Well, here we are a month of the NHL season in the books and already we’ve had plenty go on in the 1st month. So in this piece, we are going to take a look back at the 1st month of the season and highlight some of the happening from this 1st month of the new season.
We start with opening night, October 12th in Ottawa, where the Maple Leafs and the Senators kicked off the start of the NHL season. It was also the debut of Auston Matthews, the #1 overall pick in the draft and what a debut it was for him! Matthews recorded a four goal game in his 1st NHL game. He became the 12th rookie in NHL History to score a goal in his debut and the 1st player to score four goals in his first NHL game. Currently, Matthews is in the top-10 in the league in scoring with 10 points (6 Goals and 4 Assists). So far, so great!
Down the Trans-Canadian Highway in Edmonton, the Oilers are making headlines themselves. The Oilers have stormed out of the gates with a 7-2 start, leading both the Pacific Division and the Western Conference. They also boast the leading scorer in the National Hockey League with Conor McDavid, the #1 overall pick in last year’s NHL Draft. Coming into tonight, McDavid leads the league with 12 points (five goals, seven assists).
The Oilers are anchored by their goalie; Cam Talbot, who comes into tonight with a perfect 5-0 mark. A month in it looks like Gretzky’s Oilers but one thing is certain, these Oilers are not the walkover Oilers of the past few years.
We’ve also had the 4th Heritage Classic, Canada’s version of the Stadium Series and it took place on October 23 in Winnipeg, Manitoba between the Oilers and the Jets. The Oilers used a 3-goal 2nd period and a 31-save shutout by Cam Talbot to win it 3-0.
Back on the Trans-Canadian Highway, we turn onto the 401 and Canadian I-20 and head into Montreal. Where once again the Canadiens are off to their usual fast out of the gates start and into the top spot start in the league. 8-0-1 = 17 points, 5 clear in the Atlantic Division and 3 clear of Edmonton as the best team in the NHL. It doesn’t seem as if they miss PK Subban does it? Shea Weber, who came to Montreal in the trade that sent Subban to the Music City so far has turned roses for the Habs. Weber leads Montreal with 10 points (4 Goals and 6 Assists). Carey Price, who missed most of last year with an injury is back with a 5-0 mark so far this season.
From Canada to the State of Hockey – Minnesota, where the Wild are off to a 6-2-1 start and leading the Central Division by 1 over St. Louis. So far, things are looking rosy for Bruce Boudreau in year one as the Minnesota coach. He has a deep team that is 2nd in the NHL in goals scored and among the leaders in goals yielded. In Wild territory, Minnesota so far pasting a test.
In the steel city, the defending Stanley Cup Champions start a tad slow with a 3-2-1 start out of the gates but recently have won three straight and have their captain Sidney Crosby back. The Penguins lead the Metropolitan Division by a point over the Rangers. As mentioned before the season, it’s been since 1998 that a team has repeated as the Stanley Cup Champions, but one thing that we do know is that the Penguins are up for the challenge and no one ever said a title defense should be easy.
The teams so far that have been off to slow starts and were thought to be solid: Ducks, Kings, Sabres, Canucks, Stars, Predators, Flyers, and Islanders. Now in fairness, each of them has their own issue that had plagued them from defense to chemistry to offensive stuggles. The saving grace for these team is that the season is long, 82 games, most of these teams have only played 9. So plenty of time for these teams to right their ships and get them in the direction they all want to go in.
So the 1st month of the NHL Season has given us so much already and we still have lots of season still to play and moment and stories that we’ll all be following.