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Drouin-Deslauriers gives Edmonton another capable goalie

by Brian Compton /
A few thoughts while I wonder if John Madden got those eyebrows by shaving his cat:

He's ready
-- With Dwayne Roloson and Mathieu Garon already in the mix, it's hard to see Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers sticking with the club long-term -- barring a trade, of course.
But the 24-year-old rookie certainly appears ready for full-time work in the NHL.
Drouin-Deslauriers stopped 37 of 38 shots Sunday night, leading the Oilers to a 2-1 victory against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center. It was quite the performance by the 2002 second-round pick, given that it was just his second start in the League.
“I kind of knew what to expect,” said Drouin-Deslauriers, who won his NHL debut Oct. 17 at Calgary. “The first one is always something new. It’s always something special. You think you know what to expect, but it’s always an unreal feeling.”
Drouin-Deslauriers was sensational throughout, especially in the second period. Twenty of his 37 saves came in the middle 20 minutes, when he stopped Dainius Zubrus twice and made a glove save on Johnny Oduya’s shot from the blue line to preserve a 1-0 advantage.
“I thought he played well for them,” Devils coach Brent Sutter said. “We had some quality scoring chances here. I thought he made some good saves and played pretty solid for them.”
His own coach agreed.
"I thought he played very well," Edmonton's Craig MacTavish said. "He faced 37 or 38 shots and just looked solid. There were lots of point shots and he was just in the right spot. He didn't look at all nervous and he looked very composed. He made a lot of big saves."
But with Garon and Roloson -- NHL veterans -- already in the fold, will the Oilers make room for their third goalie, one who has won his first 2 starts in the League?
“I try to not focus on that,” Drouin-Deslauriers said. “I try to focus on what I can control. I prepare myself like I’m playing every night even if I’m not.”

Home cookin' -- With each passing home game, the United Center is becoming a more intimidating place to play in the NHL.
The Chicago Blackhawks continue to cruise in the Windy City, as they pummeled the Calgary Flames by a 6-1 score Sunday. Six players enjoyed multi-point nights, helping Chicago improve to 6-0-2 at home.
Chicago (7-3-3) is also off to its best start since 2001-02 — the last time it made the playoffs.
“It was a dangerous game coming into it,” Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. “We were strong. I like how we looked.”
He also must have liked the scene that unfolded 54 seconds into the third period, when captain Jonathan Toews scored his first goal of the season. Obviously, the hope is it's the first of many.
“It’s a good feeling,” Toews said. “I’ve been telling myself that the team’s playing great, and that’s the most important thing. If we were losing and things weren’t going well as a team, there’d be a little bit more pressure when pucks aren’t going in, but they did tonight. Hopefully, that means there are going to be a lot more to come.”

Craig adds to his list -- Another game, another impressive performance by Florida Panthers backup goalie Craig Anderson.
The 27-year-old was phenomenal Sunday night, as he made 44 saves and shut out the Anaheim Ducks for the final 58 minutes in Florida's 2-1 victory at the Honda Center.
It marked the second time this season that Anderson has won in a 40-plus save effort. He stopped 42 pucks in a 3-1 victory at Ottawa on Oct. 22.
''You have to give a lot of credit to Anderson,'' said Ducks forward Corey Perry, who scored his team's lone goal at 1:41 of the opening period. ''We were in front of him and banging away, but he laid his pads on the ice. A lot of pucks just kept bouncing off his pads and then he covered them up. It's just one of those nights where it just didn't go in the net for us.''
That happens a lot when Anderson is on the other side of the ice. After all, he did register a .935 save percentage in 17 games for the Panthers last season. While tomas Vokoun is an All-Star goalie, perhaps it's time to give No. 31 some more playing time?
"It was desperation, just reacting without thinking about what you're doing," Anderson said after Sunday's win. "Whatever it takes to stop the puck."
Young guns -- When the Phoenix Coyotes acquired Olli Jokinen on the first night of the 2008 Draft in Ottawa, the belief was that he would help the younger players in Phoenix along in their careers.
Not only is Jokinen doing that, but he's having a heck of a campaign himself thus far.
Jokinen had 3 points on Sunday night (2 goals), as the Coyotes picked up a gritty 4-2 win against the San Jose Sharks at Arena. The victory pushed Phoenix above the .500 mark (7-6-0).
''We believe 5-on-5 we can play against any team in this League,'' said Jokinen, who now has 7 goals this season. ''We need to get better every day.''
"He faced 37 or 38 shots and just looked solid. There were lots of point shots and he was just in the right spot. He didn't look at all nervous and he looked very composed. He made a lot of big saves." -- Oilers coach Craig MacTavish on goalie Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers
Jokinen's first goal of the night erased a 2-1 deficit. The go-ahead goal came from second-year pro Peter Mueller, who is just one of the club's bright young stars.
''It shows the character of this team,'' Mueller said of the rally. ''We wanted this win really bad and that's what we did.''

"This inconsistant play is driving me crazy!..."


"After today’s 5-2 'thrashing' at the hands of Atlanta..."

Reason to believe -- After a very bumpy start, the Atlanta Thrashers are starting to pick up steam.
Marty Reasoner's performance Sunday afternoon was another indication of that, as his pair of goals helped the Thrashers extend their winning streak to 4 games in a 5-2 victory at Carolina.
It was also Atlanta's second straight road win after the team dropped its first 6 contests away from Philips Arena. The Thrahsers will look to make it 5 in a row Friday night at home against Carolina.
''Our team, we feel if we keep playing hard and don't get too crazy taking chances, we know we will get our own chances,'' Reasoner said. ''We've been able to come back from some deficits the last few games and we are believing in ourselves.''

Contact Brian Compton at:
Material from wire services and team websites was used in this report.

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