Tag Archives: Domingue

October 10 – Day Seven – Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas

Today marks the end of the first week of action, so hopefully we can close things out with a bang.

There’s seven games on the schedule tonight, starting with two (St. Louis at the New York Rangers and Columbus at Carolina) at 7 p.m. and Chicago at Montréal (NBCSN/RDS/TSN2) half an hour later. In a similar situation, Philadelphia visits Nashville at 8 p.m. with Detroit at Dallas waiting 30 minutes before dropping the puck. Finally, our co-nightcaps (Ottawa at Vancouver [RDS] and Arizona at Vegas [NBCSN/SN360/TVAS]) find their start at 10 p.m. to close out the day’s action. All times Eastern.

There’s a few games that stick out to me…

  • Chicago at Montréal: Another day, another Original Six game.
  • Ottawa at Vancouver: After a dozen seasons with the Canucks, W Alexandre Burrows plays his first game at Rogers Arena in a white sweater.
  • Arizona at Vegas: Speaking of home arenas, it’s about time T-Mobile Arena saw its first regular season game.

It’s unfortunate we can’t spend the evening with Burrows, who played such a vital role in the Canucks’ run to the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals. But, you only get to make your city debut once, so it’s off to Nevada!

 

 

 

 

 

Just as I waited to welcome the Golden Knights to the NHL until they played their first game, I now officially welcome the city of Las Vegas and all her 632,912 citizens to one of my favorite sports in the world.

Oh, the arena, like almost everything we think about when envisioning the Las Vegas Strip, is technically south of Las Vegas proper in Paradise? Well, those 225,000 people can come too.

On a more serious note, it is unfortunate that no discussion about the Golden Knights’ inaugural  home game is complete without mentioning the terrible events from the night of October 1. I’m certain I speak for all of us here at Down the Frozen River in extending my condolences to the families and friends of the 58 people who lost their lives that night, as well as the hundreds injured.

While a hockey game absolutely pales in comparison to the severity of this tragedy, it is my hope that what will be an exciting, joyous event will be a pleasant reprieve from the sadness surrounding Las Vegas and maybe – just maybe – a small step towards the city’s healing.

Taking our attention back to tonight’s game, though the Golden Knights have been away from home, they’ve been doing all they can on the ice for their community by jumping to an unexpected 2-0-0 record.

Unlike the teams involved in yesterday’s DtFR Game of the Day (see below for the recap to that game) offense has not been the name of the game for the Knights, as they’ve scored a total of only four goals to start the season.

“But wait,” you say. “I thought Vegas’ defense wasn’t supposed to be good.”

You’ve heard correctly. No matter how many shot blocks D Jason Garrison can manage (he’s averaged six-per-game to lead the league so far this young season, for those interested), that defensive corps has allowed a (t)fifth-worst 37 shots against per-game to reach G Marc-Andre Fleury.

Instead, Fleury has had to perform at his very best to earn his unblemished record. Among goaltenders with at least two games played, his .973 save percentage and .98 GAA are both second-best in the league.

Considering the enormity of tonight’s festivities and the fact that he hasn’t played since Saturday, Flower should be a lock to be in net this evening.

As for the Coyotes, they have come up just short in both of their games played. Arizona opened up its season with a 5-4 loss in Anaheim Thursday before Saturday’s 2-1 overtime loss at home to these very Golden Knights.

Similar to Vegas, defense does not seem to be the Yotes’ forte. They’ve allowed an atrocious 41.5 shots to reach their crease, and don’t seem to play any better or worse if G Louis Domingue or G Antti Raanta is in net.

Speaking of, it sounds like Raanta drew the start this evening. Considering he earned Arizona’s lone point of the season against these Knights, that seems like the logical decision.

If the Coyotes want to return the favor of beating the Golden Knights in their first home game of the season, they’re going to need their offense to do the heavy lifting.

Though he plays along the blue line, D Alex Goligoski has been Arizona’s most consistent scoring threat as his three assists against the Ducks are the highest point total on the squad. As for actual forwards to keep an eye on, F Tobias Rieder is the only Coyote to score on Fleury Saturday and F Clayton Keller really likes to shoot. Either, or both, could provide the difference for the Yotes.

Only two things can happen following the pageantry associated with a night like tonight. Either the home team lets the emotion get to them, or they come out and dominate their opponent.

Considering the Golden Knights have been playing for more than themselves, I think most of us are hoping for the latter.

#PlayForVegas


With an unassisted overtime wrist shot from First Star of the Game C Auston Matthews, the Toronto Maple Leafs were able to hold off the Chicago Blackhawks at the Air Canada Centre for a 4-3 victory in yesterday’s DtFR Game of the Day.

The play started in Chicago’s offensive end where C Jonathan Toews tried to pass from the near boards to F Patrick Kane in the center of the zone, but Kane misplayed the puck as it bounced off his right skate… right to Matthews. The reigning Calder Trophy winner screamed up the ice to the far face-off circle in his offensive zone before ripping a fireball of a shot over G Anton Forsberg‘s glove shoulder. Matthews finished the play the only way one should when playing the Blackhawks: imitating Kane’s patented goal celebration in victory.

Matthews’ goal completed a Leafs comeback from a 3-1 deficit with 12:08 remaining in regulation. Second Star RW Connor Brown (D Nikita Zaitsev and D Ron Hainsey) pulled Toronto back within a goal with exactly seven minutes remaining on the clock, followed 2:42 later by a game-tying power play tip-in from LW James van Riemsdyk (C Tyler Bozak and D Morgan Reilly) to force overtime.

That comeback was necessitated in large part by a hot start for Chicago, as it had a 2-0 lead before eight minutes had expired from the first period. First it was D Jan Rutta (F John Hayden and F Tommy Wingels) finding the back of G Frederik Andersen’s net at the 3:46 mark, followed 4:11 later by Toews’ (Third Star RW Richard Panik and W Brandon Saad) second goal of the season.

Zaitsev (Brown and D Calle Rosen) did score with 9:40 remaining in the second period, but that tally was eventually negated by Panik’s (D Gustav Forsling and Rutta) power play wrister 7:52 into the third period.

Andersen earned the victory after saving 18-of-21 shots faced (.857 save percentage), leaving the overtime loss to Forsberg, who saved 39-of-43 (.907).

A third straight victory by the home teams in the DtFR Game of the Day series has earned them a 4-2-1 record and a two-point advantage over the visitors.

November 4 – Day 23 – Friday nights have to improve soon… right?

It’s Friday!

Everybody’s getting off work, including most of the hockey players as there’s only six games going on this evening. The limited action finds its start at the usual time of 7 p.m. with Montréal visiting Columbus (RDS), followed half an hour later by Winnipeg at Detroit (NHLN/TVAS). When those games are complete, you can flip over to Arizona at Anaheim, which drops the puck at 10 p.m. All times eastern.

If the standings are any indicator, the most competitive game of the night should be taking place in Orange County, so we’ll head there.

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While it is not  major, one aspect of this game that does make it a touch more intriguing is the presence of Jamie McGinn. The left wing started last season in Buffalo, but was traded at the deadline to the Ducks to bolster their forward situation. He scored 39 total points all last season – the best season of his career – but only two in the postseason as Anaheim fell in the Western Conference Quarterfinals.

This off-season, he tested free agency to eventually sign with Arizona. Already this season McGinn has found the back of the net twice en route to a three-point campaign so far.

The addition of McGinn does not appear to be a major solution for the Coyotes, as they are the proud owners of a 4-6-0 record. In fact, goal scoring really hasn’t been the issue for the Coyotes as much as it has been their defense and goaltending.

Already this season in only 10 games played, Arizona has given up 37 goals, a total that exceeds the league average by 10 scores. That responsibility starts with the man between the pipes: Louis Domingue. Before last night’s shootout victory over Nashville, the 24-year-old goaltender had saved only 88.7% of the shots he’d faced for a 3.95 GAA – not numbers becoming an NHL starting goaltender, or at least one that will keep his job for long.

But he is far from the only one to take credit for the Coyotes‘ struggles. Before last night’s game, Arizona‘s goaltenders have been tasked with blocking 312 shots – approximately 35 per game. When the league average is a touch under 29, that’s a lot. Connor Murphy‘s 18 blocks have been good, but more skaters than him and Alex Goligoski need to contribute defensively.

Based on last year’s efforts, the team they’re facing tonight, the 4-5-2 Ducks, would be the perfect team to emulate, as Anaheim‘s 188 goals allowed last season was best in the NHL.

That was last year though. They’ve regressed to the mean so far this campaign, allowing 28 tallies after 11 games. John Gibson has a .911 save percentage to his credit, good for a 2.58 GAA. Gibson does have the luxury of Sami Vatanen playing in front of him, whose 26 blocks are tied for ninth-most in the league, but it could be argued that the top-two blockers for Arizona are doing better than Vatanen and Cam Fowler (13).

Some players to keep an eye on in tonight’s game include Anaheim‘s Gibson (one shutout [tied for sixth-most in the league]) and Arizona‘s Oliver Ekman-Larsson (five goals [leads the team]).

The Ducks are a solid favorite coming into this game with an impressive -208 associated with their name. With a line like that, it is probably unwise to pick against them.

Hockey Birthday

  • Howie Meeker (1923-) – Although he is the lone surviving member of Toronto‘s 1947 Stanley Cup-winning team, playing hockey was just the beginning for the nine-year right winger. After a stint as the Leafs‘ coach, the right wing transitioned to the broadcast booth, announcing for Hockey Night in Canada for almost 30 years.
  • Michel Therrien (1963-) – This is Therrien’s 11th season coaching in the NHL, and seventh with Montréal. He spent four seasons with Pittsburgh, including leading the Penguins to the 2008 Stanley Cup Finals. His replacement the following season, Dan Bylsma, finished the work Therrien started and led the Pens to their third title.
  • Dustin Brown (1984-) – Drafted 13th overall by Los Angeles in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft, Brown has spent his entire career with the Kings, already winning two Stanley Cups. Interestingly, although he was signed in 2013 to an eight-year contract, Brown was relieved of all captaincy duties this season after leading the team since 2008.

The Battle of the QEW usually favors the home team, but that was not the case in yesterday’s Game of the Day when Toronto beat Buffalo 2-1.

The Maple Leafs waited only 4:08 before scoring their first goal of the night. Second Star of the Game Mitchell Marner (Tyler Bozak and James van Riemsdyk) takes credit for the tally with a solid wrister. The lone score of the frame, Toronto took the 1-0 lead into the dressing room.

1:50 after returning to the ice, Marner struck again with an unassisted wrister to notch the eventual game-winner. It took that winning status only 4:08 later when Third Star Marcus Foligno (Johan Larsson and Sam Reinhart) buried a backhander to set the score at 2-1, the same score that held the remaining 34:02.

First Star Frederik Andersen saved 42-of-43 (97.7%) shots faced to earn the victory, while Robin Lehner falls after saving 27-of-29 (93.1%).

Toronto‘s first win in the DtFR Game of the Day series pulls the road squads within two points of the hosts, but the home team still has a winning 13-9-3 record.

January 4 – Day 86 – Pacific Division Pandemonium

It’s a league-best nine straight wins for the Florida Panthers, as they defeated the Minnesota Wild 2-1 last night in our Game of the Day!

The first goal of the game didn’t take even 30 seconds of play.  Third Star of the Game Dmitry Kulikov and Jonathan Huberdeau assisted First Star Jaromir Jagr to his first of two goals on the evening (on only two shots, no less!), setting the score at 1-0, which held into the intermission.

Just as Jagr didn’t wait in the first period to give his team a score, neither did Jason Zucker, as he was assisted by Mikko Koivu and Ryan Suter to a goal at the 48 second mark of the second.  His game-tying goal was the only tally of the second period.

Brandon Pirri and Kulikov waited a little while into the period before assisting Jagr to his game-winning tally after 8:52.

Second Star Al Montoya improves his record to 6-1-1 after saving 39 of 40 (97.5%), while Devan Dubnyk’s record falls to 16-11-3 after saving 27 of 29 (93.1%).

The DtFR Game of the Day series now stands at 34-16-6, with the home squads leading the roadies by 26 points.

I know we’ve gotten comfortable in Sunrise, but the Panthers don’t have a game tonight, so it looks like we’ll have to look outside the Sunshine State for our Game of the Day!  The action gets started at 7 p.m. eastern when Detroit pays a visit to New Jersey (TVAS), with Ottawa at St. Louis (RDS) following an hour later.  9 p.m. eastern brings with it the start of two games (Los Angeles at Colorado [NBCSN] and Carolina at Edmonton), while this evening’s nightcap, Arizona at Vancouver, follows an hour later.

Arizona at Vancouver is tonight’s only divisional rivalry, and Detroit at New Jersey is the only game featuring two squads both currently qualifying for the playoffs.

Of late, I’ve been favoring the games between the qualifiers, but I’m going to go off script today due to the competition for the Pacific Division’s playoff spots, as a Vancouver win moves them from fourth to second-best in the division and focusing on the postseason.

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This will be both squads’ second appearance in the Game of the Day series.  The Coyotes currently own a 1-0-0 record thanks to their 4-3 overtime victory in Anaheim on November 9.  Vancouver‘s lone appearance wasn’t quite so fortunate, as they fell 5-0 at home to the Los Angeles Kings last Monday.

The 18-16-4 Arizona Coyotes currently sit in second place in the Pacific Division and seventh in the Western Conference.  They’ve utilized a top-10 offense, as measured by goals scored, to fight their way into playoff position in their highly-competitive division (second and seventh are separated by only five points).

Although they are led by Oliver Ekman-Larsson’s 109 shots, the Coyotes have put only 1022 shots on net so far this season.  Fortunately for them, 10.5% of those attempts are finding the back of the net (led by Captain Shane Doan’s 13 goals) for 107 goals, ninth most in the league.  One portion of the Coyotes‘ play that still needs to find success is their power play.  Although Arizona has had 143 opportunities, 22 over the league average, they have managed 24 goals (led by Doan’s six), only one more than average.  To make matters worse, the Coyotes‘ special teams have allowed eight shorties already this season – most teams have only allowed three!

It has been fortunate that the offense has found success, because they have needed to cover for defensive mistakes.  Even with Michael Stone’s team-leading 61 blocks, the Coyotes have still allowed 1169 shots to reach 10-9-1 Mike Smith and co. (3-2-2 Louis Domingue will get the start), of which only 90.2% have been saved for 121 goals against, third-worst in the league.  The only bright spot for the defense has been their average penalty kill, which is good, since Arizona likes to commit penalties.  The opposition has had 138 man-advantages, of which the Coyotes have killed 78.99%, allowing 29 goals.

Their most recent showing was a 4-3 overtime loss in Edmonton on Saturday.

The 15-15-9 Vancouver Canucks are currently fourth-best in the Pacific Division and 10th in the Western Conference, but a win tonight puts them in second in the division, at least for the evening.  They play a better defensive game, but both sides of the ice need to see an improvement if this team wants to be taken seriously.

Led by Chris Tanev’s 94 blocks, the Canucks have allowed 1195 shots to reach 10-11-6 Ryan Miller and co. (4-4-2 Jacob Markstrom will start), of which they’ve collectively saved 91.2% for 108 goals against.  Their penalty kill is slightly below-average, killing 78.95% of attacks and allowing 28 goals.

It could be argued that Vancouver‘s offense has simply been unlucky this season.  They’ve put 1138 shot on net so far this season (led by Radim Vrbata’s 138), but only 8.1% have found the back of the net for 92 goals (led by Daniel Sedin’s 16).  The power play continues that trend, as it has been successful only 16.03% of the time, scoring 21 goals (led b Sedin’s five) on 131 opportunities.

Their most recent showing was a 2-1 shootout victory over the Ducks on New Year’s Day.

As an added bonus, tonight’s game is also the first return of Brad Richardson to Rogers Arena, who spent the last two seasons with the Canucks before signing with the Coyotes in free agency this offseason.  He played a total of 118 games over his career in British Columbia, scoring 44 points (19 goals and 25 assists).

Tonight’s game will be the second of four meetings this regular season.  The first game went to the visiting Canucks on October 30, who won 4-3.

Some players to watch in tonight’s game include Arizona‘s Mikkel Boedker (30 points, 10 even-strength goals and 10 power play assists [all lead team]) and Vancouver‘s Henrik Sedin (24 assists [ninth in the league]).

This is a tough game for me to predict, as I do not believe either to be a playoff-caliber team, at least not as they are currently.  That being said, I think that Arizona‘s offense will be too much for the Canucks to handle, so I’ll pick the Coyotes to win.