The NHL finally opened their 100th season on Wednesday as there were four games to start the schedule.
The NHL was created in 1917 and the first games were played on December 19 as the Montreal Canadiens defeated the Ottawa Senators 7-4 while the Montreal Wanderers knocked off the Toronto Arenas 10-9. There were only four teams in the league so everyone played.
We do not have scoring like that in the NHL at this time.
It’s a big year for the NHL as a result, celebrating 100 years as North America’s second longest major sports league.
There is lots to talk about tonight so let’s get to it.
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TORONTO 7 WINNIPEG 2
It looked to be all Winnipeg in the opening 15 minutes of the game but as much as the Jets dominated, Leafs goalie Frederik Andersen dominated even more.
The officials cracked down on everything they said they would in the off-season as Leo Komarov was called for using illegal equipment (his visor was not over his eyes) as one of three power plays in the first period. The Maple Leafs weathered the storm, thanks to great penalty killing and the superb effort of Andersen and then scored three times in 2:38 to quiet the raucous crowd and give Toronto a 3-0 lead after one.
Nazem Kadri scored the first goal of the NHL season and it was a power play effort at the 15:45 mark and then James van Riemsdyk at 17:40 and William Nylander at 18:23 completed the scoring in the first period. The Maple Leafs picked up goals from all three lines in taking the lead.
The officials continued in the second to fix things as the Leafs were called out a couple of times (Eric Fehr and Connor Brown) for having their sweaters tucked into their pants and the linesman actually re-taped the top of Andersen’s stick as the tape was blue and not white. But these were only warnings and not actual penalties.
The second period was 8:32 old when Patrick Marleau, playing his first game in a Toronto uniform, scored the 509th goal of his career. The first 508 came with San Jose whom he played for, for19 seasons.
That was all the scoring in the second as Andersen continued to frustrate the Jets and when Marleau scored his second of the game just 36 seconds into the third, that was all there was to write about for Steve Mason who was pulled in favor of Connor Hellebuyck after facing only 20 shots. Hellebuyck gave up a couple of goals on 11 shots as the play was a bit shoddy after Toronto made it 6-0 on Mitch Marner’s power play effort.
Mark Scheifele broke the shutout bid of Andersen with less than eight-and-a-half minutes to go in the third but Auston Matthews with his first of the season restored the six goal margin. Mathieu Perreault completed the scoring in the 7-2 romp for Toronto.
Andersen made 35 saves in the win.
Auston Matthews had a goal and two assists, a step down from last year’s debut when he scored four times. Van Riemsdyk also had three points.
The Maple Leafs were 2-4 on the power play while Winnipeg was scoreless in eight attempts.
ST. LOUIS 5 PITTSBURGH 4 (Overtime)
Alex Pietrangelo’s overtime goal was the winner as the Blues spoiled the night the Penguins received their Stanley Cup rings and put up the banner to signify winning the 2017 Stanley Cup.
Pietrangelo’s second goal of the game was the only shot on goal in overtime as the Blues beat Pittsburgh 5-4.
Justin Schultz opened the scoring for the Penguins but Brayden Schenn, in his first game as a Blue, tied things up at one before Colton Parayko gave the Blues a 2-1 lead heading into the second period.
Olli Maatta with his first (boy there were an awful lot of defensemen goals in this game) tied it at two before Pietrangelo gave St. Louis the lead again with his first of the game.
Paul Stastny put the Blues up by two but the Penguins managed to tie it up as Sidney Crosby scored on the power play and Conor Sheary, who had an outstanding rookie season in 2016-17 before struggling in the playoffs, put the Penguins even and sent it into overtime, setting up Pietrangelo’s heroics.
Pietrangelo had eight shots on goal.
Carl Gunnarsson had four blocked shots.
EDMONTON 3 CALGARY 0
McDavid had all three goals for the Oilers in their 3-0 shutout over their provincial rivals, the Calgary Flames and none were prettier than his second goal as he outskated everyone from his own faceoff dot and beat Mike Smith with a little flick of his wrists.
McDavid led the NHL last season with 100 points which included 30 goals. If he starts scoring like he did on Wednesday night, he will once again win the Art Ross but by even more than the 11 points last season.
Cam Talbot turned aside all 26 shots for the shutout.
Mike Smith was sensational in the Calgary cage with 42 saves on 44 shots as the last McDavid goal was into the empty net.
The 27th shot of the game by the Oilers was a bullet by Oscar Klefbom who ripped the helmet off Smith but Smith kept the puck out of the net.
Leon Draisaitl had a pair of assists and it looks like the Oilers are going to be hard to beat this season.
PHILADELPHIA 5 SAN JOSE 3
Wayne Simmonds second goal of the game was a power play goal in the third period and it held up as the winner as the Flyers found their way to San Jose and came away with a 4-3 win. He also scored into the empty net to complete the hat trick.
It was the third road win of the night as only the Oilers were able to win on home ice.
The Flyers opened the scoring in the first as Claude Giroux and Jordan Weal gave Philadelphia a 2-0 lead but Kevin Lebanc scored twice including a power play goal with 19 seconds left to tie the game at 2 entering the second period.
Simmonds scored his first of the game in the second and it was the only goal of the stanza.
But Logan Couture scored in the third period to tie it up, and then gave up the stage for Simmonds.
Both hat tricks on Wednesday (Simmonds and McDavid) finished with an empty net goal.
Brian Elliott picked up the win as he stopped 32 shots for the win.
Martin Jones got the start for the Sharks and he turned aside 26 shots for the loss.
Sean Couturier led both teams with six shots on goal as well as four hits.