The National Hockey League (NHL) season is back and #IsItOctoberYet can rest until next June. After an exciting offseason that sent the Columbus Blue Jackets’ star forward, Artemi Panarin to the New York Rangers and their Vezina-trophy-winning goaltender Sergie Bobrovski to the Florida Panthers, the NHL season started on Wednesday, October 2 with four games. The biggest, being the matchup between the 2019 Stanley Cup Champions, St. Louis Blues and the 2018 Stanley Cup Champions, Washington Capitals.
The Blues were the first to strike, scoring two quick goals, one in the first minute of the game and one seven minutes later. However, Capitals captain Alexander Ovechkin managed to find the back of the net one time before the period ended to cut the Blues’ lead in half. Washington was the only team to strike in the second period, tying the game up at two goals apiece. After a scoreless third period, the two teams went into overtime, where Jakub Vrana was able to score for the Capitals, giving them a 3-2 overtime win.
Another highly anticipated game was between the Chicago Blackhawks and Philadelphia Flyers. This 2010 Stanley Cup final rematch took place in Prague, Czech Republic. After a sloppy start from both teams in the first 10 minutes, the Flyers were the first to score in the first period. However, just over a minute later, newly acquired forward Alex Nylander scored for Chicago, tying the game at one goal apiece.
The Flyers scored two goals in the second period, including one goal with two minutes remaining, looking to enter the third period with a two goal lead. However, with thirteen seconds remaining in the third period, the Blackhawks managed to cut the Flyers’ lead in half with a late power play goal, making the score 3-2 entering the third period.
Philadelphia was the next to strike in the third period, giving them back their two goal lead. With the goaltender pulled in the final few minutes of the game, the Blackhawks were able to get within one, but it was not enough. Despite Patrick Kane’s three points for Chicago, it was not enough to top Travis Konecny’s two goals. The Flyers took the game 4-3 in Prague.
Fans were pumped to see what the New Jersey Devils had to offer after an exciting offseason. The team acquired all-star defenseman P.K. Subban from the Nashville Predators and the first overall pick in the 2019 NHL draft, Jack Hughes. However, the star of the Devils’ game versus the Winnipeg Jets was the Devils’ center, Blake Coleman who scored twice, including a spectacular goal in which he shot the puck with one hand on his stick past the Winnipeg goaltender while falling down after out racing the opposing defensemen.
Coleman’s goal gave the Devils a commanding 4-0 lead in the second period. However, the Jets did not back down, scoring one goal with 11 seconds remaining in the second.
The Jets got to work in the third period and in the first twelve minutes of the period the game was tied up 4-4. The two teams managed to lock each other down the rest of the game, sending it into overtime. After a scoreless overtime, the game went into a shootout where the Jets eventually prevailed, winning the game 5-4.
Another exciting game from the weekend was the matchup between the Original Six rivals Montreal Canadiens and the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Maple Leafs are an early prediction for the 2020 Stanley Cup Championship, with studs Mitch Marner and Austin Matthews as well as their newly named captain, John Tavares.
Eight seconds into the game, Max Domi picked up right where he left off last season, scoring the game’s first goal for the Canadiens. Austin Matthews was able to respond six minutes later for Toronto to tie the game up at one. Toronto scored one more goal late in the first period to give them a 2-1 lead over Montreal entering the second period.
Under two minutes into the second period, the Maple Leafs doubled their lead with a beautiful 2-on-1 goal by Trevor Moore. Toronto scored their fourth goal of the game just over five minutes into the third period to give them a 4-1 lead over Montreal. However, eleven seconds later, Montreal was back within two after a crazy shot that trickled into the net by Johnathan Drouin.
Montreal scored two more goals in the next five minutes including a penalty shot goal to tie the game up at four with seven minutes remaining by Jeff Petry.
Phillip Danault scored another goal for the Canadiens to put them ahead with just under five minutes remaining. However, Matthews was not done yet.
With 1:15 remaining in the game and the goaltender pulled, Matthews picked up a rebound on his backhand smoothly pulled the puck to his forehand to find the back of the net and tie the game up, sending it to overtime. Despite an exciting overtime in which the Canadiens held a power play, the game was decided in a shootout.
The game was eventually decided by a matchup between each team’s star player, Carey Price, the Montreal goaltender, and Tavares, the Toronto forward. Carey Price came out on top giving the Montreal Canadiens a 6-5 lead and spoiling the Toronto Maple Leafs’ home opener.