The National Hockey League is finally back in action! No more preseason games, everything from now on counts towards the title everyone wants – Stanley Cup Winners.
Thursday saw 16 more teams take the ice for their first regular season game of the 2019/20 campaign.
Montréal Canadiens v Carolina Hurricanes
Erik Haula scored the tying goal in his debut for the Carolina Hurricanes, who rallied for a 4-3 shootout victory over the Montreal Canadiens in each team’s season opener at PNC Arena.
Lucas Wallmark and Martin Necas sent the hosts to a 2-0 lead, before Tomas Tatar, Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Jordan Weal all looked to have spoilt the party in Raleigh, but Haula leveled things at 6:55 of the third.
Dougie Hamilton had two assists and scored the only goal in the shootout, Brett Pesce, Teuvo Teravainen and Dzingle all had an assist for Carolina, and Petr Mrazek made 33 saves.
Dzingle, Jake Gardener and Joel Edmundson all made their debuts for the Hurricanes, whilst Carey Price made 40 saves for Montreal.
In the shootout Mrazek stopped Byron, Jonathan Drouin and Nick Suzuki, who was making his NHL debut.
Suzuki, who was selected by the Golden Knights with the No. 13 pick in 2017, was acquired by Montreal in a trade for Max Pacioretty in September of last year. He is also the brother of Canes forward Ryan Suzuki. They’re not the only brothers who had a rivalry last night (though R. Suzuki didn’t play) – Hurricanes defender Haydn Fleury was up against younger brother, Cale Fleury, who, also a defenseman, had one shot and four hits in 14:52 of ice time in his NHL debut and was denied beating his older brother to a first NHL goal by Mrazek.
Postgame Canes head coach Rod Brind’Amour told media “I liked everything in the third period. We just got to our game. I don’t know if it was shaking up the lines or guys just coming to realize that how we were playing wasn’t going to work. I give them a lot of credit for digging in and figuring it out.”
The Carolina Hurricanes celebrated their victory in true Canes fashion by bringing back the storm surge.
Canadiens v Leafs – Saturday, October 5 (7pm)
Canes v Capitals – Saturday, October 5 (7pm)
Florida Panthers v Tampa Bay Lightning
Sergei Bobrovsky allowed two third-period goals in his Panthers debut, a 5-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning in the season opener at Amalie Arena.
Nikita Kucherov, Kevin Shattenkirk (first game with Tampa), Ondrej Palat, Pat Maroon (won the Stanley Cup last season with the Blues) and Erik Cernak all scored for the hosts, with Mikhail Sergachev getting three assists and Alex Killorn racking up two. Andre Vasilevskiy made 35 saves.
With his goal Shattenkirk, who played for the New York Rangers last season, accumulated his 350th NHL point (75g, 275a), whilst Panthers defenseman Keith Yandle played his 798th consecutive game, the longest active streak in the NHL and fifth-longest in history – the record is 964, held by Doug Jarvis (1975-87).
Mike Hoffman and Vincent Trocheck scored, and Bobrovsky made 25 saves in Joel Quenneville‘s first game as Panthers coach.
Lightning v Panthers – Saturday, October 5 (7pm)
Winnipeg Jets v New York Rangers
Jacob Trouba had a three point game against his former team, and Artemi Panarin had a goal and an assist in their NY Rangers debut, a 6-4 win against the Winnipeg Jets at Madison Square Garden.
The Rangers acquired Trouba in a trade with the Jets on June 17 and signed Panarin to a seven-year contract July 1.
Trouba had a goal and two assists, Panarin had a goal and an assist, Marc Staal, Brendan Smith and Brett Howden also scored, Mika Zibanejad tied a single-game NHL career-high with four points (1g, 3a), and Henrik Lundqvist made 43 saves to become the sixth goalie in NHL history to reach 450 wins.
Lundqvist started the Rangers season opener for the 14th consecutive season, becoming only the second goalie in NHL history to start at least that many in a row with the same team (Martin Brodeur, 18, NJ Devils). He also trails Curtis Joseph by four for fifth place on the wins list.
Blake Wheeler scored twice, Kyle Connor and Mark Scheifele each scored one, and Nikolaj Ehlers had three assist for the Jets. Connor Hellebuyck made 26 saves.
The rookies didn’t have a bad night either with Rangers forward Kaapo Kakko, the No.2 pick in the 2019 Draft, having three shots on goal and four shot attempts in his 15:31 of ice time. Jets defenseman Ville Heinola, selected No. 20 overall, had an assist in 18:24 of ice time.
Jets v Devils – Friday, October 4 (7pm)
Rangers v Senators – Saturday, October 5 (7pm)
Buffalo Sabres v Pittsburgh Penguins
Conor Sheary scored two goals against his former team, lifting the Buffalo Sabres to their first regulation win against the Pittsburgh Penguins in 19 games dating back to April 23, 2013, a 3-1 victory at PPG Paints Arena.
Rasmus Dahlin also scored, Casey Mittelstadt registered two assists, and Carter Hutton, who is 4-0-0 in six games against the Pens in Pittsburgh, made 28 saves in Ralph Kruger‘s debut as Buffalo head coach.
Evgeni Malkin scored, Kris Letang and Sid Crosby (his 1,217th point, tying Larry Murphy for 42nd in NHL history) got the assists, and Matt Murray made 38 saves for the hosts, who were 8-0-1 in their previous nine home games against the Sabres.
Devils v Sabres – Saturday, October 5 (7pm)
Blue Jackets v Penguins – Saturday, October 5 (7pm)
Minnesota Wild v Nashville Predators
Matt Duchene had three assists in his debut for the Nashville Predators, a 5-2 win against the Minnesota Wild at Bridgestone Arena.
The Preds trailed 2-1 after the second period but scored four unanswered goals in the third, where Pekka Rinne made 12 of his 22 saves for Nashville.
Mikael Granlund scored against his former team when he redirected Roman Josi‘s shot to tie the game at 2-2 after 27 seconds of the third period. Austin Watson and Viktor Arvidsson scored for Nashville, whilst Ryan Ellis and Filip Forsberg each scored one and assisted another. Craig Smith‘s assist or Arvidsson‘s goal was his 300th NHL point.
Jason Zucker and Matt Dumba scored for Minnesota, and Devan Dubnyk made 27 saves.
Wild v Avalanche – Saturday, October 5 (9pm)
Red Wings v Predators – Saturday, October 5 (8pm)
Boston Bruins v Dallas Stars
Tukka Rask made 28 saves to boost the Boston Bruins to a 2-1 victory over the Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center.
Brett Ritchie scored against his former team on his first shift for Boston, and Danton Heinen came up with the game-winner.
Roope Hintz scored, Joe Pavelski had an assist on his Dallas debut, and Ben Bishop made 18 saves.
That’s as far as the good news for the hosts went – Blake Comeau was hit in the face with a puck in the first period and will miss multiple weeks with a lower-body injury sustained when falling awkwardly to the ice, forward Jason Dickinson (upper body) didn’t return for the second period and will be out for at least a week, and Roman Polak was also injured after hitting the boards awkwardly at 7:04 of the second whilst attempting to check the Bruins’ Chris Wagner. He left the game on a stretcher and was taken to the hospital for evaluation. Head coach Jim Montgomery said, “the good news is that Roman has full use of his extremities…. We hear he’s feeling pretty good at the hospital, but we don’t have results yet. We’re hopeful that he may be a player again in a couple of days.”
Following the injuries Dallas played with 10 forwards and five defensemen for the final 32:56.
Bruins v Coyotes – Saturday, October 5 (9pm)
Stars v Blues – Saturday, October 5 (8pm)
Calgary Flames v Colorado Avalanche
Despite missing training camp and the preseason due to free agency and having now signed a six-year contract extension, Mikko Rantanen looked fresh, scoring twice for the Colorado Avalanche in a 5-3 win over the Calgary Flames.
Joonas Donskoi also scored two on his Colorado debut after playing for the Sharks last season. J.T. Compher scored one, Cale Makar and Nathan MacKinnon had an assist, and Phillip Grubauer made 27 saves for the hosts.
Nazem Kadri (Leafs), Andre Burakovsky (Capitals), Pierre-Edouard Bellemare (Knights) and Valeri Nichushkin (Stars) all made their debut with Colorado after a busy summer.
On the other side of the ice, Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau each had a goal and an assist, and David Rittich made 27 saves for Calgary, who have now lost 10 consecutive season openers (0-9-1).
Canucks v Flames – Saturday, October 5 (10pm)
Wild v Avalanche – Saturday, October 5 (9pm)
Arizona Coyotes v Anaheim Ducks
John Gibson made 32 saves, and Derek Grant and Cam Fowler scored to ensure Dallas Eakins’ first game as Anaheim Ducks head coach ended in victory.
It was Fowler’s 14th game-winning goal of his NHL career, passing Scott Niedermayer for most by a defenseman in Anaheim History. He is one goal away from tying Niedermayer (60) for most by a Ducks defenseman.
Phil Kessel, in his first game as a Coyote after being acquired in a trade from the Pittsburgh Penguins on June 29, registered the primary assist on Derek Stepan‘s goal. Darcy Kuemper made 27 saves.
Bruins v Coyotes – Saturday, October 5 (9pm)
Sharks v Ducks – Saturday, October 5 (10pm)
ALL TIMES U.S. EASTERN