On the Ice

Steve O Speak

The NHL returned to the ice in a big way last night with a few interesting surprises:

Caps Silence the Bruins: The Washington Capitals spoiled the Boston Bruins home opener in a big way, with a 4-1 victory. Washington dominated from the opening face-off to the final minute of the game. Their defense limited the Bruins to just 20 shots on goal, impressive for a defensive unit usually known more for their offensive exploits than their defensive prowess. Its not as though the Bruins are a bad team either. They return the majority of the team that finished with the best regular season record in the Eastern Conference last season, and the team that is favored to win the Northeast division this season. The Caps last night though were the far superior team, and showed why they have the ability to challenge for the Stanley Cup this year. Despite losing two of their veteran 2nd tier scorers from last year (Fedorov and Kozlov) the Capitals didn’t have any trouble putting the puck in the net. The Capitals frontline dominated, as both Alex Ovechkin and Brooks Laich scored twice. Nicklas Backstrom had three assists in the game as well. If the rest of the East struggles against Washington’s top two lines like the Bruins did, then the Caps will sprint away with the top spot in the East.

Sharks Pick Up Where They Left off: Last time we saw the San Jose Sharks, they were a number1 seed in the Western Conference, getting upset in the 1st round by the 8th seed Anaheim Ducks. Last night the Sharks (who again are widely considered one of the Cup favorites), got crushed 5-2 on the road in Colorado. The Avalanche capitalized on some mistakes and a crowd that honored Joe Sakic before the game. This is not a game that the Sharks should have lost, the Avalanche were the worst team in the West last year, and had perhaps the most anemic offense. Yet they managed to score five goals in just 20 shots against one of the league’s best goalies, Evgeni Nabokov. What’s even worse is four of the five goals the Sharks were even strength. San Jose needs to start playing up to their talent level, and not down to the opposing teams’. Its just one game, and its a long season, but the Sharks don’t look like they are ready to compete with the other top teams in the West.

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