After losing their season opener against a Pittsburgh Penguins’ squad that was playing without Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Jake Guentzel, the Tampa Bay Lightning were looking to rebound Thursday night. It almost didn’t happen.
Even though the Lightning were up against the Detroit Red Wings, who posted a miserable 19-27-10 record last season, Tampa Bay struggled in its second game of the season. The Lightning were down 3-0 and 4-1 during the second period. Steven Stamkos scored a pair of power-play goals late in the second after Dylan Larkin got a five-minute major and match penalty for an intent to injure Mathieu Joseph in retaliation for a hit Joseph dished out.
Capitalizing on that power play was critical for Tampa Bay, but the Lightning still entered the third period down 4-3 and things were going to get worse for them before they got better. Tyler Bertuzzi scored early in the third period – which was incredibly his fourth goal of the game – and Vladislav Namestnikov gave Detroit a 6-3 lead at 7:10 of the third frame.
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However the Lightning rallied back in the second half of the period and then Ondrej Palat completed the comeback with an overtime goal.
So on the one hand, the defending Cup champions certainly didn’t have a pretty win and they found themselves down three goals on three separate occasions against a team that’s projected to finish the season near the bottom of the league’s standings. On the other hand, two points is two points and they still have plenty of time to address any early season issues they have.
BUFFALO 5 MONTREAL 1
Chris Wideman accounted for the Canadiens’ only goal. Montreal has now been limited to two markers over their first two games.
Craig Anderson came up big against the Habs in his Sabres debut. He stopped 30 of 31 shots to earn his 292nd career victory.
On the Canadiens’ side, Sam Montembeault turned aside 31 of 36 shots. He wasn’t originally expected to make the team, but he’s getting an opportunity as the backup goaltender while Carey Price is absent. Zemgus Girgensons scored the game-winning goal and registered an assist. He missed the entire 2020-21 campaign due to a hamstring injury that required surgery.
Victor Olofsson also had a goal and an assist for Buffalo. He had 13 goals and 32 points in 56 contests last season.
OTTAWA 3 TORONTO 2
The Maple Leafs managed to outshoot the Senators 17-12 in the first period, but you’d never know that from the score. After 20 minutes, it was 3-0 in favor of Ottawa.
Petr Mrazek stopped 23 of 26 Senators shots through 40 minutes. He calmed down after a rough start, but then his night took another turn for the worse when he suffered a groin injury, preventing him from finishing the game. Jack Campbell stepped in and saved all 10 shots he faced in the third frame.
Toronto managed to battle back in the third period thanks to a pair of power-play goals, but their comeback ultimately fell short. That said, William Nylander and Jason Spezza both had noteworthy nights for Toronto with a goal and an assist each.
Toronto’s failed comeback attempt wasn’t due to a lack of trying on their part. Toronto outshot Ottawa 25-10 in the final 20 minutes, but even that wasn’t enough. Anton Forsberg deserves a lot of credit for the Senators victory with his 46 saves on 48 shots.
Tyler Ennis also played an important role in Ottawa’s victory with a goal and an assist. He had three goals and nine points in 30 games with Edmonton last season.
The Senators other two goals came from Alex Formenton and Chris Tierney. In Formenton’s case, he scored at 19:59 of the first in what proved to be the game winner.
FLORIDA 5 PITTSBURGH 4 (OT)
After breaking out in 2020-21, Carter Verhaeghe is starting the season off right. He scored two goals, including the overtime winner, to lead the Panthers last night.
Aaron Ekblad was the Panthers’ other big contributor with a pair of goals of his own. The blueliner had 11 markers and 22 points in 35 games last season.
Allowing four goals is never ideal, but in Sergei Bobrovsky’s case he certainly was tested a lot. He ultimately stopped 43 of 47 Penguins shots.
At the other end of the ice, Casey DeSmith was kept busy too. He turned aside 34 of 39 shots in his first start of the campaign.
Jeff Carter scored a goal and an assist for the Penguins. He’s off to a great start with a goal and three points in his first two games of 2021-22.
DALLAS 3 NY RANGERS 2 (OT)
Braden Holtby was having a solid night with 25 saves on 27 shots when he had to leave the game midway through the third period. He was dehydrated and was put on an IV after getting off the ice. Apparently he was aware of the problem after the second period and tried to get as much fluid as he could in him during the intermission, but ultimately it wasn’t enough. Anton Khudobin stepped in and finished what Holtby started, making six saves to secure the overtime win.
Miro Heiskanen scored the overtime winner and registered an assist. It was his first career overtime goal.
Radek Faksa found the back of the net during a Stars power play. He had six goals and 14 points in 55 contests in 2020-21.
Adam Fox accounted for one of the Rangers’ two goals. That gives him a goal and two points in two games this season.
Igor Shesterkin turned aside 23 of 26 Stars shots. It was his first contest of the 2021-22 campaign after posting a 16-14-3 record, 2.62 GAA, and .916 save percentage in 35 contests.
CAROLINA 6 NY ISLANDERS 3
Andrei Svechnikov led the charge for the Hurricanes with two goals and an assist. He had a pair of three-point games last season.
Teuvo Teravainen found the back of the net and registered an assist for Carolina. He only participated in 21 games in 2020-21 due to a concussion.
Ilya Sorokin was on the wrong end of the Hurricanes’ wraith in this one. He was bombarded with 40 shots and surrendered five goals as a result. He had a 13-6-3 record, 2.17 GAA, and .918 save percentage in 22 contests over his rookie campaign.
Frederik Andersen kicked out 25 of 28 Islanders shots. It was his first start with Carolina after inking a two-year, $9 million contract over the summer.
One of the silver linings for the Islanders was that Anders Lee scored in his first regular season game since suffering a knee injury. He last played on March 11.
COLUMBUS 8 ARIZONA 2
At one point, Max Domi wasn’t even expected to be in the lineup this season until December. Not only did he end up being available for the season opener, he excelled with a gaol and three points.
As amazing as Domi played, Oliver Bjorkstrand was the Blue Jackets’ top forward with two goals and two assists. It was his first ever four-point game.
It was a rough night for the Coyotes all around. Clayton Keller scored a goal for Arizona, but he also finished with a minus-three rating. Nick Schmaltz was the worst from a plus/minus perspective at minus-five.
This wasn’t a good night for Arizona’s Carter Hutton either. He kicked out just 16 of 26 shots and allowed at least two goals in every period.
Elvis Merzlikins stopped 36 of 38 Coyotes shots. He had an 8-12-5 record, 2.77 GAA, and .916 save percentage in 28 games last season.
TAMPA BAY 7 DETROIT 6 (OT)
As noted above, Tyler Bertuzzi had an incredible game, scoring four goals. He’s just the sixth player to ever start the season with an at least four goals. The last was Auston Matthews in 2016, whose team also lost in overtime.
On Tampa Bay’s side, Nikita Kucherov and Victor Hedman each had four-point nights. Kucherov had a goal and three assists while Hedman recorded four helpers.
Ondrej Palat scored two goals, including the game winner. He had been held off the scoresheet in the Lightning’s opener.
This naturally wasn’t a good game for goaltenders. Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 20 of 26 Red Wings shots. He’s 1-1-0 with a 4.50 GAA and .845 save percentage in two starts this season.
Alex Nedeljkovic saved 41 of 48 Lightning shots. He had a 15-5-3 record, 1.90 GAA, and .932 save percentage in 23 starts with Carolina in 2020-21.
SEATTLE 4 NASHVILLE 3
In their second game, the Seattle Kraken earned their first ever win. Brandon Tanev played a huge role in the victory, scoring a power-play goal in the first period and the game-winner at 18:39 of the third.
Jared McCann had a goal and an assist for the Kraken. He already has two goals and three points in two contests.
Philipp Grubauer stopped 27 of 30 Predators shots. He improved to 1-1-0 with a 3.54 GAA and .883 save percentage in two contests.
Mikael Granlund scored a goal and registered two assists for Nashville. It was his first three-point game since Dec. 11, 2018.
Juuse Saros kicked out 22 of 25 Kraken shots. He had a 21-11-1 record, 2.28 GAA, and .927 save percentage in 36 contests last season.
LOS ANGELES 6 VEGAS 2
Robin Lehner turned aside 27 of 31 shots through 40 minutes. Laurent Brossoit came out for the third, but couldn’t stop the bleeding, allowing another two goals on 16 shots.
Anze Kopitar led the charge for the Kings with a hat trick and two assists. He’s 34-years-old, but clearly hasn’t slowed down yet.
Drew Doughty also had a huge night, scoring a goal and three assists. You’d have to go all the way back to Jan. 4, 2010 to find the last time Doughty had a four-point game.
Calvin Petersen saved 23 of 25 Golden Knights shots. He posted a 9-18-5 record, 2.89 GAA, and .911 save percentage in 35 games last season.
Chandler Stephenson contributed a goal for Vegas. He’s up to two goals and three points in two games in 2021-22.
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