1. Mika Zibanejad, New York Rangers. What a start to the year for the Rangers’ top center. Playing alongside big free agent acquisition Artemi Panarin, Zibanejad already has eight points in two games and had a hat trick on Saturday in a 4-1 win over the Ottawa Senators, scoring an even-strength goal, a power play goal, and a shorthanded goal. Read more about it here.
2. Mike Hoffman, Florida Panthers. The other hat trick in the NHL on Saturday belonged to Hoffman as he was the difference in the Panthers’ 4-3 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning. After scoring a career-high 36 goals in his debut season with the Panthers a year ago, he already has four goals in his first two games this season.
3. John Gibson, Anaheim Ducks. When he is on top of his game Gibson can be the best goalie in hockey. He showed that on Saturday by turning aside 35 of the 36 shots he faced in a 3-1 win over the San Jose Sharks. Gibson and the Ducks handed San Jose its third consecutive defeat to begin the season. The Ducks are now 2-0 with Gibson stopping 67 of the first 69 shots he has faced over the first two games.
Other notable performances on Saturday
- Patric Hornqvist and Jared McCann both scored a pair of goals for the Pittsburgh Penguins as they rebounded from an ugly season opening loss to rout the Columbus Blue Jackets, 7-2.
- The Sabres dominated the New Jersey Devils, 7-2, thanks to a pair of two goal efforts from Sam Reinhart and rookie Victor Olofsson. Rasmus Dahlin also had three assists for the now 2-0 Sabres.
- James Neal scored two goals for the Edmonton Oilers as they were able to hold on for a wildly entertaining back-and-forth win over the Los Angeles Kings. Connor McDavid also had four points (one goal, three assists) in the win.
- Tyler Bertuzzi scored two goals and added two more assists to help lift the Detroit Red Wings to a 5-3 win over the Nashville Predators to open their season.
- Brayden Schenn celebrated his new eight-year contract extension with the St. Louis Blues by scoring his first goal of the season in their 3-2 win over the Dallas Stars.
- Jaroslav Halak stopped all 35 shots he faced for the Boston Bruins, and they needed every one of those saves in a 1-0 win over the Arizona Coyotes.
- Colorado’s big three of Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen, and Gabriel Landeskog were once again dominate in a 4-2 over the Minnesota Wild.
- Johnny Gaudreau had three points (one goal, two assists) and David Rittich stopped all 34 shots he faced for the Calgary Flames in their 3-0 win over the Vancouver Canucks.
Highlights of the Night
The Carolina Hurricanes were overtime winners once again, this time erasing a two-goal third period deficit against the Washington Capitals. New addition Jake Gardiner scored the game-winner, his first as a member of the Hurricanes.
The prettiest play of the night was still probably the passing play by the Rangers to set up Zibanejad’s second goal.
Blooper of the Night
The Oilers were winners, but it was still a frustrating night for goalie Mike Smith at times as he had a couple of early mishaps playing the puck. This one was especially tough for him.
He had another turnover behind the net later in the period that resulted in another easy Kings goal. Fortunately the Oilers offense showed up in a big way.
Honorable mention blooper: Kasperi Kapanen‘s ridiculous stick-throwing penalty that helped complete the Montreal Canadiens’ third period rally. Watch it again here. It set the stage for the Canadiens’ shootout win. Brendan Gallagher also had a huge night for Montreal, recording three points.
- The Boston Bruins have won 15 consecutive games against the Arizona Coyotes, tied for the longest active win streak for one team against a single opponent. [NHL PR]
- Phil Kessel played in his 776th consecutive regular season game on Saturday night, tying him for the seventh-longest consecutive games played streak in NHL history. [NHL PR]
- Jeff Petry‘s penalty shot goal was just the second penalty shot goal by a defender in Canadiens history. [NHL PR]
- Sidney Crosby had a fight and moved into a tie with Jean Beliveau for 41st on the NHL’s all-time points list. [NHL PR]
- The Avalanche are nearly unbeatable when all three of MacKinnon, Rantanen, and Landeskog record at least one point in a single game. [NHL PR]
- McDavid’s four-point game was already his eighth in the NHL. Only Nikita Kucherov, Patrick Kane, and Johnny Gaudreau have more four-point games since McDavid entered the league. [NHL PR]
Buffalo Sabres 7, New Jersey Devils 2
Montreal Canadiens 6, Toronto Maple Leafs 5 (SO)
New York Rangers 4, Ottawa Senators 1
Florida Panthers 4, Tampa Bay Lightning 3
Pittsburgh Penguins 7, Columbus Blue Jackets 2
Carolina Hurricanes 3, Washington Capitals 2 (OT)
St. Louis Blues 3, Dallas Stars 2
Detroit Red Wings 5, Nashville Predators 3
Boston Bruins 1, Arizona Coyotes 0
Colorado Avalanche 4, Minnesota Wild 2
Anaheim Ducks 3, San Jose Sharks 1
Calgary Flames 3, Vancouver Canucks 0
Edmonton Oilers 6, Los Angeles Kings 5
• Your 2019-20 NHL on NBC TV schedule
Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.