We are proud to welcome famed hockey journalist James Mirtle to the post of NHL Closer writer this week.
Brodeur Rising. Atlanta's Ilya Kovalchuk notched a beauty in this one, taking over the NHL goal-scoring lead with 22 in 26 games, which puts him on pace for 69 on the season. [insert joke below] The real story in this one, a 3-2 shootout win by the Devils, was Marty Brodeur, who has now won seven in a row and allowed only eight goals in his last eight starts. Which leads me to blame remarital bliss for the NHL's scoring woes. The once-struggling Devils are now tied for fourth in the East, likely due to the extra practice they get every time their new rink is cordoned off while they're still inside. (Or so Barry Melrose told me.)
Luongo's Wild Ride. Few things make a grown man cry quite like getting annihilated in fantasy sports, and given my hapless teams were both pitted against Roberto 'No Goalo' Luongo this week, it's been a tear-filled time in Mirtleville. Heading into the Canucks' 2-1 loss to the Minnesota Wild last night, Roberto hadn't let in a goal in more than 210 consecutive minutes, posting three shutouts in a row and slightly lessening my will to live. It took a green, hulked out Sean Hill firing a rocket at the net, combined with a tip by Eric Belanger, to finally beat Bobby Lou. Very satisfying free lap dances for all!
Goilers! The Edmonton wing of the blogosphere was on death's door not two weeks ago, deflated due to a lack of Gary Coleman, and this prompted the team to start winning a few games. Every Oilers-Ducks game this season has a sublime subtext, with Anaheim holding Edmonton's first-round pick this June, but the Oilers took this one and are on a 5-2-0 roll. Only in Alberta would a 30-year-old Italian man's return from a debilitating bout of ulcerative colitis inspire lyrical prose.