Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Saturday November 3

The action was severly ramped up on Saturday with 22 teams in motion in 11 games across the NHL. Former Islanders accounted for a healthy 2 goals and 10 assists for 12 points and a win in net. Let us look at their contributions:

* Nobody could make a case that 6' 9" defenseman Zdeno Chara is hard to find but as of late his offensive contributions have been out of sight as in invisible. On Saturday he added an assist on the first Boston goal of the night in the Bruins' 3-2 loss to the host Ottawa Senators (the hottest team in hockey). The tallest player, nay, captain in the history of the NHL earned his 6th point (all assists) of the season. It has taken 12 games for Chara to reach that number which is poor considering he had 4 assists in the first 4 games of the season.

* Surprisingly good Jeff Hamilton kept up his offensive effort with 2 assists, one powerplay, on Saturday night in Carolina's 4-2 win over the visiting Florida Panthers. In 14 games, Hamilton has 12 points on 4 goals and 8 assists. He is already almost a third of the way to his season high 39 points from last season (his first full year) with the Chicago Blackhawks. Also showing off were the power FI duo from the Panthers, Olli Jokinen and Richard Zednik. Consecutively 1 and 2 on the team in scoring, O-Jok and Zed are leading the Florida offense. O-Jok was credited with an assist to boost his numbers to 15 points (8 goals, 7 assists) in 14 games. With his goal, Zed continues his streak having now scored 4 goals in the last 3 games. In 12 games, Zednik has 6 goals and 2 assists for 8 points.

* Bryan Smolinski had a good night even if his new team, the Montreal Canadiens, did not. Smolinski assisted on both of his team's goals in their 3-2 loss to the visiting rivals, the Toronto Maple Leafs. Brought in for veteran experience, center Smoke has been an enigma. He has been so inconsistent for the Habs that this was the first multipoint night he has in 13 games this season. With the assists Smolinski now has 1 goal and 4 assists for 5 points in that time.

* Defenseman Adrian Aucoin continued to flash some offensive talent for Calgary yet again. But despite his assist, the Flames dropped a 4-1 decision to the host Minnesota Wild. Aucoin has 8 points (1 goal, 7 assists) in 14 games with all of those points coming in the last 10 overall. It has been since game 5 that Aucoin has broken out of his rusty shell to start providing some solid numbers for the Flames.

* Mathieu Schneider, who signed a fat contract with the Ducks in the offseason, scored his first multipoint night for his new team in only his second game. A couple of nights after scoring the SO winning goal, Schneider scored his first quantifiable goal, a powerplay tally to open the scoring, then added 2 assists (1 powerplay) to lead Anaheim to a 5-2 win over the host Phoenix Coyotes. Schneider looks fully recovered from a wrist injury that knocked him out of last season's playoffs when he was still with the Detroit Redwings.

* Two fairly unknown FIs recorded points in Saturday's match between the Vancouver Canucks and the host Colorado Avalanche. Wyatt Smith had a shorthanded assist for the Avs as they fell to the Canucks 4-3. The point was only Smith's third in 13 games. It was also Smith's first shorthanded assist since November 30, 2000 when Smith was playing for the Phoenix Coyotes in a 2-0 win over the Minnesota Wild, nearly a 7 year span! Taylor Pyatt had an assist on the third Vancouver goal. Since signing a contract extension in the offseason, Pyatt has struggled with only 6 points (4 goals, 2 assists) in 14 games. Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo is hoping to reverse a poor start. He stopped 29 of 32 shots to record the win, only his 5th in 13 starts. He is now 5-8-0 on the season with an uncommonly low .899 save percentage and a 2.93 goals against average.

Check back for all the intense and complex Former Islander action here at FIW.

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