For many teams playing in game number one, the number two held significance.
Derek Roy led his Buffalo Sabres to a 2-1 victory after scoring both the first and the last goal for his team. Over the past few years he has established himself as the number one center, even proving that he can produce without sniper Thomas Vanek. His current linemates Drew Stafford and Tyler Ennis should both benefit from playing with him for the time being.
Their counterpart Ottawa Senators lost a step without top center Jason Spezza. To win they will need to light the lamp more, even though Ryan Miller played an incredibly strong game. Pascal Leclaire became the tough luck loser surrendering only two goals on 36 shots.
Not only did Red Wings’ star Pavel Datsyuk score post two points, but he also registered his first ever regular season fight taking on instigator Corey Perry. His only other registered draw came against former Ducks captain Scott Niedermayer, must be something about those Ducks.
Reunited with Henrik Zetterberg, the Russian star played and aggressive game in the opener earning his first Gordie Howe hat trick. Danny Cleary also got off to a nice start with two points of his own, crashing the net hard for a “good hockey goal.” Detroit cruised to a 4-0 victory, looking every bit as scary as advertised.
On the bright side for the Ducks, rookie Cam Fowler played almost 21 minutes and finished with an even 0 plus/minus.
Antti Niemi gave up only two in his season debut, closing the door on a young Columbus Blue Jackets team. After moving to the top line, Logan Couture put in the game winner with a short-side twisted wrister. The Sharks look dangerous with their three waves of scoring lines, expect lots of scoring coming out of Northern California.
Across the Baltic Sea came the second game in Helsinki where Cam Ward would win his second game overseas. In his second career game, first round pick Jeff Skinner looked excellent with an assist and an amazing move to win the shootout (an honorary two points). It should only be a matter of time until the second youngest player in the NHL finds himself alongside Eric Staal.
The Atlanta Thrashers won their first game largely thanks to two goals from youngster Evander Kane. No one chose the Thrashers to beat the Washington Capitals 4-2 in the first game of the year, but they prevailed without their number one goalie. Chris Mason came into the game for relief giving up two goals on the game and securing the win.
Loui Eriksson’s second goal of the game won their season opener and ruined the debut of new head coach John MacLean. Travis Zajac and Ilya Kovalchuk each had two assists as the top line seemed to click just like in the pre-season. Jason Arnott and Patrick Elias also clicked in their first game back together.
Overall a very interesting group of game ones; now lets move on to some back-to-back contests and game twos.