Toronto Maple Leafs at Montreal Canadiens
Welcome to the 2013-14 season! Puck dropped in Montreal to kick off the start of the first full season under the new CBA that saw a portion of last season locked out to obtain.
Earlier in the day the Maple Leafs made it official that they signed Phil Kessel to an eight-year $8 million per year ( Salary Cap Hit) contract; and it didn’t take Kessel long to point up his first point. Just over eight (noticing a theme?) minutes into the game Kessel assisted on a power play goal by James van Riemsdyk to give the Leafs the first lead of the season.
Not to be out done just a couple minutes later the Canadiens tied the game with a goal from Lars Eller before Brendan Gallagher would take the lead back for Toronto before heading off to intermission. Less than five minutes into the second it would be Colton Orr and George Paros squaring off for their first fight of the season – and game.
Leafs Captain Dion Phaneuf would tie the game back up while a short-handed goal from Tyler Bozak would give Toronto the lead heading to the second intermission.
Third period would see Mason Raymond score to make it 4-2 for the Maple Leafs but the big story would be the second fight of the game between Orr and Parros that would see Parros leaving the ice on a stretcher and headed to the hospital.
Does fighting still belong in the NHL? Does the NHL enforcing a no removing your own helmet in a fight rule have some merit? There are arguments for both sides of these questions but fighting aside the helmet did nothing to help Parros last night as he fell face first onto the ice. Perhaps a cage would have helped but not everyone can even agree to wear visors in the NHL, the idea of a cage being worn without a mending jaw is not even going to be heard.
Eller ended the scoring with an unassisted wrist shot as the Canadiens fell to the Maple Leafs 4-3
Washington Capitals at Chicago Blackhawks
Another Stanley Cup banner hangs in the United Center as the Blackhawks raised their newest banner before starting their campaign to defend the cup for 2013-14.
It would not take the Blackhawks long before Brandon Bollig would get the first shot past Branden Holtby this season. Chicago would not keep the lead for long as Bolling would go off for two minutes for interfering with Mike Green and it would be Capitals captain (freshly back from Greece) Alex Ovechkin with his first of the season to tie the game. Ovechkin and the Capitals would not celebrate long as less than thirty seconds later Patrick Kane would give the Blackhawks the lead before intermission.
Second period would see Mikhail Grabobski tie the game as Russian Machines still refuse to break for Washington. It would be a hooking call on Capitals rookie Conner Carrick that would lead to a power play goal for Brent Seabrook giving the banner raising home team the lead once again.
Mike Green would waste no time and notch a power play goal of his own less than a minute into the third period. A tie game would give way to the Capitals first lead of the season when Grabovski scored a power play slapshot goal.
With two unanswered power play goals from the Capitals Chicago rallied and Brandon Saad would net a backhanded shot to tie the name while Johnny Oduya would net a slap shot of his own to give the Blackhawks the go ahead goal.
After killing off a 5-on-3 the Blackhawks would be awarded a 6th goal after Marian Hossa was taken down by Mike Green going for the Capitals empty net.
The Champions would end up winning their banner raising game 6-4 over the visiting Capitals.
Winnipeg Jets at Edmonton Oilers
In case you were sleeping on the east coast the Jets flew in to Edmonton for a Western Conference match up to start the season.
In a tit-for-tat start it would be the Oilers to strike first as Luke Gazdic with a backhanded shot past Ondrej Pavelec to get things started.
Early penalty problems for the Oilers would lead to a power play goal by Mark Scheifele to tie the game up with less than three and a half minutes ticked off the clock.
Bryan Little would give the Jets the go ahead goal only to have Dustin Byfuglien called for tripping and lose the Jets lead to a power play goal from a Boyd Gordon tip-in of a shot from Justin Schultz. With the second period starting all tied up it was like a new game to start the second when Ales Hemsky would but in a snapshot off a feed from Taylor Hall to give the Oilers the early in a period lead again. It would be a puck over the glass from Paul Postma that would lead to a power play goal from Jesse Joensuu to give the Oilders a 4-2 lead.
After three unanswered goals from the Oilers it would Michael Frolik with the first of a series of answers as he put a writ shot in with assist to Zach Bogosian and rookie (first NHL game rookie) Jacob Trouba. Shortly after a fight between Gazdic and C Thorburn would see both players sit for five.
The third period started with the Oilers leading the Jets 4-3; it would be Trouba just over halfway through the final period with an unassisted slapshot Devan Dubnyk to tie the game at four.
Just over five minutes left in the game would see Frolik tip-in the game winning shot from Eric Tangardi to give the Jets the 5-4 win to start the season.
Wrap Around News
Tampa Bay Lightning have named Martin St. Louis the 9th Captain in franchise history. Matt Carle, Steven Stamkos and Nate Thompson were named alternate captains.
“Marty embodies everything a captain should be. The captaincy is one of the highest honors in hockey and Marty is well-deserving. We have a great group of leaders on this team and I’m sure Marty will receive plenty of support moving forward,” Lightning Head Coach Jon Cooper.
Buffalo Sabres announced co-captains yesterday for this season. Yes, Co-Captains. Thomas Vanek will serve as the Sabres captain for home games while Steve Ott will wear the “C” for road games (like tonight in Detroit). Not to be lost in the captain(s) announcement is that of defenseman Christian Ehrhoff being named the alternate captain - for all games.
Not to be left out in the West for captaincy announcements the Edmonton Oilers named Jordan Eberle, Sam Gagner, Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Nick Schultz and Ryan Smyth Assistant Captains. Everyone is getting an A in Edmonton – well except maybe the team on decision making. Chicago Blackhawks raised their fifth Stanley Cup banner last night:
Tonight’s Line Up
Toronto Maple Leafs at Philadelphia Flyers
Buffalo Sabres at Detroit Red Wings (NBCSN)
Anaheim Ducks at Colorado Avalanche