeur plays in his 1,00th game for the Devils. Maybe I'll just update you on whatever my fantasy players do in these games, since I'm sure you care if Zach Parise gets me 2 PIMs for tripping. We'll figure it out as we go. See you in a half-hour.

7:03 -- So here's my setup. On the four TVs in the office, I've got Rangers-Sens, Wild-Jackets, Isles-Pens and Devils-Flyers. The other four games are on my GameCenter Live. GameCenter Live! Something every hockey fan needs to have! This should be an experience.

7:16 -- And Marc Savard scores the first goal of this mayhem for the Boston Bruins. It was a power play goal.

7:18 --  Some guy named Ovechkin (going to look up the pronunciation) scored for the Capitals just 90 seconds into the game. Sounds like he could be Russian.

7:22 -- Heeeeeeeeeeeee shoots and he scores. Tim Connolly gives Buffalo a 1-0 lead on the power play, and Rick Jeanerrette (sorry about the spelling) sounds like the Sabres just won the Stanley Cup. I love that man. I wish he could do play by play on my life. "Heeeeeeeeeeee sleeps till noon on Sunday."

7:25 -- And Ilya Kovalchuk gets a goal for Atlanta. Paul Ranger accidentally redirected the puck into his own net. I don't know why I say accidentally because if he did it on purpose there'd be something really wrong with that. Still no road goals in any of these games.

7:30 -- Thrasher hockey. Catch the fever. Anssi Salmela sneaks down from the point and beats Mike Smith to make it 2-0 Atlanta.

7:32 -- And Mike Knuble makes it 2-0 on the power play after Mike Komisarek takes a penalty. We are still road goal-less through about the halfway point of most of these games.

7:33 -- Michael Ryder makes it 2-0 in Boston and Zombie Nation blares throughout TD Arena. For the record, Atlanta and Boston have the same goal song, which means I've heard it four times in 15 minutes. Whoa whoa whoa whoa whoa is going to be in my head for the next six hours. Yay!

7:34 -- Blake Wheeler cashes in on a 2-on-1 to make it 3-0. Whoa whoa whoa whoa whoa whoa whoa. The Canes got caught pinching, and this one is getting out of hand quick. Zombie. Zombie. Zombie nation....

7:38 -- And we've got our first road goal of the night from Sidney Crosby, giving the Pens a 1-0 lead on Long Island. So already tonight we have goals from Sid, AO and Kovalchuk. Stars doing what stars do.

7:40 -- After a big Varlamov save, Brooks Laich undresses Toskala on a breakaway to make it 3-0. I mean that metaphorically, of course. Toskala isn't naked or anything. Maybe he feels that way emotionally after three goals in the first period, but this is a family league, so everyone's dressed.

7:44 -- Jeff Carter gets the Flyers on the board in New Jersey, rifling a bouncing puck past Martin Brodeur from a sharp angle. Also, Ray Emery is on pace to finish the season 82-0-0 with a 0.00 GAA.

7:47 -- Just to add a little variety here, there have been two fights on Long Island between the Pens and Islanders. The second one was between Jay McKee and Brendan Witt after Witt through a big hit on Fedotenko. I say it was with an elbow, NHL.com's own John Kreiser says clean hit. But what we can both agree on is that we should've heard Zombie Nation during the fight, because that song rocks.

7:49 -- And the Islanders get a 5 on 3 with McKee off for being the instigator, and  Mark Streit cashes in with a blast from the point to tie the game at 1-1. Tavares gets an assist for his first NHL point.

7:54 -- A lot of the games are at intermission right now. The Rangers-Sens game is scoreless, mostly because Pascal Leclaire has been standing on his head. Metaphorically, again. It's also 0-0 between the Wild and Jackets. The only game going right now is Isles-Pens, and there's 4 minutes left there.

8:00 -- And we are entirely through one period in all of the 7 p.m. games. Remember, if you want to say hello or offer your own insights on games you're watching, hit me up at dlozo@nhl.com.

8:09 -- The Flyers have killed off two 5-on-3s in their game, mostly because of Ray Emery. Steve Mason is currently stoning the Jackets on a PK of his own.

8:14 -- And the Rangers will not be held scoreless this season. After a nice save by Lundqvist, Prospal cashes in on a 2-on-1 with Gaborik to make it 1-0 Rangers.

8:18 -- The Leafs get on the board with a beautiful goal by Lee Stempniak. He took a feed, deked glided to the middle and banged home a shot into an empty net past Varlamov. The Leafs are still down 3-1, but they definitely lead the game if we're only counting really pretty goals. And the Thrashers are now up 3-0 on a goal by Bogosian. Hang on! Back to DC! Alexander Semin answers Stempniak right away with a goal of his own. He got about six whacks at the puck against Jonas Gustavsson (he replaced Toskala to start the second) so maybe the Leafs thought they couldn't hit him. It's 4-1 Caps, but 1-0 Leafs in the Pretty Goal Contest.

8:20 -- Say hamburger! UMBERGER! RJ gets the Jackets' first goal of the season and puts Columbus up 1-0. Also, I completely spaced on the 8 p.m. game and Nashville is up 1-0. And Ian Laperriere has put the Flyers up 2-0. I have officially have nine games to watch on 8 screens. I know, I know. I'll keep playing the world's smallest violin in the back of my wahmbulance.

8:22 -- It's 4-0 Thrashers on a Rich Peverley goal. I don't know about you, but I'm read to give them the Stanley Cup. The team is just too good.

8:26 -- We're on a Zombie Nation run. The Bruins are up 4-0 on a goal by Marco Sturm. In non-Zombie Nation news, Dubinsky just picked a corner over the glove of Leclaire to give the Rangers a 2-0 lead.

8:29 -- Hang on. Maybe the Thrashers won't win the Cup. Martin St. Louis deflects a Victor Hedman shot home for a goal, giving the No. 2 pick in the 2009 draft his first point. Over in DC, Brendan Morrison makes it 5-1 on a beauty of breakaway goal over the shoulder of Gustavsson.

8:30 -- It's 3-0 Flyers. A Mike Richards wraparound gets up over Brodeur. This probably wasn't what Jacques Lemaire envisioned in his return to New Jersey.

8:33 -- John Tavares is our new overlord and ruler. Bow to him. He just scored his first NHL goal to give the Islanders a 2-1 lead. He now has two points already and appears to be comfortable in this pro league.

8:38 -- Daniel Alfredsson gets the Sens on the board to make it 2-1 in favor of the Rangers. The Canadiens look like they tied the game at 1-1 in Buffalo, but someone slammed into Ryan Miller and the puck crossed the line. I think it counts. They're reviewing it, but I think it counts. If it doesn't, I'll let you know. And Alexander Semin now has two goals and it's 6-1 Caps. Dogs and cats, living together. Mass hysteria.

8:41 -- Bruins fan favorite Scott Walker just got Carolina on the board in Boston to make it 5-1. They had to review the goal, and once it was ruled a goal, the crowd rejoiced. Or booed vehemently and threatened to "pahk their cah in his yahd." Not sure what that means. Sounds bad though.

8:42 -- Marty St. Louis makes it 4-2 with his second goal of the game. You see this all the time. I annoint someone Cup champ after 30 minutes of play, then the other team starts to rally. Maybe I'm jumping to conclusions too soon.

8:46 -- Michael Del Zotto gets his first NHL goal and the Rangers are up 3-1 after two periods. He snapped a shot from the point through a screened Leclaire. The Bruins got a sixth goal, but my interest in that game is beginning to disappear. Annnnnnd it's gone.

8:48 -- Kidding. That game got interesting. Milan Lucic landed a monster shot on Jay Harrison in a brawl, and the blood was flowing, my friends. And off the next faceoff, it's a 10-man scrum against the boards. Hockey season. It's back.

8:52 -- Spacek and Sekera were teammates last year with the Sabres. But I'm guessing their friendship is over now. Spacek, now with the Habs, just drilled Sekera up high with a slapshot from the point. Sekera was down for a while, but he's up and skating off. It looks like no blood, so hopefully it caught equipment. Still 1-1 in Buffalo.

9:00 -- Lot of games at the break, which gives me an opportunity to apologize for us making you look at the back of my big bald skull when you arrive to this wonderful web site. You should know it wasn't my idea. Sure, I demanded my name in the headline because I'm a massive egomaniac,  but I was willing to draw the line there. Hopefully our advertising doesn't drop off once we scare away all the traffic with that photo. Again, my apologies. No one deserves to see that.

9:03 -- The Wild knot it up on a goal by Andrew Brunette. That's the first goal of the season by either the Wild or Devils, the former and current employers of Jacques Lemaire. So yes, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Also, Stanley Cup favorite Atlanta is now only up 4-3 after a goal by Meszaros. I couldn't be a bigger hex.

9:05 -- Poinkarovsky gets a goal for the Leafs to make it 6-2. That's the last we'll speak of that game.

9:08 -- Scary hit in Dallas. Stephane Robidas drilled someone on Nashville, but he's down on his back being attended to and I have no idea who it is. Then they went to commercial. So really, it could be anyone. It was J.P. Dumont. He left the game, but it's likely not serious if he was able to get off under his own power.

9:11 -- It's now 4-1 Flyers as Darroll Powe flips a puck to the net that hits off Brodeur's glove and in. Not a good goal. I believe we can also stop paying attention to this game as well.

9:13 -- Klesla gives the Jackets a 2-1 lead with a shot over Backstrom's glove. Remember the band Tesla? I bet they're big in Sweden right now.

9:14 -- Nashville is up 2-0 after a goal by Steve Sullivan. And the Devils' offense is revved up and rolling as Brian Rolston scores their first goal of the year. Could this be the end of Ray Emery? Could I overreact more to today's action? Stay tuned.

9:20 -- The Cup is going back to Hotlanta. Peverley gets his second of the game off a rebound to make it 5-3 Thrashers. In games we don't care about anymore, the Devils are down 5-1 and Eric Staal got his first of the season in Boston to cut it to 6-2.

9:24 -- Marian Gaborik gets his second as a Ranger, banging home a Dubinsky shot that hit the crossbar and fell in the crease. And the Devils now have two goals this season as Langenbrunner scored a shorthanded goal. And Kovlalchuk gets his second of the game, and it's 6-3 Thrashers.

9:27 -- Just as I asked, "How many saves does Roloson have?" Mark Eaton lets a shot go form the point that bounces past Roloson, so nevermind. But then BANG! Trent Hunter responds to give the Isles the lead back. It was the Isles' first shot of the third period. There's 13 minutes left.

9:30 --
We're down to the final minute in Columbus, where the Jackets are up 2-1. The net is empty for the Wild are pushing for the tie.

9:33 -- It's all over in Columbus and New Jersey, where the Jackets and Flyers emerged victorious. And in another game I said was over 20 minutes ago, the Leafs are within two at 6-4 after Hagman scored with two minutes to play there.

9:39 -- Caps and Thrashers win. The Rangers are just  minutes away from a win. The only 7 p.m. games in doubt are MTL-BUF (1-1) and NYI-PIT (3-2). It's 2-0 Nashville after two periods in Dallas. Once these 7 p.m. games end, I'm going to be swimming in relaxation. Three more games the rest of the night? I can do that in my sleep.

9:44 -- We are all tied at 3-3 on Long Island, as Fedotenko banks the shot off an Islander defender and into the net with Roloson down. Just 3:30 to go. In Buffalo, it's still 1-1 with 2 minutes to play.

9:46 -- The Sabres and Habs are going to OT. The Isles are going on the power play with 2 minutes to play as Bill Guerin took a bad slashing penalty. This could be the game.

9:48 -- And we're going to OT on Long Island. I'm taking Trent Hunter in my fictional OT pool in that game. I've got Vanek in the Habs-Sabres game.

9:52 -- I lose the MTL-BUF goal pool that took place in my mind. Gionta knocks the puck out of mid-air to give the Habs the win. A Gomez shot was ripped wide, and he knocked it out of the air on the fly past a helpless Miller. Nothing he could do. The Isles and Pens have 3 minutes left in their OT.

9:59 -- We're going to a shootout between the Pens and Isles. The Stars have cut the Preds' lead to 2-1 on a James Neal goal. The 10 p.m. games are right around the corner, much the like the men's room in my office, which I need to get to immediately.

10:03 -- James Neal scores again to make it 2-2 in Dallas. Speaking of Dallas, how have they not figured out a way to put the camera in a different spot? If one person stands up in that arena, you've got an obstructed view. It's like they're shooting the game from three rows from the top. It's like it's in the crowd. Also, Pens-Isles shooting it out. Isles stopped, Letang goes 5-hole to make it 1-0 after one round.

10:05 -- And the Pens win. Tavares misses the net on his turn, and Crosby ends it with a goal.

10 and 10:30 games -- Flames-Oilers, Sharks-Ducks, Coyotes-Kings
10.3.09 / 7:00 PM ET

10:07 -- And let's start a subhead for these late games. It's also 2-2 in Dallas with about 15 minutes to go. I can almost see the finish line. I also can see a guy from what must be Cirque Du Soliel swinging around shirtless with an Oilers logo on his back. I'm not sure what fires up the people of Edmonton before a hockey game, but if it's a shirtless man with a logo painted on him then I say go for it.

10:12 --
We've got 10 minutes left in Dallas and it's still 2-2. We're going through the dramatic introductions in Edmonton which are far less dramatic when you've seen 8 of them today.

10:19 -- We're under way in Edmonton and San Jose. Nothing yet in terms of scoring. Six minutes left in the third in Dallas and it's still tied at 2-1.

10:22 -- Curtis "Glengarry" Glencross gets the first goal in Edmonton to make it 1-0. That's all I've got.

10:25  -- The Sharks' Benn Ferriero gets his first NHL goal to make it 1-0 Sharks. To be perfectly honest, that name could be completely made up. But that's what it said on the TV after he scored.

10:31 --
We're heading to OT in Dallas tied at 2-2 after Marty Turco made a big save in the final 30 seconds. Brad Richards took a slashing penalty at the same time, so the Preds will have a PP for 1:30 of the start of OT. The Oilers tied the game in Calgary on a Dustin Penner goal. He stashed a rebound past Kipper to make it 1-1.

10:36 -- The Stars thought they won it, but the fact they missed the net from in close twice probably cost them there. An early whistle didn't help either. There's 2 minutes to go still.

10:41 -- And we're going to a shootout in Dallas. They've yet to drop the puck in L.A., because the Kings hate me. Or because they had their opening game festivities. One or the other.

10:43 -- The Flames are up 2-1 after Moss redirects a shot from the point. Marleau puts the Sharks up 2-0 as he goes backhand over Jonas Hiller on a breakaway. It was a shorty as well.

10:47 -- And once the penalty expires, it's a Thornton and Heatley 2-on-1 that leads to a goal by Thornton to make it 3-0. Hiller has been helpless on the last two goals. You could put a Jonas brother in the net and the outcome would still be the same. Yep, it's time for Jonas Brother jokes.

10:52 -- The first period is over in Anaheim with the Sharks up 3-0. They're under way in LA and scoreless. There's a guy with a white beard on the CGY-EDM telling me I should get my credit score checked. I mean, he has a white beard, so he must be wise.

10:53 -- Mike Santorelli scores in the fifth round of the shootout to give the Preds a win over the Stars. Three games left on the schedule tonight.

10:55 -- Radim Vrbata gets the Coyotes on the board with a ripper from the right wing boards. Still 14 minutes to go in the first.

11:03 -- Eight minutes without an update. I'm not dead. At least not legally. The only game going right now is PHO-LAK and it's 1-0 Coyotes. The Sharks and Ducks are starting the second period as we speak.

11:10 -- Devin Setoguchi takes a nice pass from Heatley on a give and go to make it 4-0. Heatley was brought to San Jose to score, but he's looking more like Thornton with his nice setups.

11:13 -- How long are intermissions in Calgary? An hour? I feel like that game has between periods for way longer than it should. Or maybe it's just the hallucinations starting to set in. Or maybe not. Me and the leprachaun in the Brandon Dubinsky jersey next to me is going to talk it over with the six-foot tall frog and get back to me.

11:15 -- Now it's 2-0 in LA as a 2-on-1 ended with the puck behind Jon Quick. Upshall had the puck in front bank off him and it ricocheted home.

11:19 -- The second period in Edmonton is actually happening. It's getting chippy in Anaheim with the score still 4-0. And the Coyotes have a 2-0 lead after one period in LA.

11:25 -- The current doings in the two games going on right now are thus: The Flames have a PP with 14:30 left, and the Sharks have a man-up situation going with a 4-0 lead with 8 minutes to go in the second.

11:36 -- Not much of anything happening in these games. Iginla was stopped by Khabibulin, then a commercial with a dog driving a car came on, and I think it was way funnier to me right now because I'm delirious. PHX-LA is back to action in the second period.

11:40 -- Dion Phaneuf ties the score at 2-2 in Edmonton. His shot from the point bounced in off Ladislav Smid. Apparently Smid has a phobia about getting hit in the face with a slapshot. Pffft. And he calls himself a hockey player. Kidding, of course.

11:45 -- Here's the latest. Calgary is up 3-1, not tied. As you can see, I am slipping. The Coyotes are looking pretty darn good on the road against an LA team a lot of people liked before the season. And the Sharks and Ducks are between periods.

11:48 -- And now the Coyotes are up 3-0 as Dan Winnik gets a redirection goal. I'm thinking Thrashers-Yotes in the Final at this point. I see no way it doesn't happen.

11:52 -- Welcome to Oil Country! Gilbert Brule lets a ripper go from the left win and beats Kipper to make it 3-2 CGY. Brule's shot was the creme de la creme of shots. Sorry, but I don't get a chance to make many Creme Brule jokes.

11:55 -- The Coyotes seemingly all got together and decided to let Bryz kill a penalty on his own. After making about 45 saves from in close, the Kings finally got on the board on a tap-in goal by Kopitar to make it 3-1. And the second period is over in Edmonton. And the third period is starting in Anaheim.

12:01 --
Vrbata gets his second of the night, and Yotes are up 4-1 in LA. You can Radim yourself by picking him up on the free agent wire if he's available in your league. Hey-oh!

12:14 -- There's been no scoring in the last 10 minutes. The Sharks are 10 minutes away from a win. And as I type that, it's now 4-2 Phoenix as Frolov rips a one-timer past Bryz on the power play. And that gets us to the intermission in LA. And the third period has started in Edmonton.

12:18 -- The Ducks break through on Nabokov and make it 4-1 on a PPG by Ryan Whitney.

12:21 -- So we're down to 5 minutes in Anaheim and 14 minutes left in Edmonton.

12:30 -- And that's all she wrote in Anaheim. 4-1 Sharks. Just two games left.

12:33 -- Scottie Upshall just scored for the Yotes to make it 5-2 off a sweet one-time pass from...a member of the LA Kings defense. I'd list his name here, but I think it's more important to protect the defenseman. Because if I don't type his name here, no one will know who did it. It looks like CGY-EDM is our last good game of the night.

12:35 -- And we are tied in Edmonton. Sam Gagner comes away with a turnover and slips the puck through Kipper's legs to tie it at 3-all. You can almost guarantee this game is going to OT. Actually, I will guarantee that.

12:40 -- A little over 4 minutes left in Edmonton, and about 14 minutes left in LA.

12:43 -- Robert Lang makes it 6-2 in LA off another one-time setup from a King. Not quite as blatant as the last one, but the Kings D aren't doing Jon Quick any favors. Or my fantasy taem for that matter. Is a 4.88 GAA so far this week good?

12:48 -- This will wake you up. The Flames go up 4-3 in the final seconds as Khabibulin comes out to the play the puck, mishandles it, and David Moss stashes the puck in an open net. I'm not sure what riots are like in Canada, but I'm guessing the one in Edmonton tonight is going to be a rough one. It's all over. 4-3 Calgary on a crazy finish.

12:52 -- So all we've got left is 8:40 in LA. Part of me wants to bail on this and catch a train home, but I'm going to hang tough here. Might as well. We've come this far. Besides, it'll be funny when LA scores four goals to tie it and force a 24-round shootout. Sorry. I mean three goals. Drew Doughty just made it 6-3 with 8 minutes left.

12:56 -- Just 5:45 left in LA. I can almost feel my bed.

1:00 -- Down to 4 minutes to play. Really, I've got nothing to say about this game, but I'm just looking to prove to people that I'm still here. This also works as a great alibi in case I'm accused of murder. "Murder? How could I have had time to murder someone when I was touting a Thrashers-Coyotes Cup Final all day?"

1:04 -- Last minute of play in the period! One minute!

1:05 -- And that's it! It's over! It's over!

Well, I had fun. I hope you did too. And seriously, sorry for that off-putting shot of the back of my head. No one needs that. I'd love to tell you that I'll see you next year to do this again, but the psychological damage from doing this should have me in a mental institution by then. Good night!


Quote of the Day

I remember the first time at Wrigley Field all of us had the long johns, the turtlenecks and the extra equipment because we were afraid of being cold. Halfway through the first period everybody's ripping everything off and we just ended up wearing what we would normally wear for a game at the United Center.

— Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp on the 2009 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic