NEW YORK – A light night of only three games in the N HL Monday night showcased some of the best talent the league has to offer this season. Three games resulted in three one-goal margins.
In Pittsburgh, the Avs came to town with a spotless road record while the Pens had not lost at home. For Colorado, Jean-Sebastien Giguere picked up his second shutout in his last three starts in blanking the Pens 1-0.
“[Semyon Varlamov] and I are working with a new goalie coach and Patrick, who is helping us, too,” Giguere said. “Altogether, I think we feel pretty good. It’s a new season, a new attitude all around. It’s a lot more positive.
“I would’ve believed being over .500, but maybe not 8-1.”
For the Avs the win was a great effort against a stellar team in Pittsburgh.
“For us, every win is important,” Avalanche coach Patrick Roy said. “This one is very special for us. It’s not very often we’re going to win in Pittsburgh [when] they had seven power plays. They are probably one of the best in the League, and they were moving the puck really well.
“Your goalie needs to be your best player in every situation, and [Giguere] was our best player.”
In Detroit, it took an extra session and a shootout to decide the match in favor of the Sharks as they downed the Red Wings 1-0. Logan Couture netted a goal in the shootout as San Jose continued its hot start to the campaign.
The Sharks are now 8-0-1 and the last NHL team without a loss in regulation. The game in Detroit, was the first of a four-game road swing that will test the Sharks and show what they are they are capable of doing this season.
“We scored a lot of goals in our first eight games. We’re not going to keep scoring like that,” Couture said.
Antti Niemi was credited with his 24th career shutout in the win. Jimmy Howard also was credited with a shutout in the SO loss, his 17th.
The LA Kings lost a disappointing home match to the Calgary Flames, 3-2. The Kings surrendered three power play goals including TJ Brodie’s goal with 30 seconds left in the game for the win.
“Big win for the boys,” Flames forward Mike Cammalleri said as Psy’s “Gangnam Style” blasted in Calgary’s locker room. “I thought we were quick on pucks and had some poise with it, but I think, maybe more importantly, there was a little bit of hunger, a little bit of a desire – kind of that intangible stuff that when you have it, the puck seems to will its way in sometimes.”
Anze Kopitar was in the box for Brodie’s goal.
“We definitely lost the special teams battles,” Kopitar said. “Usually when that happens, the outcome is not going to be very good, especially when it is by that big of a margin. We took some bad penalties, including myself. It was a stupid penalty on my part and shouldn’t have happened.”
San Jose 1, Detroit 0 (SO)
Colorado 1, Pittsburgh 0
Calgary 3, Los Angeles 2
GIGUERE HELPS MACKINNON, AVS WIN BATTLE OF COLE HARBOUR
Sidney Crosby and Nathan MacKinnon – the two biggest hockey stars from Cole Harbour, N.S. (population just over 25,000) – faced off for the first time in an NHL game, with MacKinnon and the Avalanche posting a 1-0 victory. However, it was Jean-Sebastien Giguere, who spent three years with the Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL) and lived with a billet family about six miles east of Cole Harbour, who stole the spotlight by making 34 saves for his second shutout in three starts this season.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Giguere is the first netminder in Avalanche/Nordiques history to record two blank sheets in his first three games of a season and only the second to do so in the last five seasons (Jaroslav Halak for the Blues in 2012-13). The earliest that Giguere registered his second shutout in any of his previous 15 NHL seasons was in his 12th game with the Ducks in 2008-09.
Giguere now has 38 career shutouts, seventh among active goaltenders and tied with Tom Barrasso and Sean Burke for 37th on the NHL’s all-time list. He recorded his most blank sheets in one season in 2002-03, when he posted eight shutouts for the Ducks en route to a trip to the Stanley Cup Final.
The duo of Giguere and Semyon Varlamov have combined for a 1.33 goals-against average and .961 save percentage through nine games, both tops in the NHL this season.
CROSBY, MACKINNON HELD SCORELESS
Sidney Crosby was held off the scoresheet for the first time this season, ending his season-opening point streak at a career-long eight games (7-10—17). Nathan MacKinnon also was held without a point, but recorded two shots on goal in 10:54 of ice-time.
There have been many similarities in how the pair made it to the NHL:
* Both attended prep school and played hockey at Shattuck-St. Mary’s in Minnesota.
* Both played in the Memorial Cup during their two-year stints in the QMJHL. Crosby’s Rimouski Oceanic lost in the championship game in 2005, while MacKinnon earned MVP honors in helping the Halifax Mooseheads win in 2013.
* Both were selected with the No. 1 overall pick in their respective draft years: Crosby in 2005 and MacKinnon in 2013.
NIEMI’S ACROBATIC SAVE HELPS SHARKS BEAT RED WINGS
Antti Niemi and Jimmy Howard combined to make 51 saves, plus another three in the shootout, as the Sharks edged the Red Wings 1-0. Logan Couture scored the lone goal, beating Howard in the second round of the tiebreaker.
Niemi made 24 saves, plus an acrobatic stop to clinch the shootout, in posting his 24th career shutout, all since October 2009. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the only other goaltender with as many shutouts over the last five seasons is Rangers netminder Henrik Lundqvist, who has 26. Niemi also became the second goaltender in Sharks history to record a regular-season shutout in Detroit, joining Evgeni Nabokov, who did so Dec. 20, 2000.
Howard made 27 saves for his 17th career shutout, tying Glenn Hall and Normie Smith for sixth on the Red Wings’ all-time list.
BRODIE BURNS KINGS
The Flames scored three power-play goals, including T.J. Brodie’s game-winner with 29.7 seconds remaining in regulation, to defeat the Kings 3-2. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Flames hadn’t scored a game-winning goal in the final 30 seconds of a third period since Jan. 3, 2009, when Todd Bertuzzi found the back of the net with 23.4 seconds remaining in a 3-2 victory over the Predators.
The goal was the fifth of Brodie’s 112-game NHL career and just his second via the power play. Three of Brodie’s five career goals have been game-winners, his most recent coming in a 6-3 victory over the Devils on Jan. 10, 2012.
Flames forward Jiri Hudler collected two assists and is the only remaining player who has recorded at least one point in all of his team’s games this season (4-7—11 in 8 GP). Sidney Crosby and Patrick Marleau also entered Monday with points in each of their first eight games, but were both held off the scoresheet.
AVALANCHE KEEP ROLLING
Colorado improved to 8-1-0, matching the club’s best start to any season in franchise history. The Nordiques also went 8-1-0 in their first nine games of the 1994-95 season, while the Avalanche recorded 16 points (7-0-2) through their opening nine contests in 2000-01.
Colorado also improved to 5-0-0 on the road; the team ranked last in the NHL in 2012-13 with a 4-16-4 record as visitors. Only three other teams – San Jose (3-0-1), Boston (3-0-0) and St. Louis (1-0-1) – have yet to suffer a regulation road loss this season.
WALKOM DISCUSSES HYBRID ICING
NHL Senior Vice President and Director of Officiating Stephen Walkom appeared on NHL on the Fly Monday to discuss various topics, including hybrid icing. The newly-approved icing rule, which can be found in the 2013-14 NHL Rule Book on NHL.com, was implemented for the start of the 2013-14 regular season.
Rule 81.1 – Icing now reads:
“For the purpose of this rule, the center red line will divide the ice into halves. Should any player of a team, equal or superior in numerical strength (power-play) to the opposing team, shoot, bat or deflect the puck from his own half of the ice beyond the goal line of the opposing team, play shall be stopped. For the purpose of deflected pucks, this only applies when the puck was originally propelled down the ice by the offending team.
“For the purpose of this rule, the point of last contact with the puck by the team in possession shall be used to determine whether icing has occurred or not. As such, the team in possession must ‘gain the line’ in order for the icing to be nullified. ‘Gaining the line’ shall mean that the puck, while on the player’s stick (not the player’s skate) must make contact with the center red line in order to nullify a potential icing.
“For the purpose of interpretation of the rule, there are two judgments required for ‘icing the puck.’ The linesman must first determine that the puck will cross the goal line. Once the linesman determines that the puck will cross the goal line, icing is completed upon the determination as to which player (attacking or defending) would first touch the puck. This decision by the linesman will be made the instant the first player reaches the end zone face-off dots with the player’s skate being the determining factor. Should the puck be shot down the ice in such a manner that it travels around the boards and/or back towards the end zone face-off dots, the same procedure shall be in effect in that the linesman shall determine within a similar distance as to who will have touched the puck first.
“For clarification, the determining factor is which player would first touch the puck, not which player would first reach the end zone face-off dots.
“If the race for the puck is too close to determine by the time the first player reaches the end zone face-off dots, icing shall be called.
“The puck striking or deflecting off an official does not automatically nullify a potential icing.”
Flames forward Mike Cammalleri recorded 1-1—2 in his season debut . . . Captain Gabriel Landeskog scored the lone tally in the Avalanche’s 1-0 victory . . . Rookie sensation Sean Monahan netted his sixth goal, giving him nine points through his first eight NHL games . . . Drew Doughty scored his 52nd career goal, tying Larry Murphy for sixth on the Kings’ all-time list for goals by a defenseman . . . The Sharks improved to 8-0-1, remaining the only team undefeated in regulation . . . The Avalanche denied all seven Penguins power-play opportunities to raise their penalty-kill success rate to 90.3%, second in the NHL . . . The Department of Player Safety suspended Avalanche forward Cody McLeod for five games, without pay, for boarding Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall . . . It also suspended Islanders forward Michael Grabner for two games, without pay, for an illegal check to head of Hurricanes forward Nathan Gerbe . . . The Sharks acquired forward Mike Brown from the Oilers in exchange for a fourth-round pick in the 2014 NHL Draft . . . Defenseman Roman Hamrlik announced his retirement from the NHL. The No. 1 overall selection by the Lightning in 1992, Hamrlik played in 1,395 regular-season games and 113 playoff contests with seven different teams over his 20-year NHL career.
SNEAK PEEK AT TUESDAY’S ACTION
All Times Eastern
Anaheim @ Toronto, 7:00 p.m., PRIME, SNET-O
Vancouver @ NY Islanders, 7:00 p.m., SNET-P, MSG PLUS
New Jersey @ Columbus, 7:00 p.m., MSG, FS-O
Edmonton @ Montreal, 7:30 p.m., RDS, SNET-W, TSN-HABS
Chicago @ Florida, 7:30 p.m., CSN-CH, FS-F
Nashville @ Minnesota, 8:00 p.m., NBCSN, TSN
Washington @ Winnipeg, 8:00 p.m., CSN-DC, TSN-JETS
Calgary @ Phoenix, 10:00 p.m., SNET-W, SNET-CGY, FS-A
SUTER FACES OLD TEAM
Defenseman Ryan Suter is expected to skate in his 600th NHL game when he and the Wild face the Predators, Suter’s former team, on a national telecast in both the U.S. and Canada. The seventh overall selection by Nashville in 2003, Suter played the first 542 games of his NHL career for the Predators, totaling 38-200—238 and a +43 rating, before signing with the Wild on July 4, 2012.
HOCKEY FIGHTS CANCER
The Wild and Jets host their Hockey Fights Cancer Awareness Nights Tuesday. For more information about Hockey Fights Cancer, as well as a team-by-team listing of Awareness Nights, click here.
With NHL press release