Thursday, January 24, 2013
Need to know: Good news, bad news night
By Scott Burnside
--It was a night of triumph and pain for the Toronto Maple Leafs as they thumped the previously undefeated Pittsburgh Penguins 5-2 Wednesday night, ruining the Pens’ home opener. James van Riemsdyk, a key offseason acquisition, scored his first two goals of the season for the 2-1 Leafs but they lost Joffrey Lupul indefinitely to a broken forearm, courtesy of an errant Dion Phaneuf shot. Also noteworthy for the Leafs, who were coming off a tough 2-1 loss to Buffalo, was the play of James Reimer, who got his first start in goal and first win of the season.
--The big boys finally got it together for the New York Rangers as Marian Gaborik netted a hat trick, including the overtime winner as the Rangers collected their first win of the season, 4-3 over the Boston Bruins, who had spanked the Rangers in the season opener in Boston on Saturday. Rangers coach John Tortorella, looking for a spark after his team started 0-2, threw Gaborik together with newcomer Rick Nash and Brad Richards. The trio combined for three goals and two assists and Gaborik’s winner was a thing of beauty, as he batted his rebound out of the air past Tuukka Rask just 27 seconds into extra play.
--Another triumph mixed with concern dynamic at play, this time in Phoenix, where the Coyotes earned their first win of the season thanks in large part to a Steve Sullivan hat trick, as the Yotes whipped Columbus 5-1. But the Coyotes lost the services of starting netminder Mike Smith, who left the game during a commercial break after playing just 11 minutes. Smith -- who is listed as day-to-day with what was termed by a team official to ESPN.com as a "minor" injury -- was replaced by Jason LaBarbera, who got the win. Defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson had two goals and an assist for Phoenix. Former rookie of the year Steve Mason took the loss in his first start of the season for the 1-1-1 Blue Jackets, giving up five goals on 42 shots.
--Vancouver fans are breathing a little easier after Cory Schneider rebounded from a ghastly opening-night performance to backstop the Canucks (1-1-1) to their first win of the season, 3-2 in a shootout over the Calgary Flames. Schneider, the heir to the Canucks' goaltending throne, was solid, stopping 34 of 36 shots and then blocking four of five shootout attempts. The 0-2-1 Flames, meanwhile, continue to struggle, although the shootout loss did represent the team’s first point of the season.