With the NHL season back in full force and 13 different games played on Opening Day, there were a lot of players who made big impressions right out of the gate. Here’s a look at some of the guys making waves on Jan. 19.
In a game where Patrick Kane scored the first goal of the 2013 season and the Kings’ Stanley Cup banner raising didn’t go as well as their fans imagined, Hossa proved that he has recovered from the concussion he suffered last summer. He scored two goals and added an assist on that aforementioned Kane goal to kick off the Hawks’ campaign on a 5-2 high note.
Neal scored a goal, took seven shots on goal, put up two hits, had a +1 rating and played a little more than 16 minutes. An honorary mention goes to Marc-Andre Fleury getting his 227th career win, which puts him first in the Penguins record books in that category.
Karlsson kept up the offensive production that helped get him the Norris Trophy last June by putting up a goal and two assists in Ottawa’s 4-1 win. “Erik is something else,” said his goalie Craig Anderson. “He beats to his own drum. He’s able to do whatever he wants, whenever he wants.”
Kessel was a point-per-game man last season and could do it again this year. Sure, it’s just one game, but he scored two points–both of them assists–en route to the Leafs’ somewhat improbable 2-1 win over the Habs, something that could just help Toronto faithful feel positive.
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Many hockey minds questioned Rask’s readiness to take over Boston’s starting job following the departure of Tim Thomas. His performance against the Rangers may help soothe their doubts. He stopped 20 of the 21 shots he saw, including both of the ones taken by new Blueshirt Rick Nash, to get a .952 save percentage.
Brodeur notched a .947 save percentage in his team’s 2-1 win over the Islanders, but the bigger picture here is the fact that the third oldest player in the NHL this season started his 20th season with the Devils tonight. Yes, 20 years for the 40-year-old, who said that the run to the Stanley Cup Final last season made him feel half his age.
Speaking of older players doing big things, St. Louis was a huge part of Tampa Bay winning 6-3 over their division rivals by assisting on the first goal of the night, scoring a power play goal and then adding another goal that sparked a three-goal Lightning storm–pardon the pun.
It took Huberdeau only two shifts of his first-ever NHL game to score his first goal. With that, the player who had a 105-point season with the Saint John Sea Dogs in 2010-11, kicked off his welcome party, though he’d later add two assists to help push the Panthers to a 5-1 win.
Yes, there are two notable players for this game because it was a thoroughly unusual game–the Blues won by a 6-0 margin. Stewart and Tarasenko both scored two goals apiece, both took five shots on goal and both played about the same time on the ice. However, Stewart put up one more hit than Tarasenko.
Tyutin spent almost 25 minutes on the ice, put up two assists, had four shots on goal and two hits. In the end, the Blue Jackets would need the first shootout of the season to decide their 3-2 win, though.
One of the other three oldest players in the NHL this season, that time spent playing for the Czech team Jagr owns served him well. He scored twice and put up two assists, scoring those two goals on just three shots taken, to help Dallas beat Phoenix 4-3. He scored the first goal of the night and helped on the last one.
Okay, I’m going for another two-pack here because Parise and Heatley both contributed big time to Minny’s 4-2 win. Heatley scored twice, both times on the power play–and Parise had the primary helper on both of those goals. Parise also took eight shots on goal in his debut with his new team, while Heatley had five attempts on net. Honorable mention to captain Mikko Koivu, who also had two points, both assists.
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#teemuforever. That’s basically all I really have to say, but he also had a huge night, scoring two goals and adding two assists to help out in a big way as Anaheim beat Vancouver 7-3. But seriously, can he just play forever?