The second to last day of preseason NHL was a busy one for Former Islanders. FIs made strides in 6 of those games. With so much to report let us take a look:
Defenseman and Boston captain Zdeno Chara continued to show off some offensive prowess on Sunday assisting on the Bruins' 2nd goal as they skipped by the host Washington Capitals 5-4 in SO. Chara has 2 points in as many games after scoring the lone goal in Boston's prior game, a loss to the Isles.
Winger Jason Blake would like to return to form and be a shining example for a Toronto team doomed by low expectations. Blake continued to show off his offensive skills as he received a powerplay helper on the Maple Leafs' 1st goal as Toronto lost a close one, 5-4 in SO, to the visiting Columbus Blue Jackets.
We know the season has not even started yet but, Captain Canada is back! Colorado winger Ryan Smyth continues to dazzle in the preseason with his grinder work ethic and superior positioning. Few players have had quite the preseason that Smyth has had and it showed again on Sunday as he recorded an assisted and then buried the game winner, a powerplay goal with only 1:53 remaining in the OT frame. The Avalanche eked by the host Chicago Blackhawks 4-3. If his play continues to be this, Smyth will quash questions about Colorado's ability to stay competitive this season.
Defenseman Jason Strudwick sailed a shot from the blueline to score the game winning goal for the Edmonton Oilers as they edged the host Dallas Stars 3-2. Strudwick's game winner came only 5:47 in to the 3rd period at even strength. Also getting involved was teammate and FI Robert Nilsson who assisted on the opening goal of the game only 1:11 in to regulation. Nilsson, Andrew Cogliano and Sam Gagner are drumming up lots of excitement as Edmonton's "Kid Line".
Goaltender Roberto Luongo's biggest victory of the preseason was being anointed captain of the Vancouver Canucks. Everything after that point is moot. But sporting the "C" on the chin of his helmet for the first time, Luongo suffered an OT loss as the visiting Anaheim Ducks beat the Canucks 4-3. Luongo stopped 24 of 28 shots but could not cease the lone shot of the OT frame to keep his squad in it.
Defenseman Brad Lukowich, dealt as part of the deal that sent d-man Dan Boyle from Tampa Bay to San Jose, netted the game winner as the San Jose Sharks captured a 3-1 win over the "host" Los Angeles Kings in a game hosted in the former Olympic town of West Valley City, Utah. Luko's goal came with only 2:57 remaining in the middle frame. He is looking to show that he has fully recovered from an injury that shortened his 2007-08 campaign.
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