Game 1 Recap: A Start
09-10 has a completely different feeling to it. The pregame was an awesome video tribute to the team. Some of the best the production department has turned out in my opinion.
Oh the game. A 2-1 win versus the Wild does not feel like we are breaking new ground. It was not a great game on our end. Things looked disoriented, but it is to be expected on an opening night. Umberger on an amazing shorthanded effort wins the prize for first goal of the year. He also takes home an award for "smoothest" goal celebration.
The third line played well. Pahlsson, Chimera, and RJ Umberger were pretty consistent all night long. For the record Umberger is the best third line player in the history of the team. The top line from Minnesota was quiet most of the game and it was these guys that did it. They generated the offense more often than not on their shifts.
Whenever I'm watching a game I try to find a player who is playing a strong position game. Doing the little things right. For me in the first half of the game that was Klesla. (Must have been celebrating that newly signed contract extension). Then of course he has to score a goal and now I have to mention that. Why can't a guy write a blog about nice pinches, swift passes and nice clears.... Oh that goal was a beauty. A labeled slapper for the top shelf. On video it will probably make a really nice looking highlight. Offense from the defense is a key for success this year. Rusty can come up big for us.
The top line clicked at times. They were decent on puck control, but didn't generate the chances tonight. You can see possibilities though and they are exciting.
The powerplay didn't score but looked AMAZINGLY better. We got the puck in and set up a lot more effectively. I think we might get away from the dump and chase powerplay. Thank the Lord. Andrew Murray on the second unit did not excite me. His play overall did not excite me today. I'd rather see Blunden. I'd like Dorse over Boller too.
Filatov was my pick for first goal of the year. He definitely had a shot at it. He made two extra moves on Backstrom. I think with goalies like Backstrom you stand a much better chance taking a shot on him. Umberger might not agree with me though.
I didn't think the second line looked that great. Vermette was hanging back a lot, probably to cover the young guys. I'm for giving it a tryout, but I wasn't a big fan tonight.
The defensive pairs did not look great tonight outside of Tyutin and Klesla. Methot didn't play a great game. Not what he needs with Stralman coming aboard. Mathieu Roy is not an NHL defensemen. His skating remind me of.... me. He got blown by 2 or 3 times and seemed out of position a lot. He didn't even look like a good AHL defender. It is a good thing Stralman will be ready by Monday because every time Roy was on the ice I was nervous.
The poor play of Roy really highlighted the strong play of Russell. Russ cleaned up a lot of Roy's messes. Every time he joined the rush, I was a little freaked out, but he always got back to cover. I'd really like to see Russell paired with Klesla.
Mason had to make some pretty big saves tonight. He won the game for us.
Mancrush tonight goes to Klesla. He made a lot of smart plays. He truly plays a team game and was sacrificing the body all game. I'd wonder how many blocked shots he had. The 3 million dollar contract price tag might be a little high, but if he plays like he did tonight it will be well worth it. That and the UFA market for defenders has been insane.
Whipping Boy: Mathieu Roy was not a good player.
Honorary Whipping to the New Entrance Song. I recognized it, but didn't like it. Someone put the name of it in the comments for me. I'm not a big music guru, but I know I didn't like it.
Hit the Comments 1-0 on pace for 164 points.