Ha! Some guy named Curtis Patrick on Wheeling just fought a big player on Atlantic City and did very well. It was a good fight, they both exchanged some solid hits and then Patrick landed a pretty hard left on his head when he was down.
It's 1-0 Atlantic City. They scored shorthanded a little bit ago; Eaves wasn't on the ice.
Well, you can just kind of tell that Eaves is a good player. I noticed that he is a smart defensive player, and does the kinds of things you need in an NHL game. He challenged a few players and won the puck off of them while he was out there. He's a good faceoff man, I am pretty sure he won every faceoff that he took, and won two of them completely clean. He has good skills with the puck, and used them when he was out there briefly at the end of the second power play. He was sort of working a QB role from behind the net, but the whole play wasn't set up. He kind of dug the puck out and went behind the net and stopped, making a few nice passes.
The most exciting play was when he split the defense and went in for a breakaway. The goalie made a nice save, but Eaves had a good burst of speed to get through the two defenders, and then was able to use his body to keep in front of them and keep them away from making a play on the puck, so that he could get a shot.
He only played maybe 6 or so shifts. He seems to be taking a regular shift but isn't playing much on special teams. He played for maybe the last 10 or 20 seconds on the one where he went behind the net.
But already I can tell why everyone who's seen him speaks so highly of him. He's a good hockey player.
Nailers just scored to make it 2-1. Eaves hasn't been on the ice for any goals for or against, but has played very well.
The second and third periods haven't had a lot of flow to them at all, but just before the goal, there was sustained pressure by Wheeling.
Hopefully they can tie it up. There's about 9 minutes to go. Eaves seems to have been promoted. He started the game on what seemed to be a third line and is now playing with Paddock and Jaffray, or at least he has in the third period and late in the second.
Nailers lost 2-1, it was very close. Jaffray had an open shot right at the end and shot a one timer from, but it hit the post and the buzzer rang.
Eaves was out there for the last shift, and was used consistently in the third period with offensive guys. He has good offensive skills, and was VERY good in one instance behind the net. An opposing defensemen was all over him trying to work the puck out, and Eaves was able to completely shake him off to make a play, but there was not really anybody to recieve the pass.
Overall I would say that it was a good debut for Eaves, and he doesn't look like he is rusty after missing all that time. Wheeling was 0 for 5 or 6 on the power play. Eaves hardly played on the power play, but did take a regular shift.
There was one play in front where I think Eaves might have guided a shot that grazed the post. It's hard to tell who's who sometimes. It was either Eaves or one of his linemates, and it might have hit the post or went just wide.
There was some choppy play for a while, but the flow was better near the end. You can just kind of tell from watching Eaves where the talk comes from. He was involved in a lot of plays, and I expect more of the same in the games to come with him. I don't think he will be in Wheeling very long, probably just this weekend.
Wheeling's loss may have had something to do with being down a defenseman. They had 5 all game. There was one extra forward and a lot of line combinations, but Eaves was used a lot near the end of the game, and was moved up for the third period.
Pens didn't deserve to win, but they should've. Every goal allowed, minus the EN, was the result of a mistake.
1st goal - Chiodo bobbles the puck
2nd goal - Albany scores off the faceoff
3rd goal - Koci passes the puck to a phantom player on the left wing boards in the defensive zone
4th goal - Lupaschuk plays the man with the puck and lets Suglobov get behind him, leaving Drew Fata as the lone man back
The Pens need to learn that all 60 minutes of the game are important. They coast way too much in the beginning of games.