Malkin came out in the first minute and hit the crossbar. He finished the game with 2 assists and continues to lead the NHL in scoring. He also apparently bought himself a house somewhere in Pittsburgh and is gaining confidence in speaking English. I remember reading that it "really takes two or three years" to adjust to North America for European players, according to Slava Fetisov. He also was nailed with a ridiculous tripping minor which prompted the Carolina color guy to say "That's what would make me choose Crosby over Malkin"... Unless of course you have both locked into long-term contracts and they're either laying down roots or living with a certain legend who happens to own a killer wine cellar.
Peter Sykora has never scored a hat trick in his career, and he again finished with a brace tonight. He had an opportunity to score essentially into an open net but Joe Corvo got a stick check to connect, thwarting Syko. His wrister was a thing of beauty, floating inevitably into the far corner against the grain. The second goal was pretty much exactly how Miro Satan scored; a slick reverse-toe drag around Carolina goalie Michael Leighton's butterfly and into the traffic crashing the net.
Ruuuuuslan Fedotenko scored an NHL 09 goal where the goalie drops the puck and you poke-check it in, only Fedo went naked skeleton on Leighton and, with a sweep check, sent renewed Carolina coach Paul Maurice into cardiac arrest.
Then there was former Penguin Jo Melichar. You know, every so often a Pens defender suddenly and inexplicably sours. It happened to Brad Werenka, it happened to Hans Jonsson. It certainly happened to Melichar, who, when faced with the most bizarre and puzzling back pass from a changing teammate, found himself watching Sid and Pascal Dupuis take off with the puck alone on goal. I audibly said "What the hell are they doing" before celebrating the assured goal.
Did Pesonen touch the puck at all tonight? I seem to remember him getting run over and taking off for the attacking zone too soon a few times, and little else. He clearly has good hands and instincts, so I'm pulling for him to find some rhythm and impose himself on the game in Ottawa.
I then quickly checked out the Red Wings game. They were quite busy scoring many goals on Vancouver and displaying incredible scoring depth. Since the jersey numbers aren't all that sharp, I kept confusing Wings' depth guys with All-Stars. Tomas Kopecky? Who the hell is that? I thought it was Hossa several times, as he wears #82 and looks the shit.
I am in the San Jose market, so I flipped that game on. These guys think Joe Thornton is the best player in the NHL, and they've a right to their opinion. Joe is finally driving the net under their new coach instead of watching all those passes from the corner. He proceeded to bat a puck into the net out of the air for the winner. Nabokov is stellar. He challenges roughly 3 feet out from the crease, but is capable of making reaction saves like Leafs-era CuJo. San Jose has some impressive depth at forward, and they're all gigantic. They allow room for little worms like Roenick to cruise into the slot and roof PP goals, and their defence occupies the #2, 3, 11, and 12th spots on the scoring list. They're undefeated at home, rock a 22-3-1 record, and the goal difference is staggering. 100 scored, 61 allowed. They're 26 games into the season.
We've alternated wins and losses for some 9 games, so lets go to Ottawa and embarrass them. Heatley is going to score on us, he always does, but otherwise I think its a good idea to hit them mercilessly and play an ugly road game. If Ottawa turns the puck over like Carolina did (and they will), I expect to be in control of the game roughly half way through. I can only hope for more vintage Spezza no-look saucer passes. Go Pens.