Can't beat the Thrashers ... At least not so far. With their 4-1 win over the Bruins last night, Atlanta is on top of the NHL with seven points in four games. With Washington, Tampa Bay and Carolina all wallowing in the Eastern Conference basement, a quick start from Atlanta will make them the front-runners for their first division title. The amazing part? Ilya Kovalchuk is still goalless.
Vive Les Habitants ... Montreal was outshot for the third game in a row last night in Philadelphia, but still came out on top with a 3-1 win. The Flyers are lucky to be even 1-2-1 this season given the way they've played, and the loss of Mike Rathje on the backend is really going to hurt.
Coyotes get the Motown blues ... Phoenix is coming up lame early and often for the second season in a row, and you have to wonder if GM Mike Barnett has the same sort of wholesale remodeling in order that he pulled last year after the first 25 games or so. Mathieu Schneider picks up a hat trick (!) in a 9-2 Detroit win, but there's just one thing I can't help but wonder: How on earth did Red Wings defenceman Niklas Kronwall end up -1 out of this laugher?
Champs looking like chumps ... Game No. 4 in the Carolina Hurricanes' title defence ends with loss No. 4, and this one came in a lopsided 6-3 defeat at the hands of the decidedly unmighty Florida Panthers. Jacques Martin's crew now has the most goals in the league (15), a strange situation indeed for the notably stingy coach, and Todd Bertuzzi and Olli Jokinen look poised for huge offensive seasons. Joe Nieuwendyk managed to injure himself already, and sat this one out, and Stephen Weiss picked up big minutes in his stead.
Something smells foul in Long Island ... I know they won, but boy was it ugly — and undeserved. GM Garth Snow's merry crew managed to somehow eke out a 5-4 shootout victory over the previously undefeated Anaheim Ducks, but it came down to Alexei Yashin (!) scoring on a knuckle-puck with less than four minutes remaining in order to force the game that far. Mike Dunham played well here, which is a good thing given he faced 50 shots, but you wonder just how many starts coach Ted Nolan can give him with the $8-billion man sitting (unhappily) on the bench. Chris Simon was also terrific for the Isles (one goal, two assists), while Anaheim's Sam Pahlsson showed a scoring touch I didn't think he had. Given that this was New York's best showing so far this season, and they were outshot 50-24, well, I think it's safe to say it'll be a long year in circus town. Ducks miniature rookie Ryan Shannan scored a beauty of a goal in the shootout.