Crosby’s slump matches career-worst, but Pens win Kessel’s reunion vs. Leafs


Phil Kessel was held off the scoresheet in his first game against Toronto since being traded Pittsburgh and Sidney Crosby has now tied his career-worst with his five-game point slump.

That wasn’t enough for the Maple Leafs though as they still suffered a 2-1 loss to the Penguins.

Evgeni Malkin played a big role in the Penguins’ victory when he collected the puck in the Maple Leafs’ zone early in the first period and carried it all the way to the other end of the ice before firing it past goalie Jonathan Bernier:

Olli Maatta made it 2-0 less than a minute later, making it look like Bernier might be yanked quickly from this start after lasting just 20:20 minutes in his last game. Tonight’s story proved to be different as Bernier calmed down and went on to make 31 saves.

The Maple Leafs were never able to reverse the damage though. This is the third time in their five-game old season that they have been held to one goal or less. In addition to no longer having Kessel’s services, Toronto was also without his former linemate Tyler Bozak (lower body) tonight.

Despite the star power its roster features, Pittsburgh has been struggling offensively as well. The Penguins haven’t scored more than two goals in a single game, but they have still managed to win their last two contests.

Pittsburgh will look to extend that streak on Tuesday against Florida while Crosby tries to avoid setting a career-low with his slump.

Nicklas Backstrom’s return adds to Canes’ woes

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Nicklas Backstrom missed the first three games of the regular season as he recovered from hip surgery, but he’s making up for lost time now that he’s back.

The 27-year-old forward had two points in his season debut, including the game-winning goal as the Washington Capitals cruised to a 4-1 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes.

The Hurricanes got their first win of the season on Friday against Detroit, but they weren’t able to build off of that momentum. T.J. Oshie netted a power-play goal late in the first period and Carolina was never able to even the score after that.

This one stayed close for most of the night though. It wasn’t until Backstrom’s marker early in the third period that Washington had any breathing room.

Jeff Skinner brought Carolina back within one, but John Carlson and Alex Ovechkin responded with a pair of unanswered goals. That also extended Ovechkin’s season-opening goal scoring streak to three games.

The Hurricanes have fallen to 1-4-0 and things might only get worse from here as they still have five contests remaining in their seven-game road trip. Washington is now 3-1-0 going into Tuesday’s contest in Calgary.

Trying to stop the play? Stalock knocks off his mask before goal


Was San Jose Sharks goaltender Alex Stalock trying to readjust his mask and accidentally knocked it off or was he looking for a way to get out of a pressure situation?

Whatever his motivation, New York Islanders forward Anders Lee netted a power-play goal while Stalock’s helmet was off. The reason why it counted was because the netminder was the one to remove his mask.

That’s sparked varied reactions and you can hear one of them in the replay below:

This is Stalock’s first start of the season after Martin Jones led San Jose to a 4-0-0 start with his 0.49 GAA and .982 save percentage.

Canadiens’ first deficit of ’15-16 lasts less than three minutes

It’s finally happened.

For the first time this season, the Montreal Canadiens trailed in a game. Their deficit came courtesy of Red Wings forward Dylan Larkin, who flung the puck at goaltender Carey Price from a bad angle and was rewarded with his second career goal:

That extended Larkin’s season-opening point streak to five games as he continues to show why he’s playing for Detroit at the age of 19 despite the Red Wings’ tendency to wait for their prospects to hone their skills in the minors before earning a regular spot with the NHL club.

Of course, the fact that Montreal wasn’t behind in a game until its sixth contest of the season is remarkable. Even with the Canadiens’ rich history, their 5-0 start still set a franchise record.

Perhaps the Canadiens will be able to extend that winning streak. After all, their first deficit of the season lasted less than three minutes before Brendan Gallagher evened the game on a power play.

Video: Sam Reinhart scores his first career goal


Although Jack Eichel has and will continue to generate a lot of attention, he’s not the only high-profile rookie with the Buffalo Sabres.

Sam Reinhart is another second overall pick and tonight against the Tampa Bay Lightning he scored the first goal of his career. The 19-year-old is playing in his 14th NHL game.

As you can see above, this play started with Reinhart putting pressure on Alex Killorn in a battle for the puck in the Lightning’s zone. Shortly afterwards, Tyler Ennis gained control and while his attempt to beat goalie Ben Bishop fell short, he was able to collect the rebound and feed it to Reinhart.

Reinhart is the younger brother of 21-year-old Griffin (Edmonton) and 23-year-old Max (Nashville). He’s also the son of former defenseman Paul Reinhart, who had a 648-game career with the Atlanta/Calgary Flames and Vancouver Canucks.

That marker gave Buffalo an early 1-0 lead as it looks to improve to 2-3-0.