NHL stars shine in season start

Bradley Piros, Courier Staff

The NHL is back for the season, and it is definitely back with a bang. We’ve seen some spectacular games already and some records being broken, and it’s only the first week. This is just a preview of what is yet to come, but what exactly happened?

First things first: Alexander Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals scored not just one, but back-to-back hat tricks in his first two games of the season,  a league first. The Capitals opened their season against the Ottawa Senators, where Ovechkin, 32, led his team to tie the game at 4-4 with a third period hat trick. He absolutely went off to tie the game up and force it into overtime where his side got the win, but he wasn’t done here. The following game, his team played the Montreal Canadiens, where Ovechkin was on fire yet again, this time scoring four goals, lifting his team up to the 6-1 win for their home opener.

This wasn’t the only record broken, though. It turns out that new team in Las Vegas is kind of good. The Golden Knights are the first NHL expansion team to start off their first season 3-0. Vegas played the first two games away, first visiting the Dallas Stars winning 2-1 and then moving on to play the Arizona Coyotes beating them 2-1 in overtime. But what broke the record was their emotional home opener to make it three in a row.

With the mass shooting at the Mandalay Bay hotel still fresh in people’s heads, you could imagine that it was a heartfelt night for the city and its new team. They were set to play the Coyotes again, this time at home as a four goal first period lead them to win the game 5-2, breaking the record.

These next couple of games didn’t break any records but they were still entertaining to the neutral fan. Personally, I am a St. Louis Blues fan, so I naturally hate the Chicago Blackhawks, but I’ll be the first to admit that they smacked the Penguins. I might not like the Blackhawks, but I especially don’t like the Penguins. I really just don’t like them because of how good they are, as well as their new following of typical bandwagon fans who follow the champions around. It was the most one-sided game we’ve seen so far, this season. Long time player Brandon Saad was welcomed back to the team as he had left the Blackhawks for a couple of years. He went on to score a hat trick, because I guess those are pretty common these day. This helped his team completely run through the Penguins, leading them on to a massive 10-1 win.

Continuing on, a new arena has opened in Detroit. Last year, the Redwings had to say goodbye to one of the most iconic arenas in NHL history, the Joe Louis Arena. This historic building was where they won many of their Stanley Cups, among many other great memories and events. It was replaced by the new $863 million Little Caesars Arena; and yes, you read that correctly. Nearly a billion dollars put into a new arena, the most expensive of its kind, is now the Redwings new home. They look to keep the tradition going and hopefully bring the cup back home to Detroit sometime soon. The team broke in the new arena with a win of course as they played the Minnesota Wild and won 4-2.

Now that the league is back in the full swing of things, these are some upcoming games you should look out for. Tomorrow night, Austin Mathews and the Toronto Maple Leafs head into Washington D.C. to visit Ovechkin and the Capitals. Both teams are tearing it up right now, especially their star players. Moving on to Wednesday Rivalry Night, there are two impressive match ups. The Maple Leafs will head home to play the Redwings, and the Blackhawks will visit St. Louis and the Blues. Detroit and Toronto played in the Centennial Classic last season at Exhibition Field in front of 40,00 fans, where Mathews scored the overtime goal to win the game 5-4 for the Leafs. A rivalry that dates back to the 1920’s is never one
to disappoint.

Lastly, my favorite rivalry in sports, Blackhawks vs. Blues. Both of these central division foes are having great starts, but getting these early points in the division are crucial, and did I mention these two teams don’t like each other? Expect the likes of Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane to keep it entertaining for the Hawks, while Vladimir Tarasenko looks to keep his goal scoring up and lead his side to victory in front of his
home crowd.

I know I’m looking forward to this one, and you should be too.