Last night’s Game of the Night between the New York Rangers and the Chicago Blackhawks ended in a Blueshirts‘ 3-2 winner. Center Derek Stepan, assisted by Kevin Hayes and Chris Kreider, scored the eventual game-winner with less than a minute left… in the first period. The Hawks could only muster a goal 6:55 into the second period for the remainder of the game. Although they lost, Chicago put 34 shots on goal (compared to New York‘s 27), but the Blueshirts made sure one more of their’s counted.
Tonight’s action involves seven games, all played on American soil… er… frozen water. The Winnipeg Jets are visiting the Boston Bruins (7 p.m. eastern), the Ottawa Senators are visiting the Buffalo Sabres (7 p.m. eastern), the Philadelphia Flyers are visiting the Tampa Bay Lightning (7:30 p.m. eastern), the Edmonton Oilers are visiting the St. Louis Blues (8 p.m. eastern), the Carolina Hurricanes are visiting the Nashville Predators (8 p.m. eastern), the Pittsburgh Penguins are visiting the Dallas Stars (8:30 p.m. eastern), and the Minnesota Wild are visiting the Colorado Avalanche (9 p.m. eastern, NBCSN).
Judging from expected quality of the game, me, and thus Down the Frozen River (Look at all the power I have!), can make only one choice for our Game of the Night.
Thanks in large part to the trade for Phil Kessel, Pittsburgh is expected to have improved this season from last, and tonight will be their first real opportunity to show that where it counts: the regular season. Another team that has improved, maybe even more so from last season to this season, is the Dallas Stars. Colby has the Stars taking the Central Division crown after missing the Stanley Cup playoffs by seven points. While not all of us here at Down the Frozen River are yet convinced of that, we do agree that Dallas has made strong moves toward being highly competitive.
Currently, the Stars are favored in the matchup, but I expect a highly competitive game. It goes without saying that the Penguins have Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin in their arsenal, two players that already have significant reputations for scoring. But Dallas is now the home of Antti Niemi, Johnny Oduya and Patrick Sharp, all of whom have at least one Stanley Cup to their résumé and will want to impose their winning habits early on their new squad.
It should be an excellent game.