NHL Morning Skate – Oct. 20, 2022

* The Panthers posted 34 home wins in 2021-22, the second most in a single season in NHL history, and continued right where they left off to start 2022-23 as Carter Verhaeghe’s multi-goal effort propelled the club to another home-opening win.

Mikko Rantanen posted at least three points for the second time in as many home games to start 2022-23 and continued his success during the month of October, posting 19-38—57 in 50 career games during the calendar month.

* Wednesday marked the fourth day in NHL history that defensemen accounted for each game-winning goal (min. 3 GP). The others: Feb. 18, 2008 (4 GP), March 14, 1985 (3 GP) and March 2, 1957 (3 GP).

VERHAEGHE VAULTS PANTHERS TO VICTORY IN HOME OPENER
On the night Carter Verhaeghe (2-0—2) found the back of the net twice in the opening 8:38, the Panthers (3-1-0, 6 points) skated to victory in their home opener and handed the Flyers (3-1-0) their first loss of 2022-23. Verhaeghe, who also scored twice in Florida’s first home contest of 2021-22, became the first Panthers player and sixth active skater to record multiple goals in consecutive home openers.

Matthew Tkachuk (0-2—2), who joined Florida this offseason as part of a blockbuster trade and has assisted on each of Florida’s past two game-winning goals, extended his season-opening point streak to four games. With a team-leading six points in 2022-23 (2-4—6), he became the fifth player in Panthers history to start his tenure with the club on a point streak of at least four games, joining Ray Whitney (7 GP in 1997-98), Pavel Bure (6 GP in 1998-99), Verhaeghe (4 GP in 2020-21) and Kris Versteeg (4 GP in 2011-12).

* Florida has won 13 of its last 14 home games dating to March 3 – a span which includes one of the club’s two 11-game home win streaks from 2021-22. The Panthers have also won four straight home openers dating to 2019-20 – only the Bruins (7 GP), Maple Leafs (7 GP), Ducks (7 GP) and Jets (5 GP) own longer active runs.

BLUES, JETS HOLD OFF RALLIES TO LOCK UP OVERTIME WINS
The Avalanche and Kraken both erased two goal deficits, but defensemen Neal Pionk (2-0—2 w/ WPG) and Justin Faulk (2-0—2 w/ STL) each scored in overtime to lift their respective clubs to victory in tightly-contested affairs.

* Pionk scored his first career overtime goal and was the second of three blueliners to tally a game-winning goal Thursday following Florida’s Josh Mahura – who netted the first winner of his career (83 GP).

* While Faulk matched the franchise record for career overtime goals by a Blues defensemanVladimir Tarasenko (0-3—3) collected a primary assist on the play and also collected helpers on both of St. Louis’ first-period goals in a span of 17 seconds. It marked the fastest two assists by a Blues player since Brett Hull on Nov. 14, 1996 (0:12).

RANTANEN’S OCTOBER SUCCESS HIGHLIGHTS #NHLSTATS: LIVE UPDATES
The Wednesday edition of #NHLStats: Live Updates highlighted another performance from Mikko Rantanen, who collected 2-1—3 at Ball Arena after posting four assists on Colorado’s banner-raising night against Chicago. Rantanen, with 19-38—57 in 50 career games during the month of October, became just the seventh player in Avalanche/Nordiques history to post three-plus points in each of the team’s first two home games of a season and first since Paul Stastny in 2007-08 (4-4—8 in 2 GP).

QUICK CLICKS

Jakub Vrana of Red Wings to enter NHL/NHLPA Player Assistance Program

Sarah Nurse discusses NHL 23 cover, Olympic gold medal in Q&A with NHL.com

Gabriel Landeskog out 12 weeks for Avalanche after knee surgery

Aaron Ekblad placed on long-term injured reserve by Panthers

Doug Favell appreciates special place in Flyers history 55 years later
 

CROSBY, OVECHKIN TO TAKE TO THE ICE AFTER CRACKING INTO NHL’S TOP 20
After Sidney Crosby (519-896—1,415) moved into the top 20 on the NHL’s all-time points list on Oct. 15, Alex Ovechkin (782-633—1,415) followed suit on Oct. 17 with a four-point outing en route to passing Doug Gilmour (450-964—1,414).

* Ovechkin (37 years, 33 days) and Crosby (35 years, 74 days), both within five points of Adam Oates (341-1,079—1,420) for 18th place, can become the youngest pair of active players to conclude a season within the NHL’s top 20 all-time scorers since Dale Hawerchuk (34 years, 9 days; 10th) and Denis Savard (36 years, 68 days; 17th) in 1996-97.


SKATERS LOOK TO CARRY ON THEIR STREAKING STARTS
Rasmus DahlinArtemi PanarinJohn Tavares and Mitchell Marner all enter Thursday with a season-opening streak of some kind and look to maintain their recent strings of success when their teams take to the ice on the NHL’s 12-game slate.

* Dahlin (3-1—4 in 3 GP) leads the Sabres in goals and points this season after finding the back of the net in each of Buffalo’s first three games to start 2022-23. Should he score again against Calgary, Dahlin would become the first defenseman in NHL history with a season-opening goal streak of four contests. 

* Panarin (2-8—10 in 4 GP) leads the NHL with 10 points through New York’s first four games of the season. Another point would not only give Panarin the longest season-opening point streak by a Rangers player since Brad Richards (5 GP in 2011-12), but he would match the franchise’s highest point total by a player through five games of a campaign (Rod Gilbert: 3-8—11 in 5 GP, 1971-72).

* Tavares and Marner will put their four-game point streaks on the line when the Maple Leafs conclude a four-game homestand against the Stars. Only three seasons in the NHL’s expansion era (since 1967-68) have featured multiple Toronto skaters each collect points in the team’s first five or more games to start a campaign: 2018-19 (Auston Matthews: 7 GP & Morgan Rielly: 6 GP), 1991-92 (Brian Bradley: 5 GP & Dave Ellett: 5 GP) and 1979-80 (John Anderson: 5 GP & Darryl Sittler: 5 GP).

MILESTONE GAMES ON THE HORIZON FOR VETERANS
A pair of seasoned veterans are expected to skate in milestone games when the Wild and Flames host the Canucks and Sabres, respectively. Alex Goligoski (999 GP) – a Stanley Cup champion who has spent time with Pittsburgh, Dallas, Arizona and Minnesota during his career – is set to appear in his 1,000th NHL game while Milan Lucic – another Stanley Cup champion – will hit No. 1,100.

* Lucic is coming off a full 82-game season with the Flames in 2021-22 and has posted 226-340—566 in 1,099 contests to date, including 1,260 penalty minutes. He is set to join Corey Perry (1,180 GP, 1,290 PIM) as just the second active player with at least 1,100 games played and 1,100 or more penalty minutes.

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