Just A Thought
@ESPN_Burnside: Must admit we were a bit skeptical of all the Flyers-on-the-rebound talk the past few weeks. And while they did actually win some games, something that was a marked departure from how they approached the first month of the season, the fact they hadn't really beaten any teams of note outside of Pittsburgh left us wondering about the reality. That's why we're curious to see how the Flyers make out on their current six-game road trip. It began with a shootout win over Nashville on Saturday but that was followed by a dispiriting 2-0 loss to Minnesota on Monday. The Flyers managed just 10 shots through the first two periods and didn't look much like a team that had turned any kind of offensive corner. The Flyers have managed just seven goals in their past five games and now head off to Detroit, Dallas, Ottawa and Chicago, at the end of which we will truly know whether the Flyers are really on the rebound or just another of the many clunky teams currently taking up space in the Eastern Conference.
@Real_ESPNLeBrun: All road trips are not created equally. A three-gamer for the St. Louis Blues in Colorado, San Jose and Los Angeles was portrayed by the team as a nice barometer of where they stand as one of the league's powerhouse teams. An opening win in Denver got the Blues off to a great start, but a 6-3 loss in San Jose on Friday followed by Monday night's 3-2 loss at Los Angeles left a sour taste, especially the loss to the Kings. Having lost playoff series to L.A. the past two seasons, you know the Blues wanted to take care of business Monday night, but falling behind 3-0 pretty much sealed their fate. They woke up in the third period and made it interesting, but it was yet another loss to those darn Kings. It was the Blues' lone regular-season visit to Staples Center, so if they want to exorcise some demons there they'll have to hope for the chance in the playoffs.
@KatieStrangESPN: Let's be honest: no matter how good Cam Talbot has been since assuming the backup role in New York, it is still crazy to suggest he can pose any real challenge to Henrik Lundqvist's status as the No. 1 goaltender for the Rangers. The 26-year-old Talbot has been phenomenal, showing poise and steadiness that has earned the respect and trust of teammates and coaches alike, but the sample size is still small. He has made just eight NHL starts, and while Monday night's 5-2 loss to the Winnipeg Jets was the first time during that span that he has surrendered more than two goals, Lundqvist has been the team's most consistent performer year after year. I don't fault Alain Vigneault for rewarding Talbot against the Jets with his second straight start over Lundqvist -- nothing wrong with riding the hot hand, especially when the team is struggling to gain traction like the middling Blueshirts -- but it would be crazy to think he won't return to the former Vezina Trophy winner in Buffalo on Thursday. Talbot is proving himself a bona fide NHL goaltender, and has surpassed the team's expectations in his dazzling debut, but Lundqvist is still the backbone of the franchise and, unless contract negotiations really go off the rails, that won't change anytime soon.
@CraigCustance: Doug Weight and Bill Guerin were among the Americans inducted to the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame on Monday night. Watching the career retrospectives and seeing how much respect both have among people in hockey was just a reminder of the bright future both still have in the game. Guerin is a player development coach with the Penguins and said he's soaking up every bit of knowledge that comes with working closely with guys like Ray Shero, Dan Bylsma, Jason Botterill and Tom Fitzgerald. Guerin is carefully working his way up the ladder. Weight, on the other hand, may be ready for a bigger role. He's an assistant coach with the struggling Islanders, and if GM Garth Snow is looking to change the voice behind the bench, the best candidate might be right in front of him. "I think he's had a huge impact on that young team," said Guerin of Weight. "I played with a lot of those guys. I know how they feel about Dougie. I know Dougie's passion for the game, I know his knowledge for the game, the way he is with people. He's going to be a fantastic head coach."
Quote Me On That
"I was telling him about a guy back home who scored on his first seven shots, so he's got a ways to go."
-- Olli Jokinen on teammate John Albert scoring his first NHL goal on his first shot on goal
• Flyers: 3rd shutout loss this season (1st on road)
• Kings: 4-0-0 vs Blues since start of last season
• Canadiens: 6-0-1 in last 7 games, allowing 2 goals or fewer in each
• Martin Brodeur: lost 4 straight starts
• Devils: 1st regulation loss in last 10 games vs Canadiens
• More from ESPN Stats & Information »