Only two games in Hockeyland last night, but what games they were...
Rangers 3 @ Devils 2
New Jersey scores just 1:10 into the game, and Blueshirts' coach John Tortorella uses his only timeout fourteen seconds later to (stealing a line from A Christmas Story here) weave a tapestry of obscenity for (at) his team. The wakeup call was just what New York needed: They went 2-for-6 on the Power Play en route to a 3-2 win at the Rock.
Impressions: First, I have DirecTV, so my impressions are based on highlights and game recaps (dammit). Second, I'm a big fan of Torts' timeout tirade. Obviously, it was effective. Third...the RANGERS scored TWO Power Play Goals? The RANGERS scored TWO Power Play Goals! Don't question it; just say, "Thank you", and move on. Fourth, rookie d-man Del Zotto has a PPG and a helper, and rookie d-man Gilroy scores the game-winner. It's early, but it feels good, baby.
Blue Jackets 5 @ Canucks 3
The Vancouver Canucks entered their home opener after losing to division-rival Calgary, 5-3, and getting smoked by Colorado(!?!?), 3-0. Chang (or is it Eng?) Sedin scores the game's first goal, and the crowd holsters their sidearms. Columbus ties the game in the final minute of the first period, then chases Roberto Luongo from the crease with three goals in under four minutes early in the middle frame. The Jackets then go into a defensive shell and wait for VAN to pull within one, which they do at 7:37 of the third. Columbus puts the game away with a PPG at 16:03, and Canucks fans are placed on suicide watch.
Impressions: First, I have the Center Ice package, so I DID get to watch this game. Second, the Blue Jackets' first PP of the game featured a plethora of what Donnie Shulzhoffer called "that tippy-tappy-tic-tack passing", which was quite pretty but ultimately pointless. Like Shulzhoffer, Jackets' coach Ken Hitchcock is not a fan of that sort of play, either, and he let his team know it: On subsequent Power Plays, Columbus simply moved the puck out to the point and let Tyutin put it on net, with good result. Third, I added Sergei Shirokov to my fantasy roster based on his pre-season greatness, but I found myself wondering if he was a healthy scratch until the third period. Fourth, if Columbus can play all season long with the combination of skill and grit they displayed last night, they WILL make some noise in the playoffs next April (and possibly May). Fifth, while I think it's far too early to panic in Vancouver, I'm wondering if management is considering Denis Savard-ing coach Alain Vigneault. Regardless, the Canucks as a whole (and Vigneault in particular) are now firmly planted on the hot seat...in early October.
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