(credit: The Tennessean)
Hello folks. Here's our thoughts as Week 2 comes to a conclusion:
How about those Nashville Predators?
Granted, it's early in the season and the team's mettle hasn't been tested against enough Cup Contenders (they didn't fare well in their 3-0 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins), but the fact that the Predators are first in a division that's home to the Chicago Blackhawks, Minnesota Wild, and St. Louis Blues is noteworthy it its own right. Part of this has been due to the inspired play of Pekka Rinne (who's returned to his usual self after a lackluster 2013-14 season), but also due to the play of newcomers James Neal and Mike Ribiero (hey, if you have two teams paying you to play, you gotta pull your weight, right?) If the team can keep up this torrid production until Mike Fisher returns from injury, the playoffs will be a lock for the Music City.
(credit: Yahoo! Sports/Getty Images)
Bad Week For elite NHL defensemen.
It's been a tough break for a few high-caliber NHL defensemen this week. Emerging Penguins defensive stud Olli Maatta will need surgery to remove a tumor from his neck. While he's expected to play the next three games with the team, he will be out indefinitely following surgery (he should, however, make a full recovery.) Tough break to be sure, seeing as how Maatta was on par to have a more successful sophomore campaign than he did as a rookie (which is rare when you consider how often the "sophomore slump" rears it's ugly head.) Further more, Zdeno Chara will be out 4-6 weeks after a knee injury, which throws another curveball at an embattled Boston Bruins squad (who are in danger of being leapfrogged by everyone in their division save the Buffalo Sabres.) Though the Penguins will hope that Maatta comes back sooner than later, the Bruins are in dire need of their blueliners to step it up in Chara's absence if they even want to think about making the playoffs.
Anaheim Ducks Don't Like Losing, But Jon Scott Will Be Sitting
We weren't lying when we said that the San Jose Sharks were the toughest squad this season. It should also go without saying that the Anaheim Ducks, despite having a now 7-2 record, don't take losing rather well. As the game got out of the Ducks' hands for what would eventually become a 4-0 victory for the Sharks, things took a decided turn for the worse. Sharks enforcer Jon Scott ended up leaving the bench during a legal line change to start an altercation, which has him sitting at home suspended for the next two games (the Ducks, however, lost Ben Lovejoy for up to two months with a broken hand.) Since we know our readers wanna see the fisticuffs, here's the fighting in all it's glory.
Can The Dallas Stars Win Without Kari Lehtonen?
Though six games played, Lehtonen has managed to carve out a 4-0-2 record, but his individual stats are sort of pedestrian (2.74 GAA, .915 save percentage.) The real concern, however, is what should happen if he's forced out of the lineup for any extended period of time. So far in two appearances, backup Anders Lindback suffered through two losses and posted both a 4.56 GAA and a .850 save percentage. Though the season's still early and Lindback could find a rhythm, he wasn't dominant when he played for the Tampa Bay Lightning and may have only done well as a product of the Nashville Predators's system. Lehtonen suffered concussion issues during the preseason, so the team will need to make his health a priority if they're to have repeat playoff appearances in April.
Goal Of The Week:
Never say die...
And for a bonus...