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JJ’s Three Cheers: 10/15/10, Plus a Look Around the Southeast this Weekend

Today’s three cheers, bestowed upon those who excelled for their clubs in action yesterday:

***Cheers to Nashville’s Steve Sullivan, who had a pair of the three first period goals for his club, en route to a 4-3 Predators win. Sullivan had a chance to complete the rare single stanza hat trick in the waning seconds of the first but was denied on a breakaway by Jaroslav Halak in the St. Louis net.

**Cheers to Florida’s Tomas Vokoun, who shut out the Calgary Flames to lead his club to their first victory of the year. Radek Dvorak scored twice for Florida and Shawn Matthias – whom I’ve dubbed a potential breakout player to watch for the young Panthers – added this doozy to seal the 3-0 Panther win. Calgary has now been shut out twice in three games this season.

*And big time cheers to Minnesota’s Mikko Koivu, who tied the game on the power play late in the second period and then gave his club the lead on another Wild man advantage less than a minute later. The Minnesota captain added an assist in the third, again on the power play, as the Wild topped the Edmonton Oilers 4-2.

Should we point out yet that Steven Stamkos’ four goals to this point this season has him on pace for 109 this year? Okay, maybe that’s taking things just a bit too far but cheers to Stamkos as well for not missing a beat in the early-going this season after last year’s 51-goal campaign, particularly when expectations are to the moon after that magic of a year ago. What’s most encouraging about Stamkos’ early season performance to this point? How about the hard work nature of three of his four tallies so far? His two goals in the opener came with his back to the net and last night’s marker was finished right in front of the crease. The one-timer from the top of the circle may be his trademark but the kid is showing a knack for scoring from the “tougher” areas as well. That’s not good news for Tampa Bay’s opponents. And the Lightning’s 3-0-0 start isn’t half bad either.

A Mike Fisher power play goal late in the third spoiled a Hurricanes rally sparked by the returning Sergei Samsonov and the Ottawa Senators prevailed over Carolina 3-2. Eric Staal also scored for the ‘Canes, who dropped their first decision of the season after back-to-back wins over Minnesota in Prague. Next up for Carolina are the Canucks in Vancouver on Sunday night.

Dominic Moore’s second period score broke a 1-1 tie in Philadelphia as the Lightning celebrated Simon Gagne’s first game against his former club with a 3-2 win over the Flyers. Stamkos’ fourth of the young season opened the scoring and defenseman Pavel Kubina notched the first goal of his second tour of duty with Tampa Bay to cap the offensive output for the Bolts. Goaltender Dan Ellis, in his first start of the season, made 24 saves to earn the win – his first in a Lightning uniform. Gagne, pointless so far this year, was named first star of the game, in a nice touch from the local media. With the emotional return to Philly now behind him, some points on the board are sure to follow.

The first win of the season for Florida last night sets up an intriguing matchup Saturday, when the Lightning and Panthers meet in Sunrise. The unbeaten Bolts will be flying high after a stellar start to their three-game road trip but would be wise not to overlook their cross-state foes in their home opener. I’ll have a feature up on the status of this “rivalry” (or lack thereof) before tomorrow night’s game.

Tonight, Atlanta’s west coast swing continues in Anaheim and the Thrashers could really use a win. After doubling up Washington in an emotional home opener where the Thrashers overcame the loss of goaltender Ondrej Pavelec, Atlanta has dropped two straight to Tampa Bay and Los Angeles. The Ducks are fresh off of their first win of the season, in which their big guns – forwards Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Bobby Ryan all came alive – and are looking to build momentum. It’s off to San Jose tomorrow for the Thrashers before returning home for a midweek tilt with Buffalo, so things aren’t getting any easier any time soon.

And the Washington Capitals visit Nashville to face the Predators on Saturday as well to round out this weekend’s Southeast Division action. The defending Southeast champs could get goaltender Semyon Varlamov back against the Preds, as he is said to be close to returning from a groin problem.

Happy weekend to all.

JJ on Twitter
The Bolts Beat podcast archive

Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: bobby+ryan, corey+perry, dan+ellis, dominic+moore, eric+staal, mike+fisher, mikko+koivu, ondrej+pavelec, pavel+kubina, radek+dvorak, ryan+getzlaf, sergei+samsonov, shawn+matthias, simon+gagne, simon+gagne, steve+sullivan, steven+stamkos, tomas+vokoun


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About Kukla's Korner Hockey

Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com


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