Performances of the Weekend
1. The Oilers Kids: In one night, Jordan Eberle, Taylor Hall and Magnus Paajarvi injected life into Edmonton's historic franchise hope in a 4-0 win over archrival Calgary on Thursday. Eberle scored his first NHL goal and added an assist. Hall -- the first overall pick in June -- and the gifted Paajarvi didn't even crack the score sheet. No matter. What they represent to the Edmonton fanbase is incalculable.
2. Derek Stepan, Rangers: In his first NHL game after bolting the U. of Wisconsin, the Rangers center had a hat trick. The 20-year-old became just the fourth player in NHL history to score three goals in his NHL debut. No one is anointing Stepan as a rising star. It is probably fair to say, however, that many teams wish they could re-do the second round of the NHL draft in 2008. Stepan went 51st overall that year.
3. Nathan Horton, Boston: His critics say a change in teams won't result in a change in attitude for the up-and-down Horton, who begged out of rebuilding Florida. Early on, the signs are good for the flashy center, who is still just 25 years old. After scoring two goals in garbage time on Saturday in Prague after his Bruins fell behind 5-0, Horton had a goal and an assist Sunday in Boston's 3-0 victory in the rematch.
4. Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay: What does the 51-goal scorer do for an encore? With new general manager Steve Yzerman watching from a suite, new coach Guy Boucher behind the bench and expectations now out of control, Stamkos scored two goals and added an assist in the Lightning's season-opening win over Atlanta.
5. Doug Weight, Islanders: Written off by many and returning for another season at age 39 after major shoulder surgery, the Islanders' captain willed his team to a comeback from a 4-2 deficit in the third period against Dallas on Saturday. Looking better than he has since winning a Stanley Cup in Carolina four years ago, Weight had a goal and two assists in the 5-4 shootout loss. (CB)
Plays Of The Weekend
1. Derek Roy, Buffalo Sabres: Some great hand-eye coordination and plenty of concentration allowed Derek Roy to opening the scoring for Buffalo this season. He ended up providing all of the offense for the Sabres on Friday night, scoring both goals in their 2-1 win at Ottawa.
2. Paul Stastny, Colorado Avalanche: One of the NHL's surprise teams a season ago, the Colorado Avalanche started their season in style on Thursday night be knocking off the Stanley Cup Champions in overtime thanks to Paul Stastny's game-winning goal.
3. Samuel Pahlsson, Columbus Blue Jackets: Sometimes it's not the goal itself that's the highlight. Sometimes it's something that happened prior to the goal that is worth pointing out, as was the case on Saturday when Columbus' Samuel Pahlsson stepped up in overtime and forced a neutral zone turnover that led to Ethan Moreau's game-winning goal. Pahlsson is one of the more underrated -- and better -- defensive forwards in the NHL, and he made his presence felt on this play. He doesn't get an assist or show up on the box score, but if it's not for him the goal never gets scored.