NHL Rink Wrap: Eriksson Ek leads Wild comeback; unbeaten Sabres

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Top player from Tuesday in the NHL

Joel Eriksson Ek, Minnesota Wild 

With five minutes to play the Minnesota Wild were facing a 5-3 deficit against the Winnipeg Jets. That is when Joel Eriksson Ek started to take over. He helped power an incredible comeback as the Wild scored two goals in the final five minutes, including a game-tying goal for Eriksson Ek in the closing minute, to send the game to overtime. It was there that Eriksson Ek scored th game-winner to complete the hat trick and give the Wild a 6-5 win and improve their record to 3-0-0 on the season.

It was a dominant night for the Wild center as he scored three goals, had seven shots on goal, 10 total shot attempts, won 76 percent of his faceoffs, and played big minutes on both the power play and penalty kill. The Wild rewarded him with a huge contract extension over the summer and his 2021-22 season is off to an amazing start with a game like this.

Highlights from Monday in the NHL

The Washington Capitals need Evgeny Kuznetsov to have a big bounceback season and he is off to a great start. He showed some of that game-changing ability to open the scoring in a 6-3 win against Colorado with this slick goal.

Eriksson Ek’s game-winning goal for the Wild was a slick passing play off a 3-on-1 rush. That assist for Kirill Kaprizov was his third of the game.

Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid are doing their thing so far for the Edmonton Oilers. Absolutely dominating everybody. Draisaitl had four points on Tuesday, scoring two goals and adding two assists, in their 6-5 win over the Anaheim Ducks. His second goal was an empty-netter to make it a 6-4 game but also goes in the books as the game-winner (Anaheim scored a fifth goal late). But this Evan Bouchard goal earlier in the period was the true decisive goal as it gave the Oilers a 5-4 lead that put them in position for the empty-net tally. It was also a weird goal.

Three Takeaways from Tuesday in the NHL

The Buffalo Sabres are 3-0!

The Jack Eichel situation is a mess and the Sabres have what looks to be the NHL’s worst roster on paper. So it makes perfect sense that they are 3-0 thanks to their 5-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday night. Wait. No. That makes no sense at all. But here we are! They had five different goal scorers on Tuesday night while Craig Anderson stopped 32 out of 34 shots to increase their season opening winning streak. They are outscoring their opponents by a 12-4 margin so far this season.

On one hand, their schedule so far has featured a revamped Montreal team without its starting goalie, a bad Arizona team, and a Vancouver team loaded with question. It is also the first week of the season when things are kinda weird around the league.

But, on the other hand, the great Buffalo fans have watched a lot of lousy hockey for the past decade so we will say enjoy this start. Enjoy it a lot.

More ugliness for Chicago and Montreal 

While the Sabres remain unbeaten, the Chicago Blackhawks and Canadiens extended their season opening winless streaks on Tuesday.

The Canadiens were absolutely crushed by San Jose, 5-0, at home and allowed Jonathan Dahlen to score his first two NHL goals for the Sharks. Given the offseason changes and the early season absence of Carey Price this was always going to be a difficult season in Montreal. But they probably did not expect this.

Meanwhile, in Chicago, head coach Jeremy Colliton was booed during the pregame introductions of the home opener and the Blackhawks themselves were booed off the ice following their latest loss, a 4-1 defeat at the hands of the New York Islanders, to continue their 0-3-1 start. The Blackhawks have been outscored 15-2 during 5-on-5 play this season and have trailed for pretty much the entire season.

Devils win, but Jack Hughes leaves with injury

The good news for the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday night is they were 4-2 winners over the Seattle Kraken.

The bad news is their young star, Jack Hughes, exited the game after an awkward play that resulted in an upper-body injury. The only update head coach Lindy Ruff had after the game was to say that Hughes is considered “day-to-day” and that he will be evaluated further on Wednesday. He also made reference to Hughes having shoulder injuries before, so that probably gives you a clue as to the exact location of Hughes’ injury.

Wednesday’s big story

The Vegas Golden Knights are dealing with some major injury issues right now with Mark Stone, Max Pacioretty, and Alex Tuch headlining the list of players currently out of the lineup. It has been a shaky start so far with a close win over Seattle (that probably should have gone to overtime without a call that went their way) and an ugly loss to the Los Angeles Kings.

On Wednesday they are back on home ice for a tough game against defenseman Alex Pietrangelo‘s old team, the St. Louis Blues.

The Blues are coming in with a perfect 2-0 record on the season but will be playing the first of two games without forward Pavel Buchnevich after he was suspended for two games on Tuesday night for a head-butting incident against Lawson Crouse of the Arizona Coyotes on Monday night.

Tuesday’s NHL scores

Sabres 5, Canucks 2
Sharks 5, Canadiens 0
Panthers 4, Lightning 1
Devils 4, Kraken 2
Stars 2, Penguins 1 (SO)
Capitals 6, Avalanche 3
Red Wings 4, Blue Jackets 1
Islanders 4, Blackhawks 1
Predators 2, Kings 1
Wild 6, Jets 5 (OT)
Oilers 6, Ducks 5

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