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Opening night live-blog, part 2: the early games

by Dave Lozo /
It's been a while since we have had ourselves had a live-blog. How have you been? Nice summer? Mine was OK. Want to compare vacation photos? Yeah, me neither. I'd rather just watch some hockey tonight and make snarky comments about players while I'm on my couch and nowhere near a locker room. It's safe, warm, and if I have a beer while watching a game at home, I get way less stares than when I'm doing keg stands on press row.

We've got three games tonight -- Canadiens-Leafs and Flyers-Bruins at 7, then Penguins-Canucks at 10. Before all that, NHL Network is having a four-hour (!) pre-game extravaganza starring Kevin Weekes and ... I'm not sure, really. As long as you have Weekes, everything else doesn't matter, right? But everyone will be in Boston for the banner raising, which I imagine will be a swell time of fun and happiness for people at TD Garden.

The Canadiens and Leafs game should be interesting. This may surprise people, but hockey is wildly popular in Canada, and the Canadiens and Leafs have a lot of fans who take things very seriously. I'm picking the Canadiens to reach the Cup Final and the Leafs and to make the playoffs, so in my mind, this is a heck of a matchup. I don't so much care what you think of it, but you should watch so you can at least following along with my jokes. I'm a joke maker.

Then at 10, Pens-Canucks. Fun. Sidney Crosby isn't back, but Evgeni Malkin is. The Canucks have waited about three months for a chance to wash the taste of losing to the Bruins out of their mouth, and the Penguins are the Listerine in this metaphor. It's a potential Cup Final preview on opening night. You can't ask for much more than that. Well, you can ask, but this is all you're getting. Man, you're greedy.

So here we go:

12:54 -- Well, that shootout lacked drama. Two calm saves for Fleury, two goals by Letang and Malkin where Luongo wound up on his stomach. Pens win 4-3, I'm going to sleep, take good care.

12:48 -- We are through OT and headed to a shootout. Daniel Sedin nearly won it in the first minute, but Fleury held his post on a tricky move from behind the net by Sedin.

12:37 --
Cody Hodgson beats Fleury, but it goes through the goalie's legs and just wide. With 75 seconds left, it looks like OT is inevitable.

12:34 -- We're still tied at 3, but Jordan Staal just left the ice and went to the locker room. Could be an injury, could be equipment. Stay tuned.

12:17 -- Henrik with just a sick pass to Daniel, who goes high glove to tie it. It was so sick that doctors would've given that pass a week to live. That's how sick it was.

12:15 -- Third period has gotten going at Rogers, but my Internet isn't getting wonky, like Paris Hilton's eye. I had a great thing before I wrote, but the site timed out. Oh well. 3-2 Pens in the third!

11:47 -- Keith Ballard has pulled the Canucks to within a goal as the second period winds down. Fleury had no chance as the Sedins get the assists.

11:19 -- I wrote this funny entry after Cooke scored his second of the game, a shorthanded goal, but there was an error message and it got erased. So this is all you get.

10:55 -- One period done, and it's 2-1 Pens. Definitely the most fun game of the night so far. It looked like the Canucks tied on a shot that Fleury gloved but the momentum of the shot took his trapper into the net. However, video replays were inconclusive. It looked like it crossed the line completely to me, but "it looked like" isn't conclusive. As in, it looked like I was going to become a professional baseball player, but replays showed conclusively I wasn't that good.

10:48 -- Maxim Lapierre keeps this game's theme going, as he slides the puck from behind the goal line and banks it off Marc-Andre Fleury and into the net. Good lord. This is a goaltending clinic. You know, the part of the clinic where you show goalies what not to do on shots from behind the goal line.

10:42 -- Matt Cooke, kind of like Michelle Branch, is everywhere to me. He draws the penalty on the first goal, scores the power-play goal on the next PP. And the beauty is he's on my fantasy team. And that's why I drafted him. Power play goals. Right. Sure. 2-0 Pens.

10:35 -- As I weep for men everywhere while I watch a Weight Watches for men ad, the Pens are going on a power play after Jannik Hansen hit Zbynek Michalek from behind. Let's see if Luongo can defend the bank shot.

10:25 -- It took about 5 minutes for the James Neal to get his first goal and Roberto Luongo to let up a goal from behind the goal line. Neal banked it off the goaltender on the power play after Matt Cooke drew -- yes, drew -- a penalty. I don't think anyone will be pumping Lu's tires after that one.

10:17 -- At long last, the Pens and Canucks are under way. I'm glad this game is on by itself. I think it'll be the best one of the night.

9:59 -- The Flyers are going to hang on after the Bruins nearly tie it on a power play, but Kimmo Timonen made a stick save with a gaping net. Bryzgalov was great, the Bruins were asleep at the wheel for about a period, and it was enough to cost them the opener. Pens-Canucks is just a few minutes away, which will be nice because focusing on two games is hard. I know, I know. I'm a true hero, finding a way to watch two hockey games at once.

9:45 -- The Toronto Maple Leafs are the best team in the NHL. Leafs 2, Canadiens 0. Reimer held the fort in the first period and it seemed to deflate the Canadiens, who looked pretty awful the final two periods. My apologies now to Habs fans for picking them to come out of the East.

9:28 -- The Bruins have a little more energy in the third, but it appears that Cup hangover has settled in immediately. Missed passes, offsides, no one is skating. Meanwhile, the Leafs are settling in and are less than 10 minutes from having the most points in the NHL. Good for you, Toronto.

9:17 --
Phaneuf unleashed an absolute one-time bomb over the shoulder of Price that makes it 2-0. It all started with a turnover by Subban in the neutral zone and ended after Kessel teed up Phaneuf. Lot of time left and the Leafs are giving away power plays.

9:05 -- The Bruins get a couple of PP chances late in the second period, but the Flyers are the ones that get all the scoring chances. They are through two in Boston and the champs are still down 2-1. On the bright side, the third period in Toronto is starting. I love when games sync up like this.

8:50 -- The Leafs take a 1-0 lead to the locker room after two periods. They had a lengthy 5-on-3 to close the period, but they seemed interested in skating around the neutral zone and not shooting. I thought they did an excellent job of killing off their power play. The addition of David Steckel is paying immediate dividends.

8:41 -- So both games are happening at the same time right now, and I've got no volume on the Versus game. I'm listening to the CBC guys. Chara just shoved Giroux face-first into the boards, and it looked like a case of OH MY GOD CHARA IS SO MUCH BIGGER THAN THAT GUY WHO IS QUICK AND JUMPED IN FRONT OF CHARA. Alas, Chara has gotten a penalty for that. In Toronto, the Leafs are dominating the second period. They've got a goal, a post, and Kessel hit something on a 2-on-1 when it looked like he opened up the net with an nifty move. I can't wait till these games are over so I can start being overly judgmental about these teams.

8:25 -- The Leafs are suddenly buzzing in the second period, taking the play to Montreal. Sources tell me Ron Wilson didn't say a word, he just tweeted things like, "Thinking about murdering someone on the bench. They have their backs to me, so they'll never see it coming." Twitter, there's nothing it can't do.

8:14 -- Matthew Lombardi, who missed all but two games of last season because of a concussion problem, scores a shorty to give the Leafs a 1-0 lead. That's a nice story. He could win the Masterton.

8:09 -- The Flyers just tied it on a beauty of a goal by Claude Giroux, then Jakub Voracek gives them the lead like 4 seconds later. Zdeno Chara was on the ice for both goals, although Giroux utterly undressed him on the first one. Both goals come in the final minute. I'm sure passing the Cup around before the game had nothing to do with it.

7:52 --
Brad Marchand has scored the first goal of the season. The Bruins have been clicking, while the Flyers have looked mostly like a team full of new players getting to know each other. It's all Montreal in Toronto, but no one has scored. It's tied at 0-0 after one period with the Habs starting the second period on a power play.

7:35 -- Anthem being sung in Boston. Leafs can't get out of their own zone in Toronto. Jaromir Jagr just turned 42.
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