We’re now three full days into the NHL season and the Central Division has already seen three intradivisional games decided by shootout. Right now we have two undefeated teams in St. Louis and Detroit, a Columbus Blue Jackets team that is 1-for-2 in shootouts, a Nashville team that’s 0-for-2 in shootouts, and a Detroit team that got blown out by the Blues and only saved face against Columbus with a Damien Brunner highlight to end a shootout. And it’s only going to get crazier from here…
Around The Central Division: January 22, 2013
St. Louis Blues 4, Nashville Predators 3 (SO)
Nashville needed the offense to improve, they needed Pekka Rinne to play his best game, and they needed the crowd in the game. All three of those things happened, but the St. Louis Blues played Nashville tough, pushed the game to a shootout and won it there. Patric Hornqvist had two goals and an assist and Rinne stopped 36 of 39 shots, while Vladimir Tarasenko’s goal and two assists topped the other side. Check out our recap for the full details, but first enjoy this nifty play by Hornqvist:
Detroit Red Wings 4, Columbus Blue Jackets 3 (SO)
Detroit’s defense hasn’t looked too good so far, but they got away with one and spoiled Columbus’ home opener with a shootout win. The Blue Jackets were trying to open the season with consecutive wins for just the second time in franchise history. Denial came in the form of Damien Brunner:
Sergei Bobrovsky has now stopped 71 of 76 shots in two games with Columbus, a save percentage of .934, and has a GAA of 2.31. But that shootout goal is all anyone’s going to be taking about today (especially because it was in Detroit). Full recap from the Red Army.
Detroit recalled D Brian Lashoff from Grand Rapids (AHL) and placed D Jakub Kindl on injured reserve.
One Central Division team gets its first taste of intradivisional play today, while two others face their first opponents from the rest of the Western Conference.
Nashville Predators at Minnesota Wild
8:00 p.m. CST
FOX Sports Tennessee
Whether he wants to be or not, Ryan Suter is Nashville’s seventh-favorite villain of all time behind Jim Balsillie, Boots Del Biaggio, Craig Leipold, heel extraordinaire Jordin Tootoo, that Howdy Doody-looking boy who shot Barbara Jean, and Powers Boothe. He finally gets to meet his up with his old friends for a game of hockey. Minnesota are 2-0 to start the season, thanks in part to a shutout of Dallas by Josh Harding. Meanwhile the Preds are kicking off a grueling seven-game road trip that will keep them away from home until February 7th. Check out our preview here. Suter better be careful – if Minnesota keeps the Preds winless, he might just get bumped above Powers Boothe.
Dallas Stars at Detroit Red Wings
6:30 p.m. CST
After opening with two games on the road and salvaging a win in the post-overtime skills competition, Detroit finally gets to have its home opener. Jaromir Jagr’s four points powered the Stars to an Opening Night win over Phoenix, but Harding and Minnesota shut them out 1-0 on Sunday and they still haven’t signed Jamie Benn. It might take another shutout for management to pay that man his money, but don’t count on that happening against Detroit’s defense.
St. Louis Blues at Chicago Blackhawks
7:30 p.m. CST
Only one of these 2-0 teams can stay undefeated. Both have already shown offensive flair, St. Louis against a hapless Red Wings squad and Chicago against two Pacific Divison opponents. But the Blues’ defense has been more dependable so far, giving up just three goals in two games, while the Blackhawks have surrendered six. Plus the Blues have 20-year-old Russian dynamo have Vladimir Tarasenko, who has three goals in two games. Chicago’s first test against Central Division opponents will be a tough one, and it will be Corey Crawford‘s first test against a team that’s playing well after facing a lackluster Kings team on Saturday.