Just because Wayne Gretzky laced up his skates in an alumni game over the weekend doesn't mean the NHL is back to the 1980s. Players are scoring an average of 5.98 goals a game, a far cry from the offense-happy days of Gretzky but an increase so far from every other year since 2005-06 when new rules were designed to boost scoring. An influx of young players, the preseason World Cup of Hockey and more backup goaltenders playing because of injuries have kept red lights flashing around the league.
The Minnesota Wild are basking in the glow of their most dominant and complete victory of the young NHL season, while the Buffalo Sabres are left wondering about the one that got away. The teams meet at 7 p.m. in Buffalo on Thursday night. On Tuesday, Devan Dubnyk made 27 saves in a 5-0 victory over the Boston Bruins.
The Pittsburgh Penguins regained their Stanley Cup-winning captain, and he made an immediate impact. Perhaps as early as Thursday night, when the Penguins -- already 4-0-1 at PPG Paints Arena this season, and 4-2-1 overall -- take on the New York Islanders. Matt Murray, who missed the first seven Penguins games as he healed from a broken right hand sustained during the World Cup, is practicing again and served as Marc-Andre Fleury's backup for the first time this season Tuesday night.