The Toronto Maple Leafs had the night off, but the NHL had ten games on the Thursday night lineup.
Hockey is back in full swing! After the Toronto Maple Leafs took down the Montréal Canadians on Wednesday night, the NHL graced us with 10 games on Thursday to quench the thirst of hockey fans everywhere.
There were shutouts, defensive stalemates, an 80s offensive throwback, and too many overtime thrillers to count, all for us to enjoy!
Let’s celebrate the return of hockey by looking back at a busy October 4th in the NHL!
Apparently the Bruins (1-1-0) really don’t like getting blown out 7-0 on opening night and decided to Hulk smash their way through Buffalo en route to a 4-0 victory. The 2018 first overall pick Rasmus Dahlin was made mute, recording only two hits and a giveaway, and Jaraslav Halak stopped all 32 shots the Sabres (0-1-0) sent his way. Meanwhile everyone’s favorite hockey player (Sarcasm) Brad Merchand had a four point night, showing that evil will always prosper in the NHL.
I guess I stepped into a time machine and took a trip to the 1980s as the Pens (1-0-0) and Caps (1-0-1) combined for 13 goals in a very exciting game in Pittsburgh. Everything was clicking offensively for both sides while their defenses imitated blocks of swiss cheese. In the end it was Kris Letang who fired the overtime winner past Braden Holtby to start the Pens’ season off with a win.
If I would have told you the Islanders (1-0-0) would pick up the win in their season opener despite being out-shot 46 to 20, you would’ve locked me in a mental ward. But Thomas Greiss cosplayed as a brick wall in Raleigh last night, stopping 45 shots to steal the victory for the Islanders in the Hurricanes’ (0-0-1) home opener. Fun fact: This was the tenth 40-plus save performance of Greiss’ career.
The “New” New York Rangers (0-1-0) had their moments, but could only muster two goals on 36 shots as the Preds (1-0-0) squeaked by with a 3-2 victory. Marc Bergiven’s greatest mistake P.K. Subban tallied a goal and three hits while Pekka Rinne stopped 34 of 36 as he begins his campaign for his second consecutive Vezina Trophy.
The Blue Jackets (1-0-0) begin their journey to finally win a playoff series by traveling to Detroit (0-0-1) and breaking the hearts of their fans and octopi. Artemi Panarin had a two point performance, with his goal being the game winner in the sudden-death period. Once again, Panarin showed why the organization should cough up all of money in the world to keep him in Columbus next summer.
Oh goody, it’s ANOTHER overtime game, this time from the land that happiness forgot, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. The Sens (0-0-1) looked like they were on their way to their first win in the post-Erik Karlsson era, then the Hawks (1-0-0) tied the game in the third and stabbed Sens fans in the heart with a Patrick Kane overtime winner. On a brighter note, Maxime Lajoie recorded his first career assist, followed by the first goal of his career to give the Sens a glimmer of hope for the future.
The Jets (1-0-0) used the Scottrade Center as their temporary runway and took down the Blues (0-1-0) in St. Louis. The 42 shots by the Blue were not enough as Connor Hellebuyck stopped 41 shots, showing that extension he earned over the summer was money well spent. In former Toronto Maple Leafs news, Tyler Bozak had a secondary assist on the Blues’ only goal of the game in the third period.
A shut out in the Lonestar State as Ben Bishop’s 30 save performance was more than enough for the Stars (1-0-0) against the Yotes (0-1-0). In more former Toronto Maple Leafs news, the recently traded Connor Carrick had two assists on the night, and Steve Dangle captured the reaction of Leafs’ Nation beautifully.
The Wild (0-1-0) got off to a hot start in this one with Zack Parise giving the Wild the lead early, then the men in green forgot how to put the puck in the net. The Avalanche (1-0-0) scored four unanswered goals (including two empty netters), Semyon Varlamov stopped 20 of 21, and the Avs went three for three on the penalty kill to keep the Wild in check for the rest of the game.
Last year the Golden Knights (0-1-0) were able to pull a Western Conference title out of their hat, for their next trick they’ll go zero for three on the power play and allow the Flyers (1-0-0) to come into their building to stomp them up and down the ice. “The Curse of Gritty” officially begins as the Flyers chase Marc-Andre Fleury after scoring five goals on 16 shots, with former Toronto Maple Leaf James van Riemsdyk contributing an assist in the third period.
While we wait for the Toronto Maple Leafs tilt with the Senators on Saturday, it’s always nice to check out what’s going on around the league, and last night was the perfect night to be a hockey fan. So many overtime contests and back-and-forth games that show us why we love hockey, and we should be looking forward to the season ahead.