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Oilers' Eberle not the only one looking good in new venue

by | Staff Writer

Jordan Eberle scored a spectacular goal for the Edmonton Oilers on opening night, and it might stand up as the best one in the NHL this season.

The 20-year-old forward made an inside-outside move to get around a Calgary defenseman and then toe-dragged the puck before flipping it over Flames goalie Miikka Kiprusoff, a play destined for the highlight reels even before it was over. It was dramatic career start for the Edmonton rookie and, for a new face in a new place, a very good first impression.

Entering Friday, Clarke MacArthur already has four goals in three games. (AP)  
Entering Friday, Clarke MacArthur already has four goals in three games. (AP)  
But Eberle wasn't the only one to do that during the first week of play. Here's a look at some of the others.

Clarke MacArthur, Maple Leafs: Toronto's new big offensive gun? Probably not, because MacArthur hasn't been that kind of threat in three-plus NHL seasons. But the Leafs signed him to a bargain contract after Atlanta walked away from an arbitrator's award, and MacArthur has already scored four times in Toronto's first three games, all wins.

Nathan Horton, Bruins: After getting stuck in neutral with the Panthers, the change of scenery was supposed to unleash the scoring power that got him drafted third overall in 2003. So far, so good. Horton had a strong training camp with the Bruins and carried it into the regular season, scoring three times in the first two games.

Sergei Bobrovsky, Flyers: He could be the latest in a long line of goalies passing through -- or maybe not. The 22-year-old goalie was courted by many teams after a great KHL season but signed with the Flyers and has been very good and very consistent. Bobrovsky caught a break when starter Michael Leighton went down early in camp, and he's making the most of it.

Jordan Eberle, Oilers: "The Goal" got him on everybody's radar and, for the time being at least, has broken Eberle out of the Oilers great pack of rookies. First overall pick Taylor Hall is supposed to be the focal point of the bunch the organization is pinning its revival hopes on, but he has struggled and so has Magnus Paajarvi. Eberle has put up some points and is one of Edmonton's few plus players.

Anders Lindback, Predators: Who? Don't worry, lots of people around the league don't know Lindback. Nashville drafted the Swede in the last round in 2008, and he has been in goal since Pekka Rinne got hurt in the season opener. Meanwhile, Nashville won its first three games and Lindback had a .925 save percentage.

Derek Stepan, Rangers: He was the top-rated prospect in the organization who left the University of Wisconsin early to turn pro and captain Team USA to a World Junior Championship gold medal last season. New York always needs productive centers, and Stepan launched his career the way only three others in NHL history have, with a hat trick in the season opener.

Marty Reasoner, Panthers: Reasoner is a bargain-priced 33-year-old veteran who was brought into Florida to give the team some much-needed depth up front. But Reasoner has been productive offensively despite playing only 13 minutes a night, and he's winning nearly 60 percent of his faceoffs.

John Carlson, Capitals: Carlson got his first NHL taste during last spring's playoffs and handled himself well. Now the 20-year-old rookie is picking up where he left off. He had five points in Washington's four games, playing 19 minutes a night.

Willie Mitchell, Kings: There have been no physical problems so far, so Mitchell has been able to do just what he is supposed to for the Kings. He's a tough stay-at-home type who's been playing nearly 24 minutes and is a plus-3, which makes him a very good complement to Drew Doughty.

Matt Cullen, Wild: Offense has always been a problem in Minnesota and the jury is still out on whether it will be much better this season. But the power play has been good so far, with six goals in 11 tries, and Cullen is one of the catalysts. He has two goals and four points of his own too, and is better than 57 percent in faceoffs.


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