Takeaways from the First Week of the NHL Season
The NHL Season is back! And so are the surprises, and the overreactions.
Two or three games is an extremely small sample size in the 82 game NHL Season.
Wait, the Buffalo Sabres are actually good?
Congratulations to the Buffalo Sabres for being 2-0 and tied for first place in the Atlantic Division. Now, the Buffalo Sabres are on pace for a 2-80 record!
The Buffalo Sabres were the worst team in the NHL before star player Jack Eichel requested to be traded because the Sabres refused to give Eichel the surgery he wanted. The Sabres are the joke of the NHL, seemingly firing their coach or general manager every year, never winning the Stanley Cup in their existence. They haven't made the playoffs in a decade and they have consistently iced a terrible team. This year's version, with a 40 yr old starting goaltender, was supposed to be the worst.
But the Sabres, are playing with no pressure and with a vengeance against all those that mocked them. They have been aggressive on the forecheck in their victories this year.
The Sabres stadium holds 19,000 fans. For the season opener, less than 9,000 Sabres fans attended the game, showing their frustrations of the direction of the franchise. The start was likely a mirage, but at least the fans that bothered to show up got to see the Sabres win for once.
The Islanders and Montreal Canadiens struggle early
The Islanders have uncharacteristically struggled on defense this year, allowing a whopping eleven goals in two games. They were on the road against great teams (Hurricanes, Panthers) but have to find a way to play their normal defensive game. The Islanders are the type of team that isn't at their best until the playoffs start, but they need to snap out of their poor defensive play quickly if they want to get into the playoffs. The Islanders have arguably the best coach in the NHL (Barry Trotz) and should be able to fix their issues.
The Montreal Canadiens lost their top defenseman in Shea Weber, their goalie Carey Price, and their shutdown center in Phillip Danault. Still, the Canadiens who made it to the Stanley Cup Final last year were not expected to lose 5-1 to the Buffalo Sabres and be 0-3. Young players Nick Suzuki and Cole Caufield have disappointed early, both having zero points this year. The Canadiens should be better but it is likely with the loss of talent, they will struggle to make the playoffs.
The big name players have impressed offensively so far for the Los Angeles Kings. Anze Kopitar leads the NHL in points for all players as for today with 7. Drew Doughty leads all defensemen in points with 6. Steven Stamkos of the Tampa Bay Lightning is tied for the scoring lead along with Anze Kopitar with 7.
Tyler Bertuzzi of the Detroit Red Wings scored four goals in one game against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Connor McDavid, as the league's best player, has not disappointed with a hat trick in his last game against the Calgary Flames. Alex Ovechkin, with three goals in two games, is now in 5th place on the NHL All-Time Goal Scoring record.