I'm getting tired of the nightly three stars - it isn't very original and I'd love to come up with something else. If you have any ideas, just add it to the comments or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org!
* Marty St. Louis had a pair tonight - the first and last goals of the game. Unfortunately for Tampa, in between those goals, the Sabres scored 7 times in a 16:05 stretch during the second period
* I'm running out of superlatives to describe this Buffalo team, so maybe tonight I'll use a Jay-Z lyric:
I'm so far ahead of my time, I'm bout to start another life
Look behind you, I'm bout to pass you twice
The Sabres are just so much better than the rest of the East right now, it's unbelievable. The only team that is in the same ballpark are the Ducks and they definitely do not have the explosiveness that the Sabres do.
21 games played
90 goals scored
12 players with double digits in points
* Columbus continues to struggle, losing their 6th in a row. Hitchcock and Andy Murray are apparently the two finalists for their coaching job. They are both great candidates but I'd expect Hitch to get the first crack at the job if he's interested - it seems as if the Jackets have targeted him from the beginning and the main question is whether he will hold out for a better situation (ie a team that is closer to winning)
* Vokoun lost the shutout with just 15 seconds left as Nashville continues to roll, yet still stay under the radar for the most part.
* Ottawa continues to climb up in the standings, despite giving up 37 shots over the final two periods tonight
* If the Sens need the cap room later in the year I wonder if they'd consider sending down Gerber - that was certainly money that could have been better spent
* After a slow start and immense criticism, Alfredsson has stepped up. He now has points in 9 of the last 10
* Fisher is another player who really struggled early and is coming on strong over the last little while
* To top it off, the Sens got Redden back too
* Rolston scored on a penalty shot for the second time this year
* Florida played a strong road game and overcame 2 goals from Glen Murray
* Tim Thomas' play of late has quieted the Nabokov talks - at least for a little
* Chara is such a force in both ends - I'm probably beating a dead horse by now but the Sens could have kept Chara for the same money they are paying Gerber, Corvo and Phillips. They would have had to fill the other two roles (backup G and another player on D) with cheap veterans or young players and it would have been tough beyond this year, but they should have found a way to get a deal done
* Another day, another Flyers' loss
* The strangest news of the day was that John Stevens was given a 2-year extension. Of course since we don't know the salary or provisions in the contract, there is still no guarantee that he is their choice for a long-term solution behind the bench
* Crosby had some amazing moves before leaving the game with a groin injury. It doesn't sound too serious but I'm betting that they will be extra cautious with this one.
* Raycroft came back and the Leafs beat the Islanders
* There has been a lot of talk praising New York in the past couple days and I think the excitement is a little premature. They may not be as bad as some people thought but they're still only 10th in the conference to date
* And yes, Dipietro has been playing pretty well but how do you think he is going to be playing in 7 years? How about 12? And 15 years from now?!?
* Paul Maurice was not at all happy on the bench, despite the win:
"We weren't handing out roses after this one,"
"We didn't play the way I wanted in the third period. Clearly, there was not enough profanity on the bench early in the game. I did a nice job of fixing that in the third."
* Two of the former elite in the West squared off in an exciting battle
* Turco was pulled early and Budaj went the whole way for Colorado. Going into the game Budaj had a .929 SVP and 2.03 GAA so he will definitely have a chance to steal the job from Theodore
* Brenden Morrow left the game with a groin injury and did not return (after scoring twice early)
Thumbnail from AP
PS - Heritage Classic Memories to come (Game was actually on the 22nd of November)