NHL Review January 18, 2021
PANTHERS, PENGUINS COLLECT FIRST WINS OF 2020-21
Chicago tallied twice to erase a 2-0 deficit, but Eetu Luostarinen (1-1—2) scored the first goal of his NHL career just 22 seconds after the Blackhawks pulled even to help the Panthers win 5-2 and improve to 9-0-2 in 11 all-time season-opening games at home. Offseason acquisition Patric Hornqvist (1-1—2) also scored in his team debut with Jonathan Huberdeau (1-2—3) providing the primary assist to record one of his game-high three points.
The Penguins overcame 2-1 and 3-2 deficits before Jake Guentzel (0-1—1) scored the only goal of the shootout to lift Pittsburgh to its first win of the season with a 4-3 SO win.. Sunday marked the sixth time the Penguins have overcome multiple deficits to win their home opener and third time over the Capitals (Oct. 4, 2018 vs. WSH; Oct. 6, 2007 vs. ANA; Oct. 7, 1995 vs. TOR; Oct. 7, 1990 vs. NJD; and Oct. 11, 1975 vs. WSH).
FOURTEEN U.S. CLUBS IN ACTION ON MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. DAY
A total of 14 American teams are in action as Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is observed in the United States, with the puck dropping at noon ET to open the first-ever NBCSN quadrupleheader. The day also marks the 63rd anniversary of Willie O’Ree becoming the first Black player to skate in an NHL game.
* The network’s coverage will incorporate numerous features, including a tribute to Marlowe Stoudamire, a community leader in Detroit, a conversation between Anson Carter and NHL senior executive VP Kim Davis, and a segment on Dampy Brar, recipient of the 2019-20 Willie O’Ree Community Hero Award.
* In search of its first win of the season, Columbus visits Detroit for a back-to-back set, renewing a division rivalry from its early days in the NHL – the Blue Jackets shared the Central Division with the Red Wings for each their first 12 NHL seasons (2000-01–2012-13).
* Brad Marchand (1-2—3) has factored on every Bruins goal so far this season, while also scoring the shootout winner on opening night. Should he net a point on Boston’s next goal, it would mark the third time in his career that he has registered a point on each of the team’s first four or more goals of a season (2-3—5 in 2016-17 and 0-4—4 in 2018-19). The longest such stretch by any Bruins player is six team goals (Bill Cowley: 1-5—6 in 1938-39).
* Taylor Hall (1-2—3 in 2 GP) can become the fifth player in the last 30 years to record a point in each of his first three games as a member of the Sabres. The only players to achieve the feat in that span are Bob Sweeney (6 GP in 1992-93), Randy Burridge (4 GP in 1995-96), Casey Nelson (3 GP in 2015-16) and Taylor Fedun (3 GP in 2016-17).
* Phil Kessel (3-0—3 in 2 GP) can match a Coyotes/Jets franchise record for longest goal streak from the start of a season. Only Mikkel Boedker (2014-15), Keith Tkachuk (1994-95) and Scott Arniel (1984-85) have scored in each of the team’s first three games of a season – all posting three-game goal streaks, with Boedker standing as the only one to achieve the feat since the franchise relocated to Arizona.
MATTHEWS, LAINE COULD MEET FOR FIRST TIME IN 2020-21
Toronto forward Auston Matthews and Winnipeg forward Patrik Laine, the top two picks from the 2016 NHL Draft, can go head-to-head for the first of up to 10 meetings scheduled this season. Laine’s status for tonight’s game is unclear after he left practice early Sunday.
* The Maple Leafs and Jets/Thrashers franchise are intradivisional opponents for the first time. Toronto and the original Winnipeg Jets simultaneously competed in the Norris Division in 1981-82 and in the Central Division for three seasons during the 1990s before the Jets became the Phoenix Coyotes (1993-94–1995-96).
OVECHKIN INCHES CLOSER TO GARTNER ON NHL’S ALL-TIME LIST
Alex Ovechkin (1-1—2) gave the Capitals a one-goal lead through 20 minutes with his first goal of the season and 707th of his career. He moved within one of tying Mike Gartner for seventh place on the NHL’s all-time goals list.