Vokoun has been inconstant this season, and was following a stellar performance from backup Craig Anderson in a win over Ottawa. There's really no better way to cement your status as the big dog than 47 saves against the San Jose Sharks, giving the Panthers a 4-3 win at home. Vokoun improved to 10-1-1 in his last 12 starts against San Jose. As Panthers defenseman Keith Ballard so eloquently put it: "That's why we have a goalie."
There were actually two instances of former players' vengeance tonight. Nikolai Zherdev returned to Columbus with the New York Rangers, playing through cheers and boos for a three-point night (1-2-3) in the Rangers' 3-1 win over the Blue Jackets. But Hossa gets the nod here, breaking a 1-1 tie in the first period and then giving the Red Wings a 3-1 lead in the second. He ended up with an assist on Daniel Cleary's empty netter, as Detroit defeated Hossa's old mates on the visiting Atlanta Thrashers, 5-3.
The captain came through tonight for Philly, as Richards played an exemplary game and had four assists to help lead the Flyers to their first victory of the season, 6-3 over the mighty sloppy New Jersey Devils. Even more impressive: Richards' big game came after the winless Flyers learned that Danny Briere will be on the shelf for a month with a torn abdominal muscle.
Honorable mention: Here's hoping Rangers coach Tom Renney is OK after getting a stick to the noggin on the bench, losing consciousness during the second period. ... It was a double rarity for the Anaheim Ducks: Ryan Getzlaf scoring a goal, and scoring a goal on the power play. It was just the insurance that they needed for a 4-3 win against the Ottawa Senators. ... Cory Stillman had two goals and an assist, including the game-winning goal, in Florida's victory over the Sharks. ... Jason LaBarbera only had to stop 15 shots for the Los Angeles Kings, winning 4-0 over the St. Louis Blues on a strange night.
Dishonorable mention: How strange? Gov. Sarah Palin dropped the first puck to a passionate mix of cheers and boos in St. Louis (does that music get louder?), sticking around to cheer on a Cam Janssen fight and waving a Blues foam finger from the box of team owner and Republican donor David Checketts. And Blues starting goalie Manny Legace injured his hip after slipping on the carpet laid out on the ice for Palin's entrance, leaving after one period of play. But no hard feelings, as Legace told the AP: "She's been pretty good for our game ... I'm starting to like her more and more. No grudge." Here's Palin in St. Louis: