Recaps of games featuring Canadian NHL teams, plus the latest on Phil Kessel, Mark Giordano, Lee Stempniak and Zach Kassian.
TORONTO STAR: Phil Kessel and Nazem Kadri continue to have solid chemistry, with Kessel scoring twice and setting up two others in the Maple Leafs 4-0 victory over the Edmonton Oilers. As the losses mount for the Oilers, Edmonton Sun columnist Terry Jones fears the club’s playoff hopes are already slipping away.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers are a mess and if this keeps up they’ll be written off in a month’s time. There’s no denying their goaltending and defense are their weak spots, and the longer they go unaddressed, the worse things will get for the Oilers. To do so, however, means parting with one of their good young forwards.
Kessel is once again overcoming a slow start and proving why he’s the Leafs best forward, while Kadri is silencing critics who considered his play last season a flash in the pan.
MONTREAL GAZETTE: Carey Price made 26 saves while Rene Bourque and Michael Bournival scored as the Canadiens edged the Dallas Stars 2-1.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Price (6-5-0, 2.02 GAA, .939 SP, 1 shutout) is off to a strong start to this season, which not only bodes well for the Habs but could earn him a spot with Team Canada.
OTTAWA CITIZEN: The Senators blew a 4-2 lead to fall to the Chicago Blackhawks 6-5, thanks to Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews natural hat trick.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Things are starting to get ugly for the Senators, as defensive breakdowns are proving more and more costly. In the past they could rely on their goaltending to bail them out, but that’s not the case this season. Once upstarts, the Senators can no longer catch teams by surprise anymore.
WINNIPEG SUN: A late goal by St. Louis Blues forward Alex Steen led to the Winnipeg Jets losing 3-2, ending their road trip 1-2-1.
CALGARY SUN: A broken ankle has sidelined Flames captain Mark Giordano six-to-eight weeks, while forward Lee Stempniak is week-to-week with a broken bone in his foot.
VANCOUVER PROVINCE: Canucks coach John Tortorella acknowledged Zack Kassian’s inconsistency but believes the winger is making progress.