Panthers finally start their NHL season

There were only two games in the NHL on Sunday as Dallas-Tampa Bay was postponed due to the Stars’ COVID-19 outbreak. Dallas will start their season on Friday with a home game against Nashville.

Oliver Ekman-Larsson will miss at least three games after suffering a lower-body injury. He is on the injured reserve list.

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Jake Guentzel found the five-hole on Ilya Samsonov during the fourth round of the shootout and Casey DeSmith then stoned Alex Ovechkin who also tried to put it between the legs of the Penguins goalkeeper, to give Pittsburgh a 4-3 victory for their first win of the season.

If you slept in on the West Coast, chances are you missed Evan Rodrigues’ opening goal, just 19 seconds into the start of the game. Brian Dumoulin’s shot careened in off the skate of Rodrigues and into the net behind Samsonov.

Nik Dowd tied the game at 1 on a bad giveaway by Sam Lafferty. It went to Dowd in front of the net and his backhand made it just over the red line.

Alex Ovechkin gave the Capitals the lead with his first of the season as he took a Evgeny Kuznetsov pass and tucked it in behind DeSmith.

The second period saw the Penguins tie the game at two when Samsonov made a bad clearing attempt from behind the net, right on the stick of Teddy Blueger who dished it in front of the net to Colton Sceviour. Sceviour’s shot hit the camera in the net and it took a video review to make it an even contest.

Nicklas Backstrom made it 3-2 Washington with a power play goal on a gorgeous pass from Kuznetsov who found Backstrom at the side of the net for an easy tap-in.

Marcus Pettersson tied the game at three with a beautiful wrister from the top of the faceoff circle with 7:03 left in the second period and that was all the scoring in regulation and the overtime.

There could be a goaltending showdown in Pittsburgh as DeSmith looked good in the win. He replaced Tristan Jarry in the first period Friday and gave up only one goal the rest of the way on 13 shots. Jarry has been mediocre at best, giving up nine goals on only 33 shots in the one-plus game he has played in, losing both while having a 7.57 GAA and a .727 save percentage. DeSmith stopped 20 shots Sunday as well as all four in the shootout and is 1-0 with a 2.13 GAA and a .889 save percentage.

Story continues

There could be the same problem in Washington as Samsonov has gotten off to a rough start despite a 1-0-1 record. He has a 3.36 GAA and a ,868 save percentage while Vitek Vanecek won his only start, giving up one goal on 31 shots. Samsonov turned aside 24 shots in the shootout loss Sunday.

Ovechkin led the way with six shots on net and it was a hard-hitting game as well as the Capitals outhit Pittsburgh 46-33. Brandon Tanev led everyone with nine hits while Tom Wilson had eight and T.J. Oshie and Garnet Hathaway had seven apiece.

Mike Matheson missed the game with an upper-body injury that is expected to keep him out of action ‘longer-term’ according to coach Mike Sullivan.

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Chris Driedger opened the season in net and carried on from his outstanding rookie season as he stopped 23-of-25 to lead Florida to a 5-2 win over Chicago in the Panthers opening game of the season.

Driedger was outstanding at the tail-end of last season as the rookie went 7-2-1 with a 2.05 GAA and a .938 save percentage in 2019-20.

Jonathan Huberdeau led the way offensively for the Panthers with a goal and two assists.

After a scoreless first period, Aaron Ekblad scored just 12 seconds into the second when his flip shot from the point hit goaltender Collin Delia and went into the net. It was a bad goal and it sent the Blackhawks reeling.

Delia did not look good on the second goal as Keith Yandle made it 2-0 beating Delia who was sprawled on the ice.

Alex DeBrincat cut the lead in half with a power play goal and it was 2-1 Florida after two periods.

The Blackhawks evened the score when defenseman Connor Murphy scored his first of the season but it was all Florida after that as Eetu Luostarinen with his first NHL goal, Patric Hornqvist with his first as a Florida Panther, and finally Huberdeau on the power play, made it a 5-2 final.

Delia stopped 24-of-29 shots and has given up 10 goals on 66 shots. You have to wonder if the Blackhawks are going to give the net to Finnish netminder Kevin Lankinen, who many in the Chicago chain seem to like in goal.

Duncan Keith assisted on both goals by the Blackhawks.

There were plenty of rumors that Keith Yandle would be a healthy scratch after playing with the taxi squad Friday and not getting into the main practice Saturday until late in the practice but he was in for his 867th straight start, the longest current streak in the NHL and fourth longest in NHL history. The goal by Yandle was the 100th of his NHL career.

There wasn’t a lot of hitting or blocked shots as Chicago outhit Florida 13-8 while Florida blocked 13 shots to Chicago’s eight.



1 by many


Evgeny Kuznetsov – 2

Jonathan Huberdeau – 2

Duncan Keith – 2

Shots on Goal

Alex Ovechkin – 6

Jason Zucker – 5


Brandon Tanev – 9

Tom Wilson – 8

Garnet Hathaway – 7

T.J. Oshie – 7

Penalty Minutes

Two by many

Published: 2021-01-18 05:00:12

Tags: #Panthers #finally #start #NHL #season


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