The NHL season has just begun, and the first full weekend of the regular season is now in the books. Even before the weekend drew to a close, there were a number of interesting games and unusual occurrences. Here’s a the weekend wrap-around.
As Capitals fans know, the Caps had back to back games on Friday against the New York Islanders on the road and returned home on Saturday for their home opener against the Carolina Hurricanes. The first game, when Ilya finally came to the NHL, the Caps won 2-1. The only blemish, an unusual plinko-styled goal by the Islanders:
— NoVa Caps (@NoVa_Caps) October 5, 2019
The second game was all too reminiscent of Game 7 of the first round of the playoffs from last season. The Caps lost 3-2 in Overtime, giving up two goals during the third period and showing that they had no legs in the second game of a back to back sequence that, as an added bonus, was the third game in four days.
But the NHL featured several other notable games. Below is a summary of the more notable games from the weekend.
Friday October 4
The Philadelphia Flyers and Chicago Blackhawks played their Global Series game in Prague, Czech Republic. The Flyers won that game 4-3. The game featured a goal by Alexander Nylander, two goals by Travis Konecny, and a game winner by Michael Raffl.
The Winnipeg Jets reenacted the Caps “Miracle of 33rd Street” game when they played the New Jersey Devils. Caps fans may remember the game of Dec 23, 2008. The Caps team, decimated by injuries, met the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden, fell behind 4-0 during second period, but came back to tie the game 4-4 and won in a overtime by a 5-4 score. The Jets had a game following almost the exact sequence. Except they won their game in a shootout.
— NHL GIFs (@NHLGIFs) October 5, 2019
The San Jose Sharks lost their second game in a row to the Las Vegas Knights, this time losing their home opener and getting clobbered 5-1 in the process. A line brawl was initiated soon after the Sharks scored their lone goal. After that brawl, Vegas goaltender, Marc-Andre Fleury gave a stick to a Sharks fan in attendance. The game was also notable for being Fleury’s 800th NHL game.
When some bro says his hair has better volume than yours pic.twitter.com/rT11ci1Ldm
— Justin Emerson (@J15Emerson) October 5, 2019
Saturday October 5
Caps fans already could attest to the fact that playing three games in four days doesn’t typically enhance team performance. Another example to prove that point took place. The Toronto Maple Leafs had won their first two games of the year, a 5-3 win against the Ottawa Senators on Wednesday and a 4-1 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday. But Saturday was another story, when they played the Montreal Canadiens. While Montreal struck with the first goal of the game, Toronto then scored four unanswered goals and were ahead 4-1 five minutes into the third period. However, the Habs struck back and tallied with four goals of their own to take the lead. Toronto tied it up, but Montreal won in a shootout 6-5.
The Edmonton Oilers and Los Angeles Kings were another example of a ‘defense and goaltending’ optional game. The game featured five tying goals and 12 lead changes. Conor McDavid had a goal and three assists, Anze Kopitar had an goal and two assists, and James Neal’s first goals with Edmonton. The final score was 6-5 in favor of Edmonton. That game was the Kings’ season opener.
The New Jersey Devils, after being the victims of the “Miracle of 33rd Street” reenactment had to play a game the very next day, unlike the New York Rangers who at least got a Christmas break when they experienced the original. This time, the Buffalo Sabres clobbered them 7-2. Buffalo, meanwhile, had beaten the Pittsburgh Penguins in their opener 3-1.
The Saint Louis Blues showed why they were Stanley Cup winners during the 2018-19 season and this time reversed the script of their opener. They had fallen behind 2-1 to the Dallas Stars but tied the game during third period and got another goal later in the period for a 3-2 win.
After losing their opener, the Pittsburgh Penguins did much better in their second game. They beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 7-2. However, they also lost Evgeny Malkin to injury.
And finally, those Jerks from Carolina have now opened the season with three comeback wins, all in extra time, whether it be an overtime (2) period or a shootout (1).
By Diane Doyle