Well folks, it's your first Bacon Bits of the season without Bacon. I'm filling in today to provide you with a recap of last night's games, but due to my top-flight work ethic it is being published just before puck drop tonight. To give a bit of a heads-up my recap is going to be just like Bacon's, just without all the sodium and all-around goodness that comes with bacon. Don't think of me as turkey bacon, that doesn't even count as food, but as more of a fine steak who has a better grasp on the English language.
Well, it was a tight game played by both teams on this night. Defense, a staple of New Jersey Devils hockey as well as Randy Carlyle's philosophy as a coach kept the score low during this Friday night tilt. Defense did not keep the shot total low though, as Cory Schneider turned aside 27 shots. Not to be outdone, Jonathan Bernier made 34 saves on the night. The 0-0 tie was snapped at 8:12 of the 3rd period when Phil Kessel broke in and scored what may be the prettiest goal of the season thus far. Toronto coach Randy Carlyle had this to say:
"Those are difference-maker goals,It reminded me of Frank Mahovlich. The wind-up and come back inside your own line and attack. That's old-time hockey. I mean real old-time hockey."
James Van Riemsdyk would tack on the winner in the 3rd round of the shootout, ending a tightly contested game and giving the Leafs a 2-1 victory.
David Clarkson managed only 2 shots in his first game against his old team since inking a free agent deal with the Leafs over the summer.
Makes you excited for what the U.S. Olympic roster might do in Sochi, doesn't it?
Do you know what the 17 hockey fans in Nashville are wishing for this Christmas? If you guessed Garth Brooks putting together a world tour, well....you're probably right. But, you know what's second on that list? Pekka Rinne's return to the Predators crease.
Perhaps no other team in the NHL leans on their goaltender more than the Preds and they have no problem letting everyone know. How else could you pass off the Eric Nystrom, Matt Cullen, Viktor Stalberg and Matt Hendricks free-agent signings as "progress"?
The Avalanche have easily been the league's biggest surprise this season, which makes the score of tonight's game all that more pedestrian. The way these two teams have been playing, you could have set your watch to this score. Jean-Sebastian Giguere turned away 32 Calgary shots to earn his 5th win in as many games this season.
Micheal Cammalleri would provide all the offense for the Calgary Flames, notching his 6ht and 7th goals of the season.
The Flames closed out a four game road trip in Colorado, probably with some relief. As a team, they have lost 8 of their last 11 games.
Ryan O'Reilly tallied a goal and an assist on the night, none prettier than this feed from P.A. Parenteau:
The last game on the docket for Friday night pitted the Ducks against the Sabres. Two teams headed in completely opposite directions combined for pretty much what everyone would have guessed. The Avs would chase Ryan Miller from the crease with four 1st period goals and two more in the 2nd to cruise to a 6-2 win. Frederick Andersen stopped 25 of 27 shots for his 5th win of the season, moving the 24 year old's record to a clean 5-0 in his young NHL career.
Jhonas Enroth would come in for the final period of the tilt, stopping all 12 shots he faced.
Ryan Miller continued the trend of doing what he could to survive, facing 34 shots in only 2 periods of playing time. As a native Michigander, I pray for the day Ryan Miller receives his release from Buffalo because the guy deserves better.
Humongous Big news out of Edmonton late Friday night: Ilya Bryzgalov signs a 1 year deal with the Edmonton Oilers.
Just as I was about to hit the hay, everyone's favorite Russian astrologist found his way back into the NHL. While not a huge surprise the Oilers would exhaust any means of upgrading their Goalie corps, it is surprising that a hockey player is willingly deciding to play in Edmonton, who have had a rough time recruiting talent in recent times. (I'm looking at you Dany Heatley)
(To his credit, Smith has played himself into the leagues upper echelon in recent years.)
Regardless of how much success the Oilers and Bryzgalov will have this season, it's great to see one of the league's brightest personalities back in the fold.
Cue the bear in the woods jokes...