If you flash back to the first month of the NHL season, the Washington Capitals and Alex Ovechkin were having serious struggles. Now, the Caps are atop the Southeast Division and Ovechkin leads the NHL in goals with 30.
As Chuck Gormley of CSNWashington.com hears it from coach Adam Oates, he never doubted Ovechkin would put it all together.
“A month ago I wouldn’t say anybody was saying he hadn’t lost his touch. But we had faith in him,” Oates said. “We knew what he could do. He’s proved it and we’re going as he’s going and he’s playing good right now.”
“Good” is an understatement for how he’s been playing lately. Over his last 15 games, he’s got 27 points including 18 goals. That’s the kind of play you get by a guy eager to get his team in the postseason and earn his way into the MVP discussion.
For a little more than a minute, Brandon Saad was going to be the story of the Columbus Blue Jackets’ opener. Instead, his power-play goal merely got the ball rolling on a flabbergasting finish.
The New York Rangers scored three goals in 1:17 of game time to manage a 4-2 win.
They’ve now spoiled home openers for the Chicago Blackhawks and Columbus Blue Jackets to begin their 2015-16 season.
It might be easiest just to show you when the goals were scored, noting that the third period began with a 1-1 tie.
Brandon Saad power-play goal: 16:10 into third period (2-1 Columbus)
Oscar Lindberg: 17:24 (2-2 tie)
Kevin Hayes: 17:41 (3-2 Rangers)
Mats Zuccarello: 18:41 (4-2 Rangers)
Yikes. Zuccarello scored two of the Rangers’ goals, while a beauty by Cam Atkinson is likely long forgotten.
This post will be updated if there’s video of that staggering sequence.
Mike Babcock admitted that there might be a painful transformation as he tries to fix the Toronto Maple Leafs.
His old friends made that abundantly, painfully clear on Friday.
As of this writing, the Detroit Red Wings are up 4-0 on the Buds. Justin Abdelkader just completed a hat trick with James Reimer in net, so the subplot isn’t just about Jonathan Bernier having another tough start.
The big story might just be Detroit’s varied new line of Abdelkader, Dylan Larkin (who scored his first career goal) and Henrik Zetterberg. At the moment, they’ve combined for seven points.
This post will be updated if Detroit’s tribute video to Babcock surfaces.
Really, though, this beating has been about as ugly as this blanket so far.
Here’s video of Abdelkader’s hat trick: