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Alex Ovechkin was listed as a game-time decision for Washington’s season opener after he suffered a lower-body injury in the team’s preseason finale. He appeared to be ready to play based on the morning skate and he had a big performance on Wednesday. Ovechkin notched two goals and two assists in a 5-1 win over the New York Rangers.
His two goals moved him into sole possession of fifth place on the NHL all-time goals list. Ovechkin is up to 732 career goals in 1,197 regular-season outings. He moved ahead of Hockey Hall of Famer Marcel Dionne, who potted 731 goals across 1,348 appearances.
Ovechkin’s 270th career power-play goal moved him within four of Dave Andreychuk’s record and oddly enough his shorthanded marker was just the fifth of his career. His 150th career multi-goal game places him fourth in NHL history.
The Great Eight’s next scoring legend in his sights is Brett Hull, who sits fourth with 741 goals. Jaromir Jagr ranks third with 766 and Gordie Howe is second with 801. Of course, Wayne Gretzky is in first with 894.
MONTREAL 1 TORONTO 2
The Maple Leafs held on for a 2-1 victory over the Canadiens in the first game of the 2021-22 season for both teams. It was the first meeting between the two clubs since they met in the opening round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Jonathan Drouin got the scoring started at the 7:22 mark of the first period in the feel-good moment of the match. He played in his first game since April 21 after he a leave of absence in 2020-21 for personal reasons. He revealed before the start of this year that he battled with anxiety and insomnia issues.
Pierre Engvall tied the game just under three minutes later at the tail end of a Toronto power play. It was the first goal on the man advantage that he has scored at the NHL level.
William Nylander gave the Leafs a 2-1 lead a little over a minute into the third period following a scoreless second stanza. His bullet shot proved to be the game winner.
Michael Bunting picked up an assist in his Toronto debut on Engvall’s marker.
David Savard had a game-high five blocked shots in his Canadiens debut.
NEW YORK RANGERS 1 WASHINGTON 5
The Capitals started their season with a convincing victory over the Rangers at home. Washington went 3-for-6 on the power play in the contest and five goals were scored on special teams between the two teams in their season openers.
T.J. Oshie opened the scoring 4:39 into the first frame on the man advantage.
Justin Schultz got a power-play goal for the Capitals 12:38 into the second stanza.
Hendrix Lapierre netted his first NHL goal in his first NHL game to put Washington up 3-0 a mere 24 seconds after Schultz’s marker.
Alex Ovechkin scored a pair of special teams goals in the third period. He got a power-play tally just over two minutes into the period and he rounded out the scoring with a shorthanded effort at the 12:01 mark.
Chris Kreider got the Rangers on the board with a power-play goal slightly over nine minutes into the third period.
Ovechkin also added two assists in the match, while Oshie had a multi-point performance as well with an assist to go with his goal from earlier.
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WINNIPEG 1 ANAHEIM 4
The Ducks began play in 2021-22 with an upset victory over the Jets. Anaheim scored twice on the power play in the contest after scoring a league-low 11 times with the man advantage last campaign.
Kevin Shattenkirk gave Anaheim a 1-0 lead at the 6:11 mark of the first period.
Mason McTavish found the beck of the net in his NHL debut and picked up an assist on a second-period power-play goal by Adam Henrique. The No. 3 pick in the 2021 NHL Draft became the youngest player in Ducks history to score (18 years, 256 days) after he was a late addition to the lineup because Max Jones was dealing with flu-like symptoms.
Kyle Connor got Winnipeg on the board during the second stanza prior to Henrique’s restoration of the Ducks’ two-goal lead.
Rickard Rakell netted Anaheim’s second power-play tally of the contest at 6:20 of the third period,
Nikolaj Ehlers was credited with a game-high eight shots on goal.
CHICAGO 2 COLORADO 4
The Avalanche rode a 3-0 start to victory in the team’s first matchup of the 2021-22 campaign. Colorado played without star player Nathan MacKinnon, who was put into COVID-19 protocol on Tuesday.
Jack Johnson, who earned a contract with Colorado after attending training camp on a PTO, opened the scoring with a breakaway goal just 4:26 into the match.
Dominik Kubalik got the Blackhawks on the board with a power-play marker late in the first period to cut the team’s deficit to 3-1.
Nazem Kadri, who filled in as the top-line center with MacKinnon out, restored Colorado’s three-goal lead in the second stanza.
Connor Murphy rounded out the scoring at the 15:31 mark of the third period, but that was as close as Chicago would get.
In the losing effort, Marc-Andre Fleury made 32 saves on 36 shots in his Chicago debut.
Darcy Kuemper turned aside 32 of 34 shots for the victory in his first start as a member of the Avalanche.
VANCOUVER 2 EDMONTON 3 (shootout)
The Oilers capped off a perfect night for home teams on Wednesday night with a win over the Canucks in the team’s season opener. However, the Canucks picked up a point in the standings thanks to a late third-period comeback.
Jesse Puljujarvi opened the scoring at the 16:55 mark of the first period.
Zach Hyman scored in his Edmonton debut during a power-play opportunity for the Oilers late in the second period.
Oliver Ekman-Larsson got Vancouver on the board at the 12:28 mark of the third period with a goal on the man advantage.
Quinn Hughes tied the game at 17:11 to help the Canucks get to overtime.
Nurse also filled the stat sheet with six shots, eight hits and four blocked shots.