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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.
Josh Anderson, Brett Kulak, Rasmus Sandin, Morgan Rielly and Mitch Marner registered a helper apiece in the match.
David Savard had a game-high five blocked shots in his Canadiens debut.
Jack Campbell made 31 saves for the win, while Jake Allen stopped 28 of 30 shots in the defeat.
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.
Evgeny Kuznetsov collected three helpers, while Anthony Mantha, Conor Sheary, Trevor van Riemsdyk, John Carlson, Adam Fox and Ryan Strome earned an assist each.
Alexandar Georgiev was burned for five goals on 27 shots in the defeat, while Vitek Vanecek turned aside 23 shots for his first win of the year.
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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,
Isac Lundestrom and Jakob Silfverberg recorded two helpers each in the contest, while Cam Fowler, Jamie Drysdale, Ryan Getzlaf, Blake Wheeler and Paul Stastny picked up one assist apiece.
Nikolaj Ehlers was credited with a game-high eight shots on goal.
John Gibson made 33 saves on 34 shots in the victory, while Connor Hellebuyck permitted four goals on 22 shots in the loss.
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.
Gabriel Landeskog scored just over a minute later and then he assisted Bowen Byram’s first NHL goal.
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.
Connor McDavid and Nils Hoglander accounted for two assists apiece, while Conor Garland, J.T. Miller, Leon Draisaitl and Darnell Nurse produced one helper each.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Bo Horvat scored during the shootout in the fourth round prior to Kyle Turris getting the winner in the fifth round.
Nurse also filled the stat sheet with six shots, eight hits and four blocked shots.
Thatcher Demko stopped 32 of 34 shots in the loss, while Mike Smith shielded 36 of 38 shots in the victory.