Some Monday morning musings from the first weekend of the shortened 2013 NHL season.
- It was nice that Zach Parise's first goal with the Minnesota Wild was a game-winner. It has been nice to see Wild centre Pierre-Marc Bouchard play so well in two wins over the weekend after his concussion battles. But the best story in Minnesota was Josh Harding's 24-save effort for his seventh career shutout on Sunday. Last October, the 28-year-old goalie from Regina was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, an autoimmune disease that affects the central nervous system.
Vancouver Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo
had a strong game against the Edmonton Oilers, but allowing that amazing pinpoint backhand to Jordan Eberle
late in the second period was a killer. It gave the young Oilers life to score a come-from-behind 3-2 shootout win. It also will allow Canucks coach Alain Vigneault
to go back to Cory Schneider
at home on Wednesday against the Calgary Flames.
- Too bad for the Detroit Red Wings that Nik Lidstrom decided to retire because it was quite an opening weekend for the old guys. New Jersey Devils goalie Martin Brodeur, 40, won his season debut. Anaheim Ducks 42-year-old veteran Teemu Selanne checked in with four points in his first game. Jaromir Jagr, 40, and his new Dallas Stars teammate Ray Whitney, 40, already have four points and two points in two games, respectively. Alex Kovalev, who will turn 40 next month, had a goal and an assist in his first game with the Florida Panthers. Ottawa Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson helped his team get off to a solid start.
- While Raffi Torres sits out the rest of his suspension to start this season, the guy he knocked out of action with his headshot in the playoffs last year looks like a man on a mission. Chicago Blackhawks veteran Marian Hossa has a league-leading four goals and a league-leading five points in two games.
- Recent Stanley Cup winners Boston Bruins (2010-11), Blackhawks (2009-10) and Pittsburgh Penguins (2008-09) look like early contenders for another championship. Chicago and Pittsburgh opened with two road wins apiece. The Bruins were in fine form with convincing home-opener victory over the New York Rangers on Saturday.
- Paul Thompson, an undrafted University of New Hampshire product, who signed with the Pittsburgh Penguins a couple years ago, scored the overtime winner for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in their victory over the Hershey Bears at the AHL Outdoor Classic before a sellout crowd of 17,311 at Hersheypark Stadium. The game-time temperature was 6C on Sunday, but the wind chill factor made it feel more like a -1 Celsius.
- Montreal Canadiens head coach Michel Therrien was behind the bench for his 500th NHL game (463 regular season and 37 playoff games) on Saturday. In his first two gigs, he was a mid-season replacement. He took over for the dismissed Alain Vigneault in Montreal in 2000-01 and the fired Ed Olczyk in Pittsburgh in 2005-06. This is the first time he has started the season with a NHL team as a head coach, but because of the 48-game shortened season it is sort of similar to his first two jobs.
- Mike Smith's shattered goal stick after the Blackhawks put their sixth goal behind the Phoenix Coyotes netminder said it all. The Coyotes playoff hero was out of sorts in his two starts over the weekend. He surrendered 10 goals in two games and has a save percentage of .825.
By the Numbers
1,200 -- Career games for Coyotes veteran Shane Doan on Sunday. He became the 92nd player in NHL history to reach the milestone, scored a goal and set up another in a 6-4 loss to Chicago.
104 -- Round brilliant pave set diamonds on the face of the Los Angeles Kings championship ring that were presented on Saturday. Kings legends Marcel Dionne and Rogie Vachon also were given rings.
11 -- Road teams were the victors in the 19 games played on opening weekend.
6 -- Goals scored by the St. Louis Blues on Saturday, which just happens to be the number worn by baseball legend Stan Musial of the St. Louis Cardinals, who passed away on Saturday.
2 -- Goals on his first two shots in the NHL from St. Louis Blues rookie Vladimir Tarasenko, who became the first Blues rookie to score two goals in his NHL debut since Doug Palazzari in 1974.
2 -- Monday matinees in the NHL. The Winnipeg Jets visit the Boston Bruins and the New York Islanders host the Tampa Bay Lightning on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Follow Tim Wharnsby on Twitter @WharnsbyCBC
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