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Quick Takes From The NHL’s Opening Night; N&O Makes Travel Plans

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The results from hockey's opening night are in, and the popular topic is how good the Capitals looked in their win over the Bruins, who didn't look so good. 

But let's consider last night's game for a moment. Yes, Washington took control early and walked away with an easy 4-1 win, but I thought the opening moments of the game leaned toward the B's. At the same time, I was surprised to see Boston basically close up shop after Brooks Laich scored the opening goal, deflating both the Bruins and the hometown crowd. The final assessment? It's one game out of 82. Let's not get too far ahead of ourselves.

  • The Montreal-Toronto game was the best of the night, with the Habs coming out on top in overtime courtesy a Josh Gorges goal. It was a two-point night for Gorges, who had only two such night last season and 23 points for the year. Good thing, too, because Montreal will need him to step up his play. No. 1 defensemen Andrei Markov is out three to four months after surgery was performed following a tendon injury in last night's game (no one seems to specifying it it's a knee or ankle tendon). It's a huge blow to the Habs, specifically because they have struggled on the power play since letting Sheldon Souray and Mark Streit leave via free agency in consecutive seasons.
  • How about them Avs? Either the youngsters in Colorado don't know they're supposed to lose, or the jersey retirement ceremony for Joe Sakic inspired them to victory. Regardless, not many people expected the Sharks — debuting their latest acquisition, Dany Heatley — to get punked by the expected NHL doormats in Colorado. One good thing out of San Jose: stripped captain Patrick Marleau had both of the Sharks' goals and looked good. From this seat, Marleau has gotten a bum rap from the higher-ups in San Jose, so it's good to see him playing well to start the year. Heatley, on the other hand, looked out of sorts and finished with a minus-3 with three shots on net. 
  • The Brent Sutter era got off to a good start in Calgary with the Flames knocking off Vancouver 5-3. While Miika Kiprusoff did outplay Roberto Luongo head to head, don't pin this loss on the Canucks' goalie. The Flames got an early lead on two power play goals and the Canucks never could settle into their game. 
  • The puck drops soon in Scandinavia, with Florida and Chicago facing off at noon in Helsinki, Finland, and St. Louis and Detroit dropping the puck at 3 p.m. in Stockholm, Sweden. You couldn't pick a better team than Detroit to play in Stockholm, given all the Swedes on the Wings' roster, but who picked the Blackhawks and Panthers to go to Finland? Panthers defenseman Ville Koistinen is the only Finn set to play in the game. Surely there was a better choice (hint, Carolina, hint).
  • News & Observer assistant sports editor Steve Ruinsky got back to me after I e-mailed him about the newspaper's planned coverage of the Canes this season. He confirmed that tomorrow's Hurricanes game in Boston would be staffed (presumably by beat writer Chip Alexander), but that they're "still working on how many games we'll go to overall." In February the N&O stopped traveling with the Canes for road games, but resumed with the regular season finale at Boston leading up to the postseason. They then covered the team both at home and on the road throughout their run to the Eastern Conference finals. We'll have to take a wait-and-see approach to the N&O's long-term plan for hockey coverage.