Devils vs. Avalanche
The Devils had their season opener at home today against the Avalanche. Going in, the Devils were favored to win. They had home ice advantage, and have had a better record than Colorado in the last few seasons. As such, this game went very much as I expected it to. The Devils opened the scoring early in the first period. Then, they added to their lead with a second goal less than three minutes into the second period. Midway through the second, the Avalanche got on the board, cutting the Devil's lead in half. Unfortunately for Colorado, this was to be their only goal of the game. New Jersey answered with a third goal in the final 30 seconds of the period. The Devils then sealed Colorado's fate with a short-handed goal just over halfway through the final period of play.
- Devils rookie defenseman Will Butcher made three assists, all on power plays, making him the first player in franchise history to score three points in his first NHL game!
- Rookie Jesper Bratt scored a power play goal in his first NHL game!
- Carl Soderberg had the Avalanche's lone goal for the game.
- Cory Schneider made 40 saves on 41 shots in his season opening win for New Jersey!
Canucks vs Oilers
The Canucks also had their season opener at home today. Unlike the Devils vs. Avalanche game, this one did not go quite the way I expected. I thought the Oilers would come out of this contest on top. It was a close game, and the Oilers did find the net first, and quite early at just 1:08 in. After that, however, the remainder of the first and all of the second period were all about the Canucks. Vancouver put up three unanswered goals, following Edmonton's initial score, in the first two periods! The Oilers came back again in the third period to put their second goal in, but just did not have enough in them to overcome the Canucks.
- Oilers goalie Cam Talbot was pulled from the game early in the second, after letting in three goals on just seven shots!
- Connor McDavid was kept off the scoreboard for the first time in 16 regular season games. The last time he failed to find the net in a regular season game was back on March 12, 2017.
- Bo Horvat put up two of Vancouver's three goals!
- Jacon Markstrom blocked 33 of 35 shots against him to help bring home the win in tonight's season opener!
Hurricanes vs Wild
The final opening game in this 2017-18 season was the Carolina Hurricanes! Carolina faced off against the Wild in what turned out to be the closest game of the night. This was a fast-paced back-and-forth game throughout, which was fun to watch. Carolina had five different players find the back of the net tonight, and Minnesota had four different players put up their goals tonight. As you can see, both teams demonstrated great depth. This game was a nail-biter right down to the very end!
- Minnesota didn't mange to tie the game at four until the very final second of regulation when Mikko Koivu found the back of the net. Talk about cutting things close!
- The Wild did well keeping the score close given that they only had 27 shots on goal as opposed to the Hurricanes 42!
- Alex Stalock did a fantastic job of keeping his team in the game, which ultimately went to a shootout. He blocked 37 shots - that is 10 more than the Wild put on goal all night!
- Scott Darling made 23 saves in his first game as a Hurricane, including two shootout saves!
- This is the first season opener that Carolina has won in seven seasons!
News and Highlights from the Other 12 Exciting Matchups
There was a very full hockey schedule this Saturday, as there often is during the regular season, with 15 games played. I do not have the time or the space to do a full write-up on each of them. That being said however, there were some important things that happened in some of those other games tonight as well.
- Alexander Ovechkin made his second hat trick in two games played. He is the first NHL player in 100 years to make back-to-back hat tricks in a seasons first two games! He also has a total of seven goals in just two games played.
- The Pittsburgh Penguins played their best game so far of the season. Matt Murray stopped all 26 shots against him! This was great to see after he missed five of 31 shots on Wednesday, and let six get past him on Thursday's horrifying game against Chicago! It was good to see Murray back to the elite goaltender we have come to expect.
- This was Murray's sixth shutout in a career 62 NHL starts.
- The Kings Captain Anze Kopitar made not one but two goals in the Kings 4-1 victory over the Sharks. Kopitar had only 12 goals all of last season, so putting in two tonight does a lot to restore fans' confidence in the man the Kings just gave an 80 million dollar contract to last year!
- The Kings now have a 2-0-0 record after winning both of their first two games, something that has not happened in 15 years!
- Brandon Saad of the Chicago Blackhawks now has four goals in just two games!
- Flyers ended an eight-game losing streak against the Ducks by beating them 3-2 in overtime!
- The Vegas Golden Knights have won both of their first two regular season games, tonight's in overtime!
- The Golden Knights have only four goals in their first two games, none of them have been made without the help of James Neal. Neal scored their only two goals on Friday, he assisted on Schmidt's goal that sent the game to overtime tonight and scored the game winning over time goal!
- Toronto has put up more goals in two games than almost any other team in the league. They had seven in their season opening win on Wednesday against the Jets, and had an astounding eight tonight against the Rangers to put up their second win of the season, at a final score of 8-5! That puts them tied with Chicago at 15 goals in these first two regular season games.
- The Red Wings and Senators went scoreless until the last three minutes of regulation. In that final three minutes, both managed to score forcing overtime, which then went on to a shootout, which the Red Wings came out of victorious! A very exciting ending for a game that was so very slow to start!