Author: Ryan Dadoun

Video: Kessel scores his first goal with Penguins


After being shutout in their season opener, the Pittsburgh Penguins got on the board early in the second period of tonight’s game against the Arizona Coyotes. Appropriately, it was Phil Kessel that struck first.

Rather than being the result of a fancy play with Sidney Crosby, Kessel scored by knocking the puck away from Coyotes captain Shane Doan and then firing a wrister past Mike Smith.

Acquired from the Toronto Maple Leafs over the summer in a blockbuster trade, the expectation is that uniting one of the best snipers in the game with arguably the league’s best forward in Sidney Crosby will make them one of the most dangerous duos. That made the Penguins’ inability to score in its opener against Dallas on Thursday all the more jarring, even though they obviously can’t be judged based solely off of a single game.

Kessel’s goal didn’t immediately reverse Pittsburgh’s fortunes though though. While he was able to tie the game, Arizona’s Jordan Martinook retook the lead just 1:12 minutes later and that 2-1 edge persisted until the second intermission.

Lundqvist stops 37, including a stunner, for third win in four days


This time, Henrik Lundqvist isn’t struggling out of the gate.

Playing for the third time in four days, the New York Rangers goaltender turned aside 37 of 39 shots to earn a 5-2 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Along the way he made a stunning, diving save to rob Blue Jackets forward Ryan Johansen of a goal, as you can see above. He now has a 2.00 GAA and .943 save percentage in three starts.

His performance has been in stark contrast to the 2014-15 campaign when he already had two six-goal showings by the time he had played in three games and 2013-14 when he surrendered 15 goals in his first four contests.

“Last thing (Rangers coach Alain Vigneault) told me before I went back to Sweden was, ‘You have to be better when we start.’ That stayed with me the entire summer,” Lundqvist told The Record’s Andrew Gross.

His efforts have been to the benefit of the Rangers as they’ve escaped their rough start to the season unscathed. They can now afford to take a short breather before hosting the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday.

Related: Video: Rookie Lindberg stays red hot with two goals in under four minutes

Mrazek saves 44, setting up Wings’ comeback win over Canes

Jordan Staal, Petr Mrazek
AP Photo

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) Teemu Pulkkinen insists he got lucky with his first goal, then again with his second. The Detroit Red Wings weren’t about to argue with the results.

Pulkkinen scored two goals in the third period, lifting Detroit past the Carolina Hurricanes 4-3 on Saturday night.

The Red Wings scored three goals in the third to erase a 2-1 deficit, with Pulkkinen tying it with 15:21 left and then adding the go-ahead goal with 13:24 remaining.

“I just need a couple lucky ones,” Pulkkinen said, “and then it’s way easier.”

Henrik Zetterberg had an early goal and assisted on Justin Abdelkater’s insurance goal with 3:35 to play.

Turns out they needed it, after Justin Faulk made it a one-goal game by scoring with 2.1 seconds left.

Nathan Gerbe and Victor Rask had goals for Carolina, which scored on consecutive shots in the final 5 minutes of the second.

“We played hard,” Carolina captain Eric Staal said. “We played well. You’re not going to fault anything, I don’t think, with our game. I thought we played hard, to a man, and didn’t get the result, but that effort’s going to be there all year.”

Cam Ward made 15 saves for the Hurricanes while Petr Mrazek turned aside the first 32 shots he faced and finished with 43 saves.

“Mrazek played unbelievable the whole game, not just the first period when he basically kept us by himself in the game,” Zetterberg said.

Pulkkinen tied it at 2 after he slipped through the slot and crashed the net. Then he outfought Carolina’s John-Michael Liles in front of Ward and redirected Tomas Tatar‘s shot to put the Red Wings back up.

“I think (the first goal) was a lucky bounce – it just came to me, I barely hit it and it went into the net,” said Pulkkinen, who had an AHL-best 34 goals in just 46 games last season with Grand Rapids. “And I think the second one was a lucky one, too.”

Said Zetterberg: “He knows where to be, and he knows how to score goals. It’s nice to have that in this game.”

Abdelkater then made it 4-2 with his fourth goal in just over 24 hours. He opened his season with a hat trick in a 4-0 win over Toronto on Friday night.

Carolina, which finished with a 46-19 shots advantage, generated plenty of scoring chances – but just couldn’t solve Mrazek until late in the second.

Rask finally broke through, batting in a rebound behind the Detroit goalie’s back with 4:48 left in the second for the first goal of the season allowed by the Red Wings.

Gerbe then gave the Hurricanes their first lead of the season when he parked in front of the net, took a slick feed from Ryan Murphy as the defenseman charged down the boards and slipped the puck past Mrazek with 56.5 seconds left.

Zetterberg broke a scoreless tie at 8:27 of the second on just Detroit’s sixth shot. He took a feed from Dylan Larkin, snaked around the end line and tucked the puck under Ward’s right leg.

In what proved to be an early turning point, the Hurricanes had a 5-on-3 power play for 46 seconds and peppered Mrazek with seven rapid-fire shots.

He stopped them all – and, for that matter, everything he faced until the final minutes of the second.

“You want to score on the power play early,” Staal said, “but we controlled the whole first period and most of the second as well. … A couple key mistakes cost us.”

NOTES: Two teenagers earned points: In addition to Detroit’s 19-year-old Larkin, 18-year-old Carolina D Noah Hanifin picked up his first NHL point for assisting on Rask’s goal. … D Michal Jordan replaced injured D James Wisniewski in the Hurricanes’ lineup. Wisniewski will miss six months after tearing a knee ligament in the opener. … Carolina C Riley Nash skated just five shifts before exiting with an upper body injury and did not return.

Senators top Leafs in first shootout of 3-on-3 OT era

Mike Hoffman
The Canadian Press via AP

It was bound to happen sooner or later. While the introduction of three-on-three overtime is designed to reduce the number of games that result in a shootout, it can’t eliminate the skills competition entirely.

And so it was that Ottawa and Toronto, who participated in the first NHL shootout back in 2005, also took part in the first one of the new overtime format. This time around, Mike Hoffman earned the deciding marker against James Reimer to hand Ottawa a 5-4 victory:

At one point this game seemed like a very unlikely candidate for the skills competition.

Toronto got into penalty trouble early in the second period and the Senators took full advantage of it with three straight power-play goals over the span of 4:10 minutes. Given that the Maple Leafs’ struggle to score in their first two games and the perception that they’re offensively anemic following the Phil Kessel trade, it would have been easy to assume that Ottawa’s 3-0 lead was sufficient.

Toronto rallied back though with goals from Joffrey Lupul, Tyler Bozak, Peter Holland, and Daniel Winnik to earn a point.

While the Maple Leafs (0-2-1) are still searching for their first win of the Mike Babcock era, at least this can be seen as a step in the right direction.

Bruins potentially lose Marchand in loss to Habs

AP Photo

The Boston Bruins are already playing with a badly depleted defense, they just have to hope that they don’t start losing key forwards as well.

That’s a possibility though as Brad Marchand left Saturday’s contest early after inadvertently being elbowed in the head by Dale Weise, per CSN New England’s Joe Haggerty. Bruins coach Claude Julien couldn’t provide an update after the game, according to the team’s Twitter account.

Whatever happens there though, Boston already has a hole it needs to dig out of as Montreal handed the Bruins a 4-2 loss tonight.

Lars Eller and Alex Galchenyuk led the charge by scoring two goals and three assists respectively. Alexander Semin registered two assists after going scoreless in his debut with Montreal on Wednesday.

The Bruins are now 0-2-0 and have allowed 10 goals over that span. They have been playing without their top two defensemen in Zdeno Chara (upper body) and Dennis Seidenberg (back).

Boston’s task isn’t getting any easier as it will face the Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday. Montreal, which is opening the season with a four-game road trip, is now 2-0-0 ahead of Sunday’s contest against Ottawa.