1. Vladislav Namestnikov, Ottawa Senators. Two years ago Namestnikov was skating on the Tampa Bay Lightning’s top line alongside Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos. After boosting his value, he was then used as a trade chip for the team to land defender Ryan McDonagh from the New York Rangers before the 2017-18 trade deadline. After a mostly disappointing stay on Broadway, he was traded to Ottawa this past week for another fresh start. So far, so good, and it came at the Lightning’s expense. Namestnikov scored two goals — including the game-winner — for the Senators on Saturday to help his new team get its first win of the season. On paper, this game should have been a mismatch, but the Senators drastically outplayed the Lightning in what was probably the biggest surprise of the day.
2. Leon Draisaitl, Edmonton Oilers. After scoring 50 goals and 100 points a year ago and finishing in the top-four of the league in both categories, Draisaitl is picking up where he left and is once again looking like a superstar. He finished with three points on Saturday afternoon — including two goals — to help the Oilers improve to 5-0 on the season. He and Connor McDavid (two more points on Saturday) are carrying the offense again.
3. Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins. With the Penguins’ forward lineup dealing with a ton of injuries they are going to need their captain and his line to dominate for them to have a chance to win. Right now, they are dominating. Crosby was great once again on Saturday night, picking up two more points in a 7-4 win over the Minnesota Wild, including a highlight reel backhand goal off the rush. He has recorded at least one point in every game this season and already has eight in the Penguins’ first five games. The Penguins also received some surprising production from their recent call-ups with Adam Johnson and Sam Lafferty both recording their first NHL goals.
Other notable performances on Saturday
- Brendan Gallagher finished with three points for the Montreal Canadiens as they handed the St. Louis Blues their first regulation loss of the season.
- Rookie goalie Ilya Samsonov was amazing again for the Washington Capitals as they defeated the Dallas Stars. In his first two NHL starts Samsonov has allowed a total of two goals. He is the future of the position in The District.
- Ilya Kovalchuk continued his strong start with another goal in the Kings’ 7-4 win over the Nashville Predators.
- The Winnipeg Jets overcame an early 2-0 deficit against the Chicago Blackhawks to win in overtime on Mark Scheifele‘s second goal of the season. The Blackhawks remain winless.
- Mark Stone, Will Carrier, and Max Pacioretty all had two points for the Vegas Golden Knights in their big 6-2 win over the Calgary Flames.
- Semyon Varlamov picked up his first win as a member of the New York Islanders by stopping all three shootout shots against the Florida Panthers. He also made 35 saves through regulation and overtime.
- Tanner Pearson scored a goal in regulation and then added the game-winning goal in the shootout for the Vancouver Canucks in their win over the Philadelphia Flyers.
- The Boston Bruins’ top line was once again dominant as Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron both scored goals in a 3-0 win over the New Jersey Devils to keep them winless. Tuukka Rask was also brilliant again and has stopped 90 of the first 94 shots he has faced this season.
Highlights of the Night
It may have come in a losing effort but Kaapo Kakko‘s first NHL goal for the New York Rangers was a beautiful play.
Jacob De La Rose had one of the few highlights of the night for the Detroit Red Wings with this nice looking goal.
The Columbus Blue Jackets handed the Carolina Hurricanes their first loss of the season thanks to this great effort from Pierre-Luc Dubois.
The Colorado Avalanche improved to 4-0-0 on the season and it was new addition Andre Burakovsky scoring the game-winning goal for the second game in a row.
Blooper of the Night
There is really no other choice here, it has to be Jimmy Howard‘s gamble in Detroit that turned into a rather easy goal for the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Rest in Peace
- The Capitals’ win against the Stars was their first regulation win in Dallas since the 1995 season. [NHL PR]
- Phil Kessel played in his 1,000th NHL game on Saturday night, making him the third youngest active player to play in 1,000 games. [NHL PR]
- Penguins goalie Matt Murray recorded his 100th career win on Saturday night, making him just the eight goalie since the 1966-67 season record 100 wins in 166 games or less. [NHL PR]
- The Los Angeles Kings set a franchise record for fasted three goals, scoring three goals in 30 seconds during their win over the Nashville Predators. [NHL PR]
- The Oilers are the first team in NHL history to come-from-behind to win each of their first five games of the season. [NHL PR]
Edmonton Oilers 4, New York Rangers 1
Ottawa Senators 4, Tampa Bay Lightning 2
Los Angeles Kings 7, Nashville Predators 4
Winnipeg Jets 3, Chicago Blackhawks 2 (OT)
Boston Bruins 3, New Jersey Devils 0
Montreal Canadiens 6, St. Louis Blues 3
Toronto Maple Leafs 5, Detroit Red Wings 2
New York Islanders 3, Florida Panthers 2 (SO)
Columbus Blue Jackets 3, Carolina Hurricanes 2
Washington Capitals 4, Dallas Stars 1
Pittsburgh Penguins 7, Minnesota Wild 4
Colorado Avalanche 3, Arizona Coyotes 2 (OT)
Vegas Golden Knights 6, Calgary Flames 2
Vancouver Canucks 3, Philadelphia Flyers 2 (SO)
• 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.