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* Connor McDavid started the 2022-23 campaign with a bang, surpassing the 700-point mark after a four-point outing, recording the first hat trick of the season and leading his club to a three-goal comeback win.
* After raising their Stanley Cup banner into the rafters, the Avalanche improved the defending champions’ record in season openers to 60-26-16 (102 GP) in a contest that featured six power-play goals.
* For the second time in as many days and eighth time in NHL history, a season-opening game was decided by a go-ahead goal in the final 30 seconds of regulation as Josh Anderson capped a frenetic finish in the 20th all-time head-to-head season opener between the Canadiens and Maple Leafs.
* Thursday is set to feature several players debuting with new teams as well as a trio of teammates embarking on their 17th NHL season together.
McDAVID HITS 700-POINT MARK WITH SEASON-OPENING HAT TRICK
With Edmonton trailing 3-0 midway through the second period, Oilers captain Connor McDavid factored on four of his club’s five consecutive goals, capping off the night with the NHL’s first hat trick of the 2022-23 season. McDavid (3-1—4) boosted his career totals to 242-459—701 (488 GP) and became the fastest active player to reach the 700-point milestone.
* The three-goal performance marked the second season-opening hat trick of McDavid’s career (also Oct. 4, 2017) as he became the third player in NHL history to record multiple hat tricks in season openers alongside Brendan Shanahan (2) and Cam Neely (2).
* The Oilers overcame a three-goal deficit to win a season-opening game for the first time in franchise history. Edmonton became just the ninth club in NHL history to do so and the first since Anaheim on Oct. 5, 2017. Coincidentally, the Ducks overcame a 3-1 deficit Wednesday night to record their second-ever multi-goal comeback win in a season opener.
SPECIAL TEAMS PROPEL AVALANCHE TO VICTORY ON SPECIAL BANNER-RAISING NIGHT
After a banner-raising ceremony and an “All The Small Things” sing-along led by Mark Hoppus from Blink-182, Mikko Rantanen (0-4—4) led the Avalanche to a sound victory factoring on four of the game’s six power-play goals. The contest fell one shy of the most power-play markers in a season opener (since 1933-34 when goals by type was officially tracked) established by the Bruins (3) and Canadiens (4) on Oct. 9, 1975.
* Rantanen matched Peter Stastny (3x) and Dale Hunter for the second-most points by an Avalanche/Nordiques player in a season-opening game, trailing only Michel Goulet (1-4—5 on Oct. 4, 1983). Stastny, Hunter and Goulet all achieved the feat with Quebec.
CANADIENS CLAIM VICTORY IN SEASON OPENER WITH TWO LATE GO-AHEAD GOALS
After Cole Caufield scored twice to help his team erase a 1-0 and 2-1 deficit, Sean Monahan and Josh Anderson both tallied go-ahead goals in the final 2:30 of regulation to lift the Canadiens past their Original Six-rival Maple Leafs in front of a roaring crowd during their season opener at Bell Centre.
* Montreal became the fourth team in NHL history to score multiple go-ahead goals in the final 2:30 of regulation in any contest – the other clubs to achieve the feat were Ottawa on Oct. 27, 2011 (57:53 & 59:56), Nashville on Nov. 8, 2005 (58:05 & 59:37) and Vancouver on March 20, 1974 (58:09 & 58:50).
* Caufield (21 years, 283 days) became the third-youngest player in Canadiens history to score multiple goals in a season opener, behind only Bernie Geoffrion (20 years, 237 days on Oct. 11, 1951) and Aurel Joliat (21 years, 109 days on Dec. 16, 1922). Caufield required 31 contests to record his second goal last season and went on to finish the campaign atop his club in goals. When he entered Bell Centre on Wednesday, Caufield chose not to answer the question, “Who will score the Canadien’s first goal of the season?”
PASTRNAK POWERS BRUINS TO VICTORY IN SEASON OPENER
David Pastrnak(1-3—4) factored on each of Boston’s first four goals and concluded the night one shy of the franchise mark for points in a season opener while David Krejci (1-2—3) made an immediate impact in his first NHL game in nearly 500 days by recording his 100th career multi-assist outing as the Bruins skated to their first win of the season.
* Patrik Laine scoring in 2022-23 to fight homelessness
* Andy Greene retires from NHL, signs one-day contract with Devils
* Don Granato signs multiyear contract as Sabres coach
* Oilers pay tribute to superfan Ben Stelter
* Juraj Slafkovsky fulfills dream in NHL debut with Canadiens
BIG NAME DEBUTS ON TAP FOR THURSDAY
Several notable players are set to debut with new clubs as 20 teams take to the ice Thursday, including 11 contesting a season-opening game.
* Alex DeBrincat and Claude Giroux will contest their first game with Ottawa as the Senators visit the Sabres at KeyBank Center. DeBrincat was one of 17 40-goal scorers last season and can become the second player in franchise history to record as many during his first campaign with Ottawa, joining Dany Heatley (50 in 2005-06).
* Matthew Tkachuk will make his Panthers premiere when they take on the Islanders at UBS Arena. Tkachuk begins his quest for a second consecutive 100-point season after posting 104 with Calgary last year – he can join Jonathan Huberdeau (who was sent to the Flames in the blockbuster trade involving Tkachuk) as the second player to reach the mark with Florida.
* Huberdeau and Stanley Cup champion Nazem Kadri will make their team debut during the Flames’ season opener against the Avalanche at Scotiabank Saddledome. Huberdeau led the League with 85 assists last season and can become the second player to record 80-plus in a campaign with Calgary, joining Kent Nilsson (82 in 1980-81).
PREDATORS, POILE CLOSE IN ON WIN MILESTONE; PENS TRIO BACK FOR 17TH SEASON
While Thursday’s slate features plenty of familiar faces in new places, several franchise cornerstones are also involved in the action:
* After sweeping San Jose during the 2022 NHL Global Series back-to-back in Prague, Czechia, Nashville enters its first stateside game of the regular season with 899 wins in franchise history. David Poile, who has served as Predators GM since their inaugural campaign in 1998-99, would become the fifth NHL general manager to record 900 victories with a single franchise – Poile is set to join Harry Sinden (1,170 w/ BOS), Lou Lamoriello (1,093 w/ NJD), Ken Holland (925 w/ DET) and Jack Adams (913 w/ DET).
* Pittsburgh veterans Sidney Crosby, Kris Letang and Evgeni Malkin are set to embark on their 17th NHL season together dating to 2006-07, extending the longest such run in League history by a trio of teammates. Kings mainstays Drew Doughty, Anze Kopitar and Jonathan Quick pushed their streak to 15 campaigns Tuesday.