Around The SE Div: Stumbling Kitties, Finnish 'Canes
With the season one week old, the Lightning stand at two and oh, with a tussle with the Philadelphia Flyers on tap tonight. The Lightning are living up to the advanced billing: they're showing themselves to be a fast, attacking team, playing a high-risk, high reward system. So far so good, right?
And how are the other teams in the fearsome South East Division holding up? We've had some drama already, with Atlanta's Ondrej Pavelec suffering a fainting spell only minutes into their season opener, and receiving a concussion, presumably from falling flat on his back. We also have a team in the Carolina Hurricanes that hasn't played a game in North America this season, after starting the campaign in Europe against the Minnesota Wild. In Washington Ovie is doing what he does best (scoring) and the Panthers are on the road doing what they do best (losing).
More after the jump.
Atlanta Thrashers: As mentioned, the Thrashers lost their starting goaltender in their season opener against Washington before he even had a shot taken against him. Luckily they signed a pretty good backup during the offseason, and Chris Mason stepped in a got the win over the Caps. Players on both teams admitted to being shaken by Pavelec's fall. The Thrashers didn't carry any momentum out of the game however, and have since fallen 5-3 to Tampa. They fell 3-1 to the Kings to open a California road trip. Evander Kane and Chris Thorburn have each potted a pair of goals so far for the Thrashers.
Carolina Hurricanes: The 'Canes opened the season in Finland, picking up a pair of wins over the Minnesota Wild, winning 4-3 and 2-1. As usual when a team opens in Europe, Carolina has since had a long break, while the players readjust to North American time. They'll play in Ottawa tonight. Cam Ward had a .944 save percentage in picking up the two wins, while ex-Bolt Jussi Jokinen (1 G, 2 A) and Brandon Sutter (2 G) provided the scoring.
Florida Panthers: The Cats have opened the season with a road swing through Western Canada, dropping their first two games to the Oilers and Canucks, 3-2 and 2-1 respectively. New Panther Marty Reasoner provided both goals in the loss to Edmonton. The Cats will try to get their first road win of the season tonight in Calgary before hosting the Lightning for their home opener on Saturday night.
Washington Capitals: Call the first game a blip. After losing their season opener in Atlanta, the Caps have done just what everyone expected them to do this season (until playoffs time, anyway): win. They blasted the crap out of New Jersey, thumping them 7-2 in Washington just 24 hours after the loss in Atlanta. One-goal wins against the Senators and Islanders have followed. And that nice Ovechkin fellow? He has four goals and seven points after those first four games. I think he's going to do all right this year.
(Nolan Whyte blogs about the Lightning at Frozen Sheets Hockey.)