In the second run of Rapid Fire, Steve Goldstein takes his shot at the five things he's thinking about after Wednesday's play around the NHL. Regular-Season Thriller:
Buffalo-Colorado, two teams desperate for a win, played one of the best regular season games I've seen in a while. They went back and forth, with the Avs scoring with one second left to send the game into overtime. Colorado won the shootout and helped out the Panthers! The Avs have the NHL's most underrated player in rookie Gabriel Landeskog. The teenager plays like a 30-year-old. Burn, Bergie, Burn: Sean Bergenheim
has been super for the Panthers and may just be scratching the surface. He has a career-high 16 goals this season. Bergenheim is a former first round pick, is still young and may be a victim of not being given enough opportunity in the past. His style has been fun to watch. as the Cats have needed a productive, hard nosed, hard skating forward like Bergenheim for years. Mixin' It Up:
I loved the Panthers effort in the physical department against Toronto. We expect Krys Barch to throw down, but Shawn Matthias
? It was great to see him stick up for a teammate and drop the gloves. Matthias showed, as Kevin Dineen told me after the game, that he "gets it", meaning it's important to respond to hits on teammates. How many times over the years has a Panther gotten crushed, (think David Booth), and no one did a thing. Refreshing to see! Champs On The Ropes:
So here come the Bruins tonight, off a 6-1 loss in Tampa. Boston has allowed the game's first goal in nine of its last 11 and amazingly in its last 29 games hasn't had a lead after two periods 24 times. The meaning of all that? NOTHING heading into tonight's game. In fact, I expect an angry, physical, inspired Bruins team tonight. They are still the Champs until another team hoists the Stanley Cup. The Panthers are 1-1-1 vs the Bruins this season. Sid Returns:
The drama tonight in New York will be high as the Penguins and Rangers, who dislike one another and are battling for the division and the East's top seed, meet at Madison Square Garden. Sidney Crosby , again, returns to the Penguins lineup as the Pens go for a 10th win in a row. It's remarkable to think what they have done without him playing and it should be a great matchup tonight. The Rangers lead Pittsburgh by four points and the two teams still have another game to play against each other. As a hockey fan it is great to have #87 back playing again. Here's hoping he stays on the ice this time around.