Some random thoughts before I congratulate Martin Brodeur
on his first assist of the season:
Not-So-Grand Opening -- This was not what Curtis Joseph had in mind when he signed with the Calgary Flames.
Making his season debut, Joseph was peppered early and often by the Edmonton Oilers in a 5-0 loss at Rexall Place. Joseph allowed all five goals on 28 shots.
"I would have liked to have come out of the first with nothing against," said Joseph, who allowed a pair of tallies in the opening period. "That gave them some life, you could tell. As a goaltender, you want to make the big saves."
It was a gritty win for the Oilers, who found out earlier in the day Shawn Horcoff would be lost for the remainder of the season due to a shoulder injury. With Horcoff out, the all-hands-on-deck approach takes full effect.
"It's a game we needed and points that we needed," Jarret Stoll said. "On the day that (Horcoff) made it official that he's gone for the season, it shows that we're not going to give up. The organization has never had that reputation anyways, and in some ways, we proved that tonight. We have the guys in here to win games and we feel we can do that. There are teams ahead of us that we feel we are better than and we have to catch them."
Three’s Company -- Looks like the race for the Atlantic Division title is going to go down to the wire.
After a lackluster 40 minutes, the New Jersey Devils finally got things going in the third period and went on to beat the Pittsburgh Penguins in overtime by a 4-3 score Monday night at the Prudential Center.
Zach Parise – who had a three-point night and notched the winning goal – admitted afterward that Devils coach Brent Sutter was none too pleased with his team’s performance through two periods.
“It’s really big,” Parise said. “Going into the third period, we hadn’t gotten a lot generated. We kind of got yelled at in between periods, but we definitely responded and took that game over in the third.”
With the Penguins also getting a point in the standings, New Jersey and Pittsburgh both have 63 points, along with the Philadelphia Flyers. The road team had won an NHL-record tying nine straight in this series, including the first five this season, with New Jersey winning three times in Pittsburgh. The Penguins extended the run last Tuesday by beating the Devils, 4-2, at The Rock.
Finally, the home team won. It sure didn’t seem like that was going to happen after 40 minutes, when New Jersey only had 14 shots on goal.
“It was a matter of us not competing hard,” Parise said. “We weren’t winning battles, and Coach made us pretty aware of that. It was amazing how we came out in the third, and we started to win everything. We started to win races to the pucks. It makes a big difference.”
Fit To Be Tied -- Another huge road victory has Wayne Gretzky’s Phoenix Coyotes tied for eighth place in the Western Conference.
Radim Vrbata’s second goal of the night – the first one tied the game late in the third period – gave the Coyotes a thrilling 4-3 win over the Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center. The victory pulled the Coyotes even with the Nashville Predators in the standings.
“We’re going to hang around,” Gretzky said. “The goal here is to keep improving and win as many games as we can.”
As if the loss wasn’t enough, Colorado now has to deal with the fact that it has just three home games remaining this month. The Avalanche are 18-8-2 on home ice, good for the second-best record in the League behind the Detroit Red Wings.
Obviously, Joel Quenneville’s injury-depleted team is going to have to be creative over the next three weeks if it hopes to stay in the playoff hunt. It’ll certainly need more games like the one it received on Monday night from T.J. Hensick, who scored twice in the loss.
"The opportunity is there for me with all these injuries," Hensick said. "I'm getting time on the power play. It's exciting getting two goals in each of these last two games."
Contact Brian Compton at: firstname.lastname@example.org.