Friday, October 14, 2011

A Knockout And A Beatdown

It was a busy night in the NHL and there was certainly a lot to talk about when all 10 games wrapped up. But the games that had the most tongues wagging were the Pittsburgh Penguins vs Washington Capitals and the Calgary Flames vs Montreal Canadiens.

The Pens-Caps game got of to a quick start when James Neal drew first blood for the home team and got the Consol Energy Center roaring. But the crowd was silenced in the second when Mike Knuble evened up the scoreboard, and early in the third Pittsburgh's Public Enemy No. 1 Alex Ovechkin scored the go-ahead goal to bring the tally to 2-1 Washington.
The highlight of the game, which was more of a lowlight in actuality, was the FIGHT between Arron Asham and Jay Beagle. After roughing up Kris Letang hard enough to send Letang’s helmet flying, Beagle found himself squaring off in a fight with Asham. It was a fairly good tilt until Asham KO’d Beagle, then skated off to the box while making a ‘sleeper’ motion as if to taunt Beagle for passing out. The incident caused an uproar; later Asham admitted that the gesture was classless and apologized for it.
After 16 scoreless minutes, Neal got himself a tying powerplay goal to prevent the game from ending in regulation. The extra frame saw Dennis Wideman shoot a wrister to beat Brent Johnson. But it wasn't all bad for the Penguins; the extra point they earned kept them atop the Eastern Conference in standings, and today it was officially announced that captain Sidney Crosby has finally been cleared for contact.

In their home opener, the Montreal Canadiens hosted the Calgary Flames, and in the first 5 minutes of the game the Habs’ Andrei Kostitsyn threw a goal past Miikka Kiprusoff. Considering how the Flames had been playing of late, this early goal was almost unanimously thought of as an indication of how the rest of the game was going to play out.
But something sparked the Flames and there was an offensive explosion shortly after, with 2 powerplay goals by Rene Bourque and Niklas Hagman, and a pretty wristshot from David Moss.
The Flames padded their lead in the following period, thanks to Bourque’s second of the night, and despite a flurry of chances, the Habs could not beat Kiprusoff, who made several amazing saves in the third, particularly one complete robbery of a shot by Habs captain Brian Gionta.
At the sound of the buzzer, the final score was 4-1 for the Flames. With their first win of the season, the Flames hope to gain momentum and start climbing the ranks of the Western Conference, where they are currently second-last, just above the Columbus Blue Jackets.

There were 2 potential milestones to be reached in tonight’s game, involving both teams' goalies. If the Habs had won, Carey Price would have earned his 100th career win. But instead it was Miikka Kiprusoff who made his mark, surpassing Mike Vernon for the franchise record with 263 wins.

Pittsburgh Penguins vs Washington Capitals, October 13th, 2011

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