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Early Surprises!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


by

 

Mitch Goldenberg


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Yes, we are only two games into the 2013 NHL season, but in a 48-game campaign, those two games are doubled in importance and intensity. Thus, we find it appropriate to evaluate player performances after just three days of the season. We didn’t want it to be this way, NHL and NHLPA, but you gave us no choice! Here are the early surprises.



Thomas Vanek:



Boosted by a five-point performance in Sunday’s win over the Flyers, Vanek and his linemates Jason Pominville (5 points) and Cody Hodgson (2 goals) haven’t missed a beat. Vanek has been on the ice for all seven of Buffalo’s goals this season, and has registered a point in six of them, which gives him the sole league lead for points in the early going.



The Anaheim Ducks:



With twelve goals in their first two games, last year’s dreadful season seems unlikely to persist. Free agent signing Daniel Winnik has four goals and an assist through two games, making him just seven goals shy of his career high. His linemates Saku Koivu and Andrew Cogliano have five and four points respectively, while Ryan Getzlaf and Teemu Selanne have contributed a cool four points each in the opening two games.



Vladimir Tarasenko



You definitely didn’t spend a high draft pick on this Russian sniper for the St. Louis Blues, but after two games, he’s playing elite hockey. With three goals and two assists through his first two NHL games, he’s found a home on the Blues’ second line and the power play, and is so far exceeding the point-per-game pace he set this season in the KHL.



Cory Conacher



This Tampa Bay Lightning rookie has been a natural scorer throughout his career in collegiate and AHL hockey, and is continuing that trend in the NHL. With two points in each of his first two games, he’s been a welcome addition beside seasoned veteran Vinny Lecavalier and Teddy Purcell on the Lightening’s second line and is tied for the team lead in points with some guy named Steven Stamkos.



Craig Anderson



With just one goal against in his first two games, the veteran Senators goalie has his team off to a perfect start. Certainly not one of the top goalies taken in your draft, Andy is the undisputed starter in Ottawa, plays for a young, improving team and is already 2-0 with a 0.50 goals against average, .983 save percentage and a shutout.



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