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Cup Final hangovers, Brodeur pace Twitter-verse

Thursday, 10.20.2011 / 11:00 AM / NHL.Countdown

By Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

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Cup Final hangovers, Brodeur pace Twitter-verse
From superstars young and old to championship teams playing far below expectations to one team proving everyone wrong, NHL.com looks at topics that should be trending in the NHL Twitter-verse this week
From superstars young and old to championship teams playing far below expectations to one team proving everyone wrong, here is a list of topics that should be trending in the NHL Twitter-verse this week:

#CupFinalHangover

Watching the Bruins unravel Tuesday against Carolina was stunning, especially considering the defending champs scored to make it 2-1 with nine minutes to play in the third period, before Nathan Horton let his frustration boil over at the wrong time. Thirty-one seconds after Rich Peverley's goal, Horton tossed around Tim Gleason and got a double-minor for roughing and a game misconduct.

The parade to Boston's penalty box continued from there and Carolina wound up scoring a pair of power-play goals to ice a 4-1 win.

A few hours later, the Vancouver Canucks imploded in the third period at Rogers Arena. After playing to a scoreless tie through 40 minutes, Roberto Luongo allowed four unanswered goals and the New York Rangers escaped Vancouver with a 4-0 win on the back of Henrik Lundqvist's 40 saves.

The Bruins and Canucks, last season's Cup finalists, are a combined 4-7-1 to start the season and neither has given any indication that they're ready to snap out of their early-season slumps.

In Boston, Horton, Patrice Bergeron and Milan Lucic have combined for 5 points through six games, while for Vancouver, Luongo's goals-against average is 3.70, and his save percentage is .856.

#CrosbyWatch

Sidney Crosby continues to progress through his post-concussion symptoms and hopefully is moving closer to a return. It's too early to guess when that could be, but Crosby was cleared for contact last week.

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He did not join his teammates on their recently completed road trip to Winnipeg and Minnesota, instead choosing to remain in Pittsburgh to work with strength coach Mike Kadar as well as fellow injured teammates Evgeni Malkin, Brooks Orpik and Dustin Jeffrey.

The Penguins are doing the right thing by taking it slow with Crosby, but the chatter is not going to stop until he gets back in a game.

Even then, the theme of story only will be tweaked to how he is doing.

#IsItStillMartysParty?

Martin Brodeur, arguably the best goalie of all-time, started the Devils' season opener for the 17th straight season. He was not in the lineup for the second game of the regular season and then got hurt in the first period of the third game.

Whether he was trying to tell us something doesn't matter because Devils coach Peter DeBoer made a point by starting Johan Hedberg against Carolina on Oct. 10. No matter if he's healthy, Brodeur's days of playing 70 or more games in a season are over.

It was announced Wednesday that the shoulder injury Brodeur suffered against the Kings will sideline him another 7-10 days. He's 39 years old and age finally may be catching up to the future Hall of Fame goalie.

#SlumpingBolts

Since a 5-1 win at Carolina on opening night, Tampa Bay has gone 0-3-2 and allowed 25 goals. The Lightning opened the renovated St. Pete Times Forum on Monday by letting Florida score five power-play goals, plus one shorthanded.

Dwayne Roloson is looking every bit like a 42-year-old goalie, with his bloated 5.09 goals-against average, but let's not dump all the blame on him. He's getting no help whatsoever.

It's way too early to panic, but 26 goals-allowed through six games is as alarming as the Lightning's minus-8 goal differential.

#AvsRecordRoadTrip

The best part about Colorado's franchise-best 5-0 road trip was how it ended. The Avalanche played with (pardon the cliché coming) playoff-like intensity in their 3-2 overtime win in Toronto on Monday.

They could have been satisfied with winning the first four games, at Boston, Columbus, Ottawa and Montreal. They could have been looking forward to getting home for the first time since Oct. 9. They were neither. Instead, it was almost as if the Avs had a point to prove in Toronto, especially playing on national TV (Versus) against a team that came in undefeated (Toronto was 3-0-0).

It appears for now everyone in Colorado is buying in. Coming off a dreadful second half of the 2010-11 season, the fact the Avs all are on the same page and playing hard for one another is encouraging.

More superstars, a world famous building, a Cup contender and a forgotten goalie all could be trending in the NHL Twitter-verse by this time next week. Here's why:

#CrosbyWatch

He's Sidney Crosby, folks. He'll always be trending.

We're all waiting to find out what happens next. When it does, hockey fans everywhere will be interested for one reason or another.

#OviOnFire

Alex Ovechkin
Left Wing - WSH
GOALS: 1 | ASST: 2 | PTS: 3
SOG: 17 | +/-: -2
He has only 1 goal and 3 points through four games, but it's just a matter of time before Alex Ovechkin finds his stride and starts piling up the points. Anyone who believes otherwise has jumped off the Ovi train way too early.

But here's the thing that has caught our eye: Ovechkin's minutes are down this season.

Caps coach Bruce Boudreau says Ovechkin is playing less because the team is more balanced now and he doesn't have to put in 22 minutes of work every night. However, if Boudreau bumped Ovechkin's minutes up a bit, perhaps his opportunities will grow and he'll start to produce.

It would seem that the next two games would be the right time to give Ovechkin his ice time. The Caps visit Philadelphia on Thursday and play a home game against Detroit on Saturday.

#NewMSG

As if a 12-day European experience wasn't enough, the Rangers now are in the midst of a four-game Western Canadian road trip that started with an impressive 4-0 win in Vancouver on Tuesday. They still have games in Calgary, Edmonton and Winnipeg before they open the partially renovated Madison Square Garden on Oct. 27 against Toronto.

Everyone is curious about what MSG will look like. There were some pictures floating around Twitter on Wednesday, as some media members got a guided tour of the building, with a look inside the Rangers' locker room. It looks stunning and it'll be a fresh change to the famous old building.

But how will the Rangers look upon their arrival at MSG? They finally played their game in the third period Tuesday and the result was four unanswered goals. Mike Rupp got them started and Ryan McDonagh, Brian Boyle and Marian Gaborik followed suit. McDonagh in particular was impressive, on his goal and with his assist on Gaborik's goal.

#WingsAreGame

The Red Wings had four days off between their second and third games, and they're in the middle of a five-day break between their fourth and fifth games. They've already played one back-to-back and still have two more before the calendar turns to November.

Goalie Jimmy Howard said it reminds him of a college schedule -- "practice all week and play Friday-Saturday."

Well, the undefeated Red Wings (4-0-0) will play three games before this time next week, so they will start to enter our consciousness a little bit more. Maybe then we'll start to realize on a national level that Ian White appears to be a suitable replacement for Brian Rafalski, that Jiri Hudler is motivated and playing well, and that Nicklas Lidstrom still (we stress that word) hasn't lost a step.

The Wings play Saturday at Washington. The NHL Network will have it live at 7 p.m. ET. It could be a clash of undefeated teams.

#WillItBeNabbysNet?

With four games in the next week, including a home-and-home with Pittsburgh, Evgeni Nabokov should get a chance to prove himself to Islanders coach Jack Capuano, and potentially give him a lot to think about before he pencils in his starting goalie.

Nabokov at least earned himself another start (and won over the hearts of some Islanders fans) with his solid performance in a 4-2 win against the rival Rangers on Saturday.

Let's not rule out the possibility that by this time next week Nabokov is the Islanders' No. 1 goalie. Rick DiPietro's injury situation is fluid and unstable, and Al Montoya never has proven he can handle a major workload in the NHL.

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
Quote of the Day

My job was to get that puck and put it on net, and his job was not letting me do it. I got the best of that, but that game's over and to be honest I already forgot about it.

— Canadiens forward Alex Galchenyuk on his late game-tying goal in Montreal's 2-1 OT win
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