The Buzzer: Stars start season on fire; Golden Knights suffer first loss

The Buzzer: Stars squash Predators in debut after COVID delay; first Vegas loss
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Three Stars

1. Joe Pavelski

During his first season with the Dallas Stars after a long stretch with the Sharks, Joe Pavelski disappointed. Luckily, the Pavelski many expected re-emerged during the Stars’ run to the 2020 Stanley Cup Final.

Chalk it up to an elongated rest or something else (Pavelski is 36, after all), but Pavelski and the Stars stormed out of the gate to start this season.

Pavelski scored two goals and two assists in a 7-0 drubbing of the Predators. In particular, Pavelski and the Stars were potent on the power play, as Dallas’ unit went 5-for-8. Naturally, other Stars scorers were able to shine, too. Alexander Radulov lit up his long-ago NHL club, scoring two goals and one assist. John Klingberg collected three assists of his own.

Even with Tyler Seguin among those unavailable, the Stars looked like they could prove that deep run was not a fluke.

2. Anton Khudobin

Of all the Dallas Stars who tested positive for COVID, Khudobin seemed like one of the most dangerous cases. For one thing, he’s older at age 34.

Folks, he also couldn’t taste his mashed potatoes. Oh yeah, he also noted some shortness of breath. But the potatoes!

Well, Khudobin got over those issues, as he helped make that Stars win a lopsided one. The veteran goalie pitched a 34-save shutout against Nashville, picking up where he left off. The Stars face a challenge with Ben Bishop sidelined, but maybe Khudobin can pull the whole No. 1 starter thing off?

3. Conor Garland

The Coyotes drew a tough stretch of games against the Golden Knights, one of the frontrunners in what could be a brutal West Division. After falling two times in a row to Vegas, the Coyotes finally got some revenge on Friday, handing the Golden Knights their first loss of 2020-21.

Garland was a big part of that push. The diamond-in-the-rough scored a goal and two assists, with both of those helpers being of the primary variety.

It’s looking like Garland could build off of last season’s breakout. He was quietly one of the happiest success stories of that team in 2019-20, scoring 22 goals and 39 points in 68 games. So far, Garland has six points in five games, and that doesn’t feel like a total accident considering the chances he creates (20 SOG, or four per game so far).

NHL highlights from Friday

It already takes some gall to pull off “The Forsberg move” in a shootout. Filip Chytil took it up a notch by pulling it off in game action:

The Avalanche overcame the Ducks’ rest advantage, but it required some alert moments from Philipp Grubauer:

NHL scores from Friday

Capitals 4, Sabres 3 (SO)
Penguins 4, Rangers 3 (SO)
Maple Leafs 4, Oilers 2
Blackhawks 4, Red Wings 1
Wild 4, Sharks 1
Stars 7, Predators 0
Coyotes 5, Golden Knights 2
Avalanche 3, Ducks 2 (OT)

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

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