Three Stars from first night of the 2020-21 NHL season
1. Joel Farabee
Through the first 40 games of his rookie season, Joel Farabee managed 15 points in 40 games. Farabee picked up steam during the stretch of 2019-20, scoring a point in every other contest (six points in 12 games).
Considering his age — he won’t turn 21 until Feb. 25 — it’s reasonable for Flyers fans to wonder if he’s merely heating up.
Granted, expecting Farabee to match nights like his four-point season-opener against the Penguins might be a little lofty.
Farabee scored one goal and three assists on Wednesday, firing four shots on goal and finishing the night with a +2 rating. If Farabee can help the Flyers produce multiple waves of offense, this Flyers team could be even more dangerous during the 2020-21 NHL season. Just don’t expect too many four-point nights.
2. William Nylander
Naturally, when the Maple Leafs fell behind the Canadiens 3-1 several minutes into the second period, the angst started to build. Yet, for all of the critiques of the Maple Leafs, it can be difficult to make a lead stick against Toronto.
Scorers like Nylander explain why the Maple Leafs are capable of such thrilling comebacks.
Nylander scored two goals and one assist on Wednesday, with his primary helper sending this one to overtime. You could definitely make an argument for John Tavares, too, as the Maple Leafs captained collected one goal and two assists.
3. Steven Stamkos
During their Stanley Cup banner-earning run, the Lightning only had Stamkos for a few minutes and a very memorable goal. Now they’re hoping Stamkos can replace at least some of what they’re missing with Nikita Kucherov out for the regular season.
So far … so good.
Stamkos scored a vintage power play goal to go with two assists, showing some great chemistry with Brayden Point (1G, 1A). Stamkos won some faceoffs, fired five SOG, and logged almost 16 minutes of ice time in what was a cakewalk for the defending champs. Not a bad way to spend the first day of the 2020-21 NHL season, and Stamkos’ first full night of action in a while.
Highlight of the Night: that Subban save
Not a lot went right for Malcolm Subban and the Blackhawks against the Lightning. That said, it would be silly to put all of it on Subban. At the absolute minimum, Subban offered up an early save of the 2020-21 NHL season candidate with this one vs. Alex Killorn:
Blooper of the Night
The goalie stick giveth, the goalie stick take it away. (Or … reverse that, based on rooting interests.)
While Subban used his stick to stop Killorn, Carter Hart probably should’ve abstained from even playing the puck. Sidney Crosby made him pay with some splendid stick work of his own. Crosby: always showing off that MLB-friendly hand-eye coordination.
The league released this list of COVID protocol related absences for Jan. 13 (teams without absences were omitted):
Arizona – Lawson Crouse
Boston – Karson Kuhlman
Colorado – Erik Johnson
Columbus – Mikko Koivu
Dallas – will be released prior to its first game
Detroit – Christian Djoos; Darren Helm
Edmonton – Gaetan Haas; James Neal
Florida – Markus Nutivaara
Los Angeles – Kurtis MacDermid; Cal Petersen; Sean Walker
Minnesota – Alex Stalock
Nashville – Mikael Granlund; Luca Sbisa
NY Rangers – Justin Richards
Philadelphia – Shayne Gostisbehere
Pittsburgh – Kasperi Kapanen
San Jose – Max Letunov
Vancouver – Jordie Benn; J.T. Miller
Winnipeg – Nikolaj Ehlers
Scores from first night of NHL season
Flyers 6, Penguins 3
Maple Leafs 5, Canadiens 4 (OT)
Lightning 5, Blackhawks 1
Canucks 5, Oilers 3
Blues 4, Avalanche 1
James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.