Alexander Ovechkin scored twice as the Washington Capitals erased a 3-0 first-period deficit and downed the Calgary Flames 5-4 in the shootout. Ovehckin now has three goals in two games and is not suffering from a slow start that plagued him last season.
Washington 5, Calgary 4-SO Box Goals: WSH-Ovechkin (2,3) first one was a PPG, Connor Carick (1), Nicklas Backstrom PP(1); CGY-Lance Bouma (1), Jiri Hudler PP (1), David Jones (1), Lee Stempniak (1) Goaltenders: CGY Karri Ramo 35-39 SOL, WSH Braden Holtby 8-11 ND-pulled after going down 3-0. Michael Neuvirth 27-28 W.
Analysis: Holtby got off to a poor start and got yanked. It proved to be the right decision as the team settled down with Neuvorth in net. It’s nice to see Backstrom get his first goal much earlier than last season. Ovechkin finished with 11 shots on goal. Mark Giordano picked up a pair of assists for the Flames but is still not yet worth rostering.
Phoenix 4, NY Rangers 1 Box Goals: NYR Marc Staal PP (1); PHX Radim Vrbata (1,2,3), Kyle Chipchurra (1). Goaltenders: NYR Henrik Lundqvist 28-32 L; PHX Mike Smith 23-24 W
Analysis: Vrbata scored a hat trick for the second consecutive game including last year’s finale. His second goal of the three was on the power play. It was Phoenix’s first hat trick in a season-opener since 1995. It was nice to see Staal back on the ice after the horrible eye injury he suffered last season. Martin Hanzal had a pair of assists for Phoenix.
Boston 3, Tampa Bay 1 Box Goals: BOS Chris Kelly SH (1), Milan Lucic (1), Patrice Bergeron SH (1); TB: Valtteri Filppula (1) Goaltenders: BOS Tuukka Rask 32-33 W; TB Anders Lindback 22-25 L;
Analysis: It was surprising to see Lindback get the call to start the season after Ottawa traded for Ben Bishop late last season. Hopefully special teams don’t cause this much of a problem for Tampa Bay as giving up two shorties in a game is rare. The teams combined to go 0-for-8 on the power play. Kelly’s goal was on a penaty shot and was the first time in NHL history a team scored its first goal of the season on a penalty shot.
Pittsburgh 3, New Jersey 0 Box Goals: PIT Chuck Kobasew (1), Sidney Crosby (1), Craig Adams (1); Goaltenders: PIT Marc-Andre Fleury 27-27 W; NJ: Corey Schneider 18-21 L
Analysis: The Pens open the year with a win and the big thing here was Fleury posting a shutout in the opener. He’s going to be under more pressure to perform with Tomas Vokoun out being out at least three months as he battles blood clots. Jeff Zatkoff is expected to be the backup but won’t see much ice time so he’s not worth rostering at this point. Thanks to a pelvic blood clot, the Pittsburgh goaltender situation has solved itself for now.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that James Neal left the game in the first period and didn’t return. He has an unspecified injury so the situation needs to be monitored.
Los Angeles 3, Minnesota 2-SO Box Goals: LA Jeff Carter (1), Drew Doughty PP (1); MIN: Matt Cooke (1), Jonas Brodin (1); Goaltenders: LA Johnathan Quick 27-29 W; MIN Niklas Backstrom 16-18 OTL
Analysis: Carter lit the lamp 26 times in the short season and just might continue it this season after scoring in the opener. Cooke’s goal is a surprise to say the least. Zach Parise had eight shots on net for the Wild. The Kings only put 18 shots on goal but should get higher shot totals going forward; its not a concern.
St. Louis 4, Nashville 2 Box Goals: STL David Backes PP (1), Vladimir Sobotka (1), TJ Oshie (1), Alexander Steen PP (1); NSH: Mike Fisher (1), David Legwand (1); Goaltenders: STL Jaroslav Halak 28-30 W; NSH Pekka Rinne 3-6 L pulled after 9:45 and the third Blues’ goal. Carter Hutton 21-22 ND.
Analysis: The Blues’ power play clicked twice including Backes’ tally 2:05 into the game. Rinne didn’t make it through the middle of the first period before he got yanked. Questions may arise over how well he’s recovering from off-season hip surgery. Remember, he didn’t play in the preseason and hasn’t gone the distance in a game since April. Head Coach Barry Trotz said Rinne was pulled to try and spark the team. What does it say when that’s happening on game one? Rinne can still be used, albeit with a grain of salt. Keep an eye on Hutton as a possible sleeper should Rinne falter further.
Florida 4, Dallas 2 Box Goals: DAL Alex Chiasson (1), Brenden Dillon SH (1); FLA Scott Gomez (1), Aleksander Barkov (1), Marcel Goc (1,2); Goaltenders: FLA: Tim Thomas 25-27 W; Kari Lehtonen 35-38 L;
Analysis: Thomas had a good start in goal to begin his career in Florida but I want to see more out of him before I jump on getting him. Anyone can have one good game and we don’t know how the Panthers will distribute starts. Goc’s two goals were a pleasant surprise and he could be worth a kick of the tires on the waiver wire. Defenseman Brian Campbell had a pair of assists for the Panthers in the win.
San Jose 4, Vancouver 1 Box Goals: VAN: Jason Garrison PP (1); SJ: Brent Burns (1), Tommy Braun (1), Tommy Wingels (1), Patrick Marleau (1); Goaltenders: SJ: Antti Niemi 21-22 W; VAN: Roberto Luongo 31-35 L
Analysis: The Sharks got a little measure of revenge against Vancouver, the team that broomed them out of the playoffs last season. The teams combined to go 1-of-14 on the power play so there might be a little rust there for both sides. San Jose was 0-for-8 with the man advantage. Martin Havlat was a scratch for the Sharks with a groin injury.
Friday’s Games (all times ET)
Ottawa at Buffalo 7pm Sens open their season
NY Islanders at New Jersey 7pm Islanders start their year
Detroit at Carolina 7pm Home opener for the Hurricanes
Calgary at Columbus 7pm Flames play back-to-backs
Los Angeles at Winnipeg 8pm Can the Jets’ offense continue?
Nashville at Colorado 9pm Will Colorado score big again?