James O'Brien

I am a contributing editor/writer/troublemaker for NBC's Pro Hockey Talk blog.

Auston Matthews becomes first NHL player to score four goals in debut


Consider this post a running list of the history that Auston Matthews is making on opening night.

The big headline is this: Matthews scored his fourth goal in the closing seconds of the second period, giving the Toronto Maple Leafs a 4-3 lead against the Ottawa Senators.

In doing so, Matthews became the first player in NHL history to score four goals in his first game. It wasn’t enough for the Maple Leafs to win (Ottawa won 5-4 in OT), but still … impressive.

All four goals can be viewed in the video above.

His mom was pleased:

Maple Leafs management tried to contain their giddy excitement:

Matthews admits he hasn’t had a four-goal night in quite some time.

OK, let’s circle back and look at how Matthews’ night shakes out … while acknowledging that he can add even more to his totals in the third period.

Video: Auston Matthews makes immediate impact in NHL debut


Note: Auston Matthews ended up making history, even if he has a quiet finish. Check this post for even more on his special first night with the Toronto Maple Leafs.


Sometimes things work out too perfectly.

In his first NHL game, Auston Matthews scored his first NHL goal. The first pick of the 2016 NHL Draft also happened to score the first goal of the 2016-17 season, giving the Toronto Maple Leafs a 1-0 lead against the Ottawa Senators.

About the only first he failed to achieve was pulling a Mario Lemieux by scoring on his very first shift, something that inspired a joke or two on Twitter (before Matthews scored).

Not long before that, Mitch Marner nearly scored the first goal of the season instead, but Craig Anderson was game to the task.

Matthews went on to score two goals in both the first and second periods of this game, putting together a history-making debut.

Unfortunately for Matthews and the Maple Leafs, his history-making night only earned them a “charity point, as the Ottawa Senators won 5-4 in OT.

WATCH LIVE: Blues at Blackhawks to open 2016-17

Yes, hockey is back.

While the Toronto Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators get the first start of 2016-17, NBCSN kicks off its schedule with a doubleheader that begins with the St. Louis Blues at the Chicago Blackhawks.

Watch online or on the NBC Sports App tonight.

Here’s the stream link for Blues – Blackhawks.

NBCSN is leading into Blues – Blackhawks, so head over to that stream at 7 p.m. ET.

Later tonight, the Los Angeles Kings visit the San Jose Sharks to close out what should be a great first night for the NHL and NBCSN.

The stream link for that game can be found here.

Red Wings fans aren’t happy with Ken Holland


The Detroit Red Wings’ astounding playoff streak might be alive, but they’re far from the contenders they once were. Which makes each perceived Ken Holland misstep sting that much more.

Especially when those mistakes seem like unforced errors.

As rosters complete, the Red Wings lost two intriguing talents to waiver claims as the Wild swiped Teemu Pulkkinen and the Hurricanes grabbed Martin Frk.

Neither player managed to make an impact at the NHL level (yet?), but they both drew eerily similar praise as potential goal scorers.

Holland didn’t address those losses directly, but he did discuss the discomfort of being stuck in the middle of the pack, as the Detroit Free Press reports.

“The frustration’s understandable,” Holland said on Monday. “Everyone wants to go back to when we were consistently in the running for the Stanley Cup. We want that, too. Nobody’s happy here that we haven’t fared well in the playoffs. But we’re confident in how we’re trying to retool our roster: getting younger while still trying to field a team that can give us the best opportunity to win.”

Of course, angry Red Wings fans would counter that losing Frk and Pulkkinen for nothing hardly constitutes “getting younger.”

Detroit is a limited group – just check PHT’s 30 Questions to see how the franchise’s stock has fallen – that is nonetheless bumping up against the salary cap ceiling. Losses like these really rub it in.

Let’s take a survey of the outrage, shall we?

Maybe the Red Wings will shrug off the loss of these two prospects, but it’s plain to see that Holland has plenty of critics. And they’re pretty upset right now.

Jake Allen slated to be starter in Blues’ opener


As comfortable as the St. Louis Blues might be with Carter Hutton, the bottom line is that they have to be happy that it looks like Jake Allen is all set to start the season.

Allen said “he’s good to go” against the Chicago Blackhawks to open the season on Wednesday night, according to the team website.

The Blues briefly called up Jordan Binnington in case Allen wasn’t good to go, but today’s 23-man roster featured only goalies Allen and Hutton.

With Brian Elliott out in Calgary, the onus is now on Allen to be the full-fledged No. 1 for the Blues. He’ll get a chance to start this new era on the right foot, although facing the Blackhawks likely won’t be the easiest task.