Your Weekly Spartans in the NHL Report
Mike Weaver had a phenomenal week for the Panthers. The veteran notched a goal and two assists in four games. Both of his assists came against the Flyers on Thursday during Floridaâ€™s 5-2 win. The first was a secondary assist to Peter Muellerâ€™s first period goal. He was then credited with a primary helper on Tomas Kopeckyâ€™s tally, which made the score 2-0 in favor of the Panthers. The assist was Weaverâ€™s sixth of the year and fourth in five contests. One day later, Weaver added his seventh point and first goal of the season in a 3-1 loss to the Penguins. The second period tally, a tip-in, gave the Panthers a slim lead in the second.
Left winger David Booth made his season debut this week for Vancouver. After missing the beginning of the season with a groin strain, Booth returned to action on Tuesday against the Blackhawks. Booth would record five hits in the contest, but Chicago beat the Canucks in a shootout, 4-3.
Lightning winger Adam Hallâ€™s week was quite eventful. He recorded a secondary helper on Richard Panikâ€™s game-sealing third period goal in an eventual 5-2 win over the Hurricanes on Saturday. The veteran right winger got in a fight with Joe Vitale of the Penguins the next day. Hall and Vitale exchanged a number of blows before the two fell to the ice. Vitale and the Penguins would go on to win the game, 5-3.
After serving 15 years as Buffaloâ€™s head coach, Lindy Ruff was fired on Wednesday. Ryan Millerâ€™s week wasnâ€™t much better, as he suffered three losses to drop his record to 6-10-1 on the season. He stopped 26 of 28 Winnipeg shots in Ruffâ€™s final game on the Buffalo bench, a 2-1 loss to the Jets. Two days later, the Sabres goalie turned away 33 shots, but allowed three goals in a loss to the Maple Leafs. The teamâ€™s struggles continued on Saturday during a shutout loss to the Islanders. Miller saved 28 shots on the day, but New Yorkâ€™s power play unit was unstoppable, as the Islanders tallied each of their four goals when Buffalo had a man in the penalty box. The Sabres have been forced to rely on Miller a great deal this season, as the defense has allowed opposing offense to pepper Miller with shots. The veteran goaltender has faced 562 shots on the year, tops in the NHL. A lack of explosiveness on offense has also haunted the Sabres, leading to a disappointing season thus far.
Winnipeg center Jim Slater had a relatively quiet week, as the Jets flew to a 3-1 record. The veteranâ€™s best performance came on Tuesday during Winnipegâ€™s narrow 2-1 victory over the Sabers. Slater recorded two shots and five hits on the night.
The Spartan-Red Wing duo of Justin Abdelkader and Drew Miller played a major role in Detroitâ€™s 2-1-1 record on the week. Miller scored his second goal of the season on Saturday in a 4-0 triumph over the Predators. The left winger sent a wrister past Nashville netminder Pekka Rinne to give Detroit a 1-0 lead in the first period. Abdelkader provided a secondary assist on Niklas Kronwallâ€™s insurance goal in the second, making the score 3-0.
Duncan Keith helped the Blackhawks stay undefeated in regulation, as Chicago picked up a trio of wins this week. The defenseman supplied a secondary assist on a Marian Hossa slap shot that whizzed by Vancouver goalie Cory Schneider in the second period of Tuesdayâ€™s matchup with the Canucks. The Blackhawks would secure the victory in a shootout, 4-3. Friday brought another narrow win for Chicago, this time a 2-1 triumph over the Sharks. Keith again chipped a helper, a secondary assist on Brandon Saarâ€™s tally that sealed the â€˜Wâ€™ for the Blackhawks. The veteran defender now has ten assists on the year.
The pair of Spartans playing for the Oilers each had quiet weeks. Defenseman Jeff Petryâ€™s notable performance came on Saturday during a 3-2 win over the Coyotes. Petry was credited with three hits, two shots, one takeaway and a blocked shot. Fellow blue liner Corey Potter was scratched twice this week, only playing on Saturday against Phoenix. He had two shots, one hit and four blocked shots in the contest.
John-Michael Liles did not play this week for the Maple Leafs. The Toronto defender was a healthy scratch, as he has not played up to head coach Randy Carlyleâ€™s expectations thus far.