He didn't get the red-carpet treatment that the Chicago Blackhawks received for their home opener, but Nashville Predators goalie Dan Ellis will certainly take the two points as a consolation prize. With a workmanlike 23 saves for the game, Ellis stopped Patrick Kane and Martin Havlat in the skills competition while Rich Peverley and J.P. Dumont scored for the Predators. He was also strongest when the team needed him most: The first period, when the sold out crowd had Chicago pumped up. In what could be a tight divisional race for second place, this extra point was an important one for Nashville.
And playing the role of Sean Avery this evening for the Rangers was Mr. Voros, who agitated the New Jersey Devils all night while scoring two power-play goals in the 4-1 win at MSG. While he didn't attempt to reinterpret the Avery Rule, Voros was a disruptive force in front of Martin Brodeur. On what turned out to be the game-winner in the second period, Voros deflected a Daniel Girardi point shot past Brodeur, and then taunted defenseman Colin White as the horn blared. Last year, it would have been called typical Avery; now, it's vintage Voros.
No. 3 star: The Bros. Kostitsyn, Montreal Canadiens
Andrei Kostitsyn scored at 0:54 of the second period to break a scoreless tie against the Philadelphia Flyers, and then later sparked an offensive rush that saw Alexei Kovalev find Roman Hamrlik to tie the game, 2-2. Then it was Sergei Kostitsyn's turn: Picking up a secondary assist on Mike Komisarek's fluky deflection off of Scottie Upshall's stick, 44 seconds after Hamrlik scored, and then finding Robert Lang right in front of Marty Biron to make it 4-2, Habs. Despite some inconsistent moments for Carey Price, making his first start in Philadelphia since last year's playoff meltdown, Montreal went on to win, 5-3.
Honorable mention: Thomas Vanek scored his "first short-handed goal at any level of hockey" and had another goal on the power play to help lead the Buffalo Sabres to a 7-1 shellacking of the New York Islanders on Monday afternoon. ... Paul Kariya's first goal of the season tied the game in the third, and Andy MacDonald and Brad Boyes converted in the skills competition to lead the St. Louis Blues over the Toronto Maple Leafs, 5-4. ... ConkBlock made 27 saves in his Detroit Red Wings debut while Nicklas Lidstrom and Tomas Holmstrom scored power-play goals for a 3-1 win over the Carolina Hurricanes. ... The Washington Capitals played one of the best defensive games in recent franchise history, limiting the Vancouver Canucks to 10 shots for the game and one shot in the second period in a 5-1 win in front of goalie Brent Johnson. In case you missed it: Sergei Fedorov was on defense last night for the Caps. Seriously. ... Finally, despite his bonehead move in the loss to the Habs, the Flyers' Scott Hartnell plans on apologizing to new teammate Andrew Alberts for his injurious hit last season.
Dishonorable mention: Marty Brodeur's whiff on a Brandon Dubinsky slap shot for the Rangers' first goal was the kind of softy he usually waits until the playoffs to give up to the Blueshirts. ... Not only will Ryan Hollweg of the Leafs earn another suspension for his boarding major on Blues rookie defenseman Alex Pietrangelo, but the St. Louis players called him out for being a poor skater and a slow learner. ... Finally, Monday's lesson learned: Dressing like a bad-ass ninja doesn't do a damn bit of difference if your forwards can't put the puck in the net against Detroit:
- Nashville Predators