By Kyle Larkin
There are three games on the NHL schedule Monday night, with two old Western foes back at it, a Cup contender taking on a lottery contender off to a better than expected start – and the Battle of Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia.
San Jose at Detroit
The San Jose Sharks are the only team left in the league without a loss in regulation, sporting a 7-0-1 record through eight games. Detroit sits in a tie for first in the Atlantic with the Toronto Maple Leafs and are looking to take an early hold on the tight division. However, that task may be a tall order as the Sharks are 8-2-1 in their last 11 games against the Red Wings.
San Jose’s goals-per-game is currently sitting at a 4.88 clip, 1.13 higher than the next highest team, the Pittsburgh Penguins. (NHL.com)
Though Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg share the team lead in points with 11, 40-year-old Daniel Alfredsson is not far behind with nine points in nine games. (NHL.com)
Player to Watch: Antti Niemi has played every game to start the season and has a tidy 1.86 GAA and a .921 save percentage. He sits second in the league in TOI with almost 484 minutes all ready, and even has two assists.
Colorado at Pittsburgh
Tonight’s matchup is a clash between division giants as first place Pittsburgh squares off against first place Colorado – with both teams looking to go 8-1-0 to start the season. Colorado’s icy defense will try to stymie Pittsburgh’s hot offence, led by the unstoppable Sidney Crosby. Tonight’s tilt is the first time Cole Harbour natives Crosby and Nathan MacKinnon will square off. Colorado has yet to lose on the road and Pittsburgh has yet to lose at home. Someone will have to crumble.
"Duchene and O'Reilly have been dominant, to be honest with you," said coach Patrick Roy. Matt Duchene is the only Avalanche player scoring at a point-per-game pace, with nine points through eight games. (NHL.com)
Evgeni Malkin has eight points in a six-game point streak. Pascal Dupuis has seven points in a five-game point streak. Chris Kunitz has eight points in a four-game point streak. How do you decide who to focus on? (NHL.com)
Player to Watch: How do you not go with Sidney Crosby? The Kid is tied for first in goals, tied for first in assists, and has five more points than anybody else. He’s third in ice time for forwards and has the highest percentage of team faceoffs taken with 43 percent.
Calgary at Los Angeles
This is the first of five matchups this season as these teams become division opponents. Both teams are thirsty for points as the Sharks, Ducks and Coyotes own the top three spots with hot starts to their seasons. The Flames have dropped two straight in regulation since opening the year with points in five consecutive games. The Kings’ top two centers, Anze Kopitar and Mike Richards, have yet to score a goal. LA won all three meetings last season.
Jiri Hudler has had a point in all seven games with the Flames so far this season. (NHL.com)
Though Kopitar has no goals, he leads the team in points with eight assists. Richards is fourth with five assists. (NHL.com)
Player to Watch: Rookie Sean Monahan is surprising everyone with a fiery start to his Flames career. He’s tied for second among rookies with eight points in seven games.