22/01/2013: NHL TOP PERFORMERS OF THE NIGHT

Nail Yakupov of the Edmonton Oilers celebrates in glorious fashion as he scores his first NHL goal.

Nail Yakupov of the Edmonton Oilers celebrates in glorious fashion as he scores his first NHL goal.

Here are the results from last night’s games:

  • WINNIPEG 4 – 2 WASHINGTON
  • TAMPA BAY 4 – 1 CAROLINA
  • FLORIDA 1 – 4 MONTREAL
  • PHILADELPHIA 0 – 3 NEW JERSEY
  • DALLAS 2 – 1 DETROIT
  • NASHVILLE 3 – 1 MINNESOTA
  • ST LOUIS 2 – 3 CHICAGO
  • LOS ANGELES 1 – 3 COLORADO
  • SAN JOSE 6 – 3 EDMONTON

With the exception of the Edmonton Oilers – thanks, boys – it looks like the rust is starting to shake off for the players, with last night’s games being slightly lower in scoring overall.  As usual, some performances well worth noting, particularly the goalies; continue reading to check it out.

ONDREJ PAVELEC – the Jets’ starting goalie has been on fire for the last two games, recording a .941 SV% last night against the Caps, making 32 saves on 34 shots.  Not bad considering the firepower that Washington has, although they are off to a poor start this season – don’t let that detract from Pavelec’s performance however.

TOBIAS ENSTROM – probably one of the more underrated defenceman in the league, particularly on offence, Enstrom was dominant last night posting 3 assists for the Jets.

MATHIEU GARON – the Lightning’s back-up goalie was a wall in net last night, making 35 saves on 36 shots against Carolina for a .972 SV% and helping to ensure the win for Tampa Bay.

ALEX GALCHENYUK – the highly touted rookie centre, taken 3rd Overall in last year’s draft by Montreal, scored his first NHL goal last night in just his 2nd game.  It wasn’t the prettiest of goals, as Galchenyuk shovelled in the puck after planting himself in front of the net, but that in itself is an impressive thing for an 18 year old to do in the NHL.

ANDREI MARKOV – the veteran star defenceman who has played his entire career for Montreal, but has only played 65 games combined over the previous 3 seasons due to injuries, finally looks to be healthy again, and made his mark on the score sheet last night by blasting him two goals, his first goals since November 2010.

CAREY PRICE – Monreal’s star goalie was on fine form, keeping the Panthers to 1 goal on 28 shots for a .964 SV%.  One thing Montreal has rarely had trouble with is finding good goaltenders, and they have a great one right here.

MARTIN BRODEUR – talking of good goalies, here’s a pretty good one.  The NHL’s all-time leader in wins and four-time winner of the Vezina Trophy made 24 saves on 24 shots against the Flyers, and in the process registered his 120th NHL career shutout, stretching his lead in that record column too.  He might not be the goalie he used to be, but he’s still capable of putting in fine performances.

MICHAEL RYDER – the goal scoring forward tallied his first 2 goals of the season against the struggling Red Wings.  Ryder has been quite the revelation for Dallas since they signed him in 2011, putting up 32 goals last year – the first time he hit 30 since 2007 with Montreal – despite now being in his 30s and supposedly on the decline.

KARI LEHTONEN – talking of revelations, Kari Lehtonen has also been one for Dallas since they acquired him from Atlanta in 2009, and he truly seems to have overcome his injury and consistency troubles that plagued him previously, allowing him to fulfil his promise as a legitimate starting goalie in the NHL.  He made 39 saves on 40 shots against Detroit last night for a sterling .975 SV%, with that one goal allowed only coming in the last 4 seconds of play.

CHRIS MASON – now in his 3rd tour of duty with Nashville, the journeyman backup goalie made 29 saves on 30 shots against a Minnesota squad with plenty of firepower (it feels weird to be saying that after years of mediocrity, but they do now have Koivu, Heatley, Parise, Suter, Gilbert, Setoguchi, Granlund etc.).  A great night’s work and exactly what you want from your backup.

COREY CRAWFORD – a lot has been expected of Crawford since his great rookie year 2 seasons ago, but he failed to deliver last season.  He’s been solid so far this season though, and last night made 32 saves on 34 shots for a .941 SV% against St Louis.

SEMYON VARLAMOV – the Avalanche gave up a lot to acquire Varlamov from Washington last year, and it’s safe to say he didn’t quite deliver as hoped, but he put in a quality performance last night against the struggling LA Kings by only allowing 1 goal on 29 shots for a .966 SV%.

PATRICK MARLEAU – the Sharks’ veteran scorer put in an impressive performance by firing home 2 goals and an assist – all in the first period and including the eventual game winner – as the Sharks downed the Oilers in impressive fashion.

JOE THORNTON – Jumbo Joe was his usual dominant, playmaking self last night, picking up 3 assists and being a big reason the Sharks overwhelmed Edmonton.

LOGAN COUTURE – the future of the Sharks offence, Couture has done nothing but impress since entering the league 2 years ago, and he put home his first two goals of the year in this game along with an assist on Marleau’s game winner.

JORDAN EBERLE – the Oilers really struggled last night, but young star forward Jordan Eberle made some impressive plays to try and keep the Oilers in the game and came out with 2 assists for his efforts, and somehow came out of the game with an even rating despite the 6-3 scoreline.

JUSTIN SCHULTZ – led the entire Oilers team in icetime despite this only being his 2nd ever NHL game, but he was very impressive, firing home a laser of a shot for his 1st NHL goal and coming out with an even +/- despite the 6-3 scoreline.

NAIL YAKUPOV – the dynamic Yakupov has a lot to learn about the NHL game, and he is only 18 so it should be expected, but he did give Oiler fans a taste of what is to come with an absolute howitzer of a shot, on the one-timer, to get his 1st career NHL goal.  The celebration is brilliant too (see image at top).

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