NHL Review January 17, 2021
VETERAN THORNTON, ROOKIE STÜTZLE EACH SCORE FIRST OF SEASON
Toronto forward Joe Thornton (1-1—2) and Ottawa forward Tim Stützle each scored goals as the Maple Leafs edged the Senators 3-2 in the second half of their back-to-back set. Thornton (41 years, 198 days) became the second-oldest player to score a goal with Toronto behind Allan Stanley (41 years, 252 days) on Nov. 8, 1967 – on the opposite side, Stützle (19 years, 1 day) was the third-youngest Senators player at the time of his first career NHL goal following Alexandre Daigle (18 years, 244 days) and Pavol Demitra (18 years, 314 days) on Oct. 9, 1993.
* Saturday’s ‘Battle of Ontario’ game marked the first contest to feature opposing goal scorers separated by at least 20 years since Nov. 17, 2018, when Stützle’s teammate Brady Tkachuk (19 years, 62 days) and Pittsburgh’s Matt Cullen (42 years, 15 days) combined for the feat.
* Thornton and Auston Matthews (1-1—2) were each chosen with the No. 1 pick in the 1997 and 2016 NHL Draft, respectively. Only two other sets of teammates that were No. 1 picks 19-plus years apart each scored a goal in the same game: Guy Lafleur (No. 1 in 1971) and Owen Nolan (No. 1 in 1990) on March 5, 1991 with the Quebec Nordiques, as well as Mario Lemieux (No. 1 in 1984) and Sidney Crosby (No. 1 in 2005) on three occasions with Pittsburgh in 2005-06 (Oct. 8, Nov. 7 & Nov. 10).
ON THE SCORESHEET
- Joe Thornton put the Maple Leafs on the board at 14:17 of the first period before collecting the secondary assist on Auston Matthews’ third period goal. Thornton’s goal is his first point as a Maple Leaf and first goal as a Maple Leaf. Tonight’s game is his first multi-point game of the season after he had four multi-point games in 2019-20. In 70 games with San Jose last season, he recorded seven goals and 24 assists.
- Mitch Marner registered the primary on Thornton’s first period goal and later scored Toronto’s second goal of the night at 1:10 of the second period before recording the primary assist on Auston Matthews’ third period goal. Tonight’s game is his first multi-assist and multi-point game of the season after he had 13 multi-assist and 17 multi-point games in 2019-20. He has a goal and two assists through three games this season.
- Auston Matthews recorded the lone assist on Marner’s second period goal and later scored the third Maple Leafs goal of the game on the power play at 2:42 of the third period. Matthews has a goal and two assists in three games to begin the season. Tonight’s game is his first multi-point game of the season after he had 25 in 2019-20. In 17 career games against Ottawa, he has recorded 24 points (14 goals, 10 assists).
- TJ Brodie had the secondary assist on Thornton’s first period goal. Brodie’s assist his is first point as a Maple Leaf. He recorded 19 points (4-15-19) in 64 games with Calgary in 2019-20.
- Jack Campbell stopped 17 of the 19 shots he faced to earn his first win of 2020-21.
OTHER YOUNG PLAYERS LEAVE A MARK ON FIRST SATURDAY OF 2020-21
Several players under the age of 25 had noteworthy performances on Saturday:
* Yegor Sharangovich, 22, scored his first NHL goal with 1.7 seconds remaining in overtime as the Devils rebounded from their opening-night loss with a win over the 2019-20 Presidents’ Trophy winners.
* Sharangovich became the second rookie in three days to score his first career NHL goal in overtime after Minnesota’s Kirill Kaprizov accomplished the feat against Los Angeles Thursday. Only one other player in Devils franchise history has netted his first career NHL goal in overtime: Jon Merrill (Feb. 7, 2014 vs. EDM).
* Nineteen-year-old Kaapo Kakko scored one of the Rangers’ five unanswered goals and 24-year-old Alexandar Georgiev made 23 saves as New York bounced back from a 4-0 loss to the Islanders in its season opener with a 5-0 win over the crosstown rival.
* Kakko scored the 11th goal of his NHL career (11-13—24 in 68 GP). Only three players in franchise history have scored more regular-season goals before turning 20: Mike Allison (24-36—60 in 71 GP), Alex Kovalev (15-14—29 in 42 GP) and current teammate Filip Chytil (12-14—26 in 84 GP).
* Max Comtois opened the scoring and has accounted for all three goals by the Ducks in 2020-21. He became the 10th player in the NHL’s modern era (since 1943-44) to score each of his team’s first three or more goals in a season.
WILD, GOLDEN KNIGHTS EARN WINS AFTER SCORING LATE-TYING GOALS
The Wild and Golden Knights each earned come-from-behind overtime wins after scoring game-tying goals late in regulation:
* Ryan Suter (1-1—2) pulled Minnesota even at 19:58 of the third period and Marcus Johansson scored the overtime winner as the Wild earned their second straight win after overcoming a multi-goal deficit in the third period.
* Suter’s strike was one second shy of the latest game-tying goal in franchise history (59:59), a mark set by former teammate Mikko Koivu on Oct. 7, 2017 (5-4 SO L at CAR). Only one other Minnesota player has tied a game at 19:58 of the third period: Dany Heatley on Oct. 20, 2011 (2-1 SO W at EDM).
* The Wild overcame a multi-goal, third-period deficit to win consecutive games for the second time in franchise history (also Oct. 28-30, 2014). Minnesota became the first team in NHL history to do so in each of its first two games of a season.
* William Karlsson tied the game with 1:22 remaining in regulation and Max Pacioretty scored seven seconds into overtime as Vegas rallied past Anaheim to move to 2-0-0. Marc-Andre Fleury (21 saves) earned his first win of season No. 17 and the 467th regular-season victory of his NHL career overall – he needs 17 to match Ed Belfour (484) for fourth place in League history.
Penguins’ McCann Fined for Elbowing
Pittsburgh Penguins forward Jared McCann has been fined $10,000, the maximum allowable under the Collective Bargaining Agreement, for elbowing Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Travis Sanheim during NHL Game No. 18 in Philadelphia on Friday, Jan. 15, the National Hockey League’s Department of Player Safety announced. The incident occurred at 14:32 of the second period. McCann was assessed a minor penalty for elbowing. The money goes to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.
CROSBY VS. OVECHKIN OPEN’S NHL ON NBC SUNDAY COVERAGE
After posting record viewership with an opening-night tripleheader on NBCSN Wednesday, NBC Sports will air its first of 16 NHL on NBC Sunday matchups with a star-studded showdown between Sidney Crosby and the Penguins against Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals. The game will be available nationally in Canada on Sportsnet.
* Crosby has scored in each of Pittsburgh’s two games in 2020-21 (2-0—2). A goal Sunday would mark the second time that he has netted a goal in each of the team’s first three games of a season (2014-15: 4-3—7 in 3 GP).
* Sitting two goals shy of tying Mike Gartner for seventh place in NHL history, Ovechkin still eyes his first goal of 2020-21. The only time Ovechkin has gone at least his first three games of a season without a goal was 2012-13 – an abbreviated campaign in which he claimed the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy despite being held out of the goal column for each of the first four games.
* Crosby and Ovechkin have met 52 times in the regular season – plus 25 times in the playoffs – with Crosby holding the edge in both scoring and team victories.