1. Leon Draisaitl, Oilers
The big Oilers forward blew away previous career-highs last season, scoring an impressive 50 goals and 105 points. Considering the 21.6 shooting percentage he rode, and previous seasons of 70 and 77 points, many expected Draisaitl to come down to Earth.
Well, he began the 2019-20 season just as hot.
Draisaitl was the only player to score three points on Wednesday (one goal, two assists), and the Oilers needed all three of them in a snug 3-2 win against the Canucks. Draistail also generated a +2 rating, six shots on goal, and logged a defenseman-like 26:46 TOI in that win (about five minutes more than Connor McDavid‘s 21:40).
2. Auston Matthews, Maple Leafs
Matthews continues to be a force on opening nights, generating two goals as the Maple Leafs shook off a shaky start to cruise against the Senators. One of Matthews’ two goals ended up being the game-winner, and both came off absolutely splendid passes (from William Nylander and Mitch Marner respectively).
Matthews had a +2 rating and eight SOG.
3. Reilly Smith, Golden Knights
If you prefer, you might name Mark Stone as the better Golden Knight of that dominant win for Vegas, as Stone generated two points (1G, 1A) of his own while being great all-around as always.
It felt like Smith was everywhere whenever given a chance, though. Smith scored two goals, including a shorthanded laugher, and could easily have had two shorthanded tallies if not for a great breakaway save by Martin Jones.
Highlight of the Night
Connor McDavid’s goal wasn’t necessarily the prettiest of the first night of the 2019-20 season, but it ranks as one of those moments where McDavid makes NHL defensemen look overmatched and, well, not like professionals. While the Oilers haven’t been on most preseason picks lists, few would be that shocked if McDavid, Draisaitl, and a select few other players find a way to drag Edmonton to the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Especially after watching goals like these:
- Cody Glass already made history by becoming the first Golden Knights draft pick to play an NHL game for Vegas. He followed that up by scoring a nice goal, becoming the youngest Golden Knights player (20 years, 184 days apparently) to score a goal.
- Again, Matthews is really good at this Game 1 thing.
Apparently this is McDavid’s sixth goal in an opener, setting an Oilers record.
Golden Knights did a thing
TOR 5 – OTT 3
WSH 3 – STL 2 (OT)
EDM 3 – VAN 2
VGK 4 – SJS 1