BER-N, BABY, BER-N!
|MONTREAL - By giving up two first round draft picks to acquire center Patrice Bergeron, the Montreal Moose paid quite a hefty price to try and improve their team. But after Bergeron's first two games, it's beginning to look like their gamble may have paid off.
Bergeron scored a goal and an assist to give him five points (two goals, three assists) in his first two games for the Moose as Montreal won their fourth straight with a 4-2 home victory over the Winnipeg Jets.
"It's been a little bit of an adjustment, but I'm really happy to be in Montreal," said Bergeron. "I'm from Quebec, so it's nice to be back near my family, and this is a great hockey city and a great team, so I really think I'm going to enjoy it here."
Brad Richards also helped lead the Moose as his two goals and two assists, along with Bergeron's continued strong play, kept the Moose on the winning track.
After a scoreless first period, Winnipeg opened the scoring at 2:12 of the second as Corey Perry put home his 12th of the year, but the Moose would strike back with three goals to open up a two-goal lead later in the period.
Michael Funk got Montreal on the board at 4:26 with his 24th of the year to tie the game at 1, and then the Moose took the lead at 8:56 on Richards' 19th of the year. A Bryan Allen hooking call at 10:06 then put the Moose on the power play, and they would cash in as Bergeron scored his second as a Moose and tenth of the year at 11:03 to make it 3-1.
Justin Abdelkader would get the Jets back within a goal with 53 seconds left in the second period on his eighth of the year, but that would be as close as Winnipeg would get as Montreal added to their lead in the third with a power play goal from Richards - his second of the game and 20th of the year at 14:25 - as the Moose went ahead 4-2.
That was it for the scoring on the night as Montreal, thanks in large part to their new addition, kept up their winning ways.
TRADE WINDS CONTINUE TO BLOW ACROSS XHL - After a busy day of trades two days ago, two more substantial trades were pulled off yesterday with two of the normal culprits - the New York Empire and Brooklyn Red Bulls HC - were once again involved.
Brooklyn surprised some by trading winger Jonathan Huberdeau - who appeared to be having a breakout year in Brooklyn - along with young center Alexander Barkov and defenseman Justin Faulk to Los Angeles for highly-touted winger Nathan MacKinnon, defenseman Tyler Myers, winger Joe Colbourne and forward Sven Andrighetto.
Next, it was the Empire's turn as they continued their fire sale by shipping off Norris trophy-winning defenseman Michael Sauer to the Philadelphia Wildkatz in exchange for their first round draft pick next year, along with a fifth and a third rounder.
As it turned out, both New York teams would find themselves on the losing side last night following the deals. The Empire fell 5-4 at home to the San Diego Toros as Michael Ryder's two goals - including the game winner in overtime - and an assist led the Toros to a comeback from down 3-0. And in Vancouver, Radim Vrbata scored two goals for the Canucks as they knocked off Brooklyn Red Bulls HC 5-3.
SPICY CURRY - John Curry stopped 38 of 39 shots as the Dallas Freeze scored a big road win - 2-1 in Ottawa over the Rough Riders.
ELL OF A WIN - Matt Ellison snapped a 3-3 tie with a third period goal as the Anaheim Ducks defeated the Red Devils 4-3 in Quebec.
HAWKS DON'T SPEZZ OUT - Jason Spezza recorded a hat trick and an assist as the Chicago Blackhawks defeated the new-look Los Angeles Kings 4-3 at home. James van Riemsdyk also recorded four points in the win as he scored a goal and added three helpers.
QUIK LUB - Lubomir Visnovsky tallied three assists - one on each of the Cougars' goals - as Detroit edged the Stallions 3-2 in Denver.
THE HUSE IS ROCKIN' - Kristian Huselius' game-winner in the shootout helped Cam Talbot, who stopped 31 of 33 shots, to a win in his Seals debut as San Francisco edged the Calgary Inferno 3-2 at home.
TOMORROW: There are eight games on the schedule again, with Michael Sauer's Wildkatz debut taking center stage as Philadelphia visits Winnipeg (XHL Network, Sportsnet). Also, Los Angeles visits Las Vegas and San Diego travels to Dallas in crucial Gretzky division matchups.
2016 XHL SEASON - All times Eastern
Saturday, July 23, 2016
Los Angeles (black) at Las Vegas (white) - 10:30 PM - FS Prime Ticket, Cox Sports Las Vegas
New York (white) at Greensboro (maroon) - 7 PM - MSG, FS South
Minnesota (white) at New England (green) - 7 PM - FS North, CSN New England
Edmonton (blue) at Detroit (red) - 7:30 PM - SN West, FS Detroit
Chicago (red) at New Orleans (black) - 8:30 PM - CSN Chicago, Cox Sports Television
Calgary (red) at Toronto (black) - 7:30 PM - SN Inferno, TSN Toronto
Philadelphia (white) at Winnipeg (blue) - 8:30 PM - Sportsnet, CSN Philadelphia, XHL Network
San Diego (yellow) at Dallas (blue) - 8:30 PM - FS San Diego, FS Southwest