Zibanejad, Hoffman score first hat tricks of 2019-20; Canadiens erase three-goal deficit to stun Maple Leafs; McDavid notches four-point outing in Edmonton
THREE HARD LAPS
* Five games Saturday featured at least eight goals, including two 11-goal affairs, for a total of 84 tallies across the board (6.5 G/GP).
* Rangers forward Mika Zibanejad (3-1—4) netted the first hat trick of 2019-20 and his second four-point outing in as many games this season. Connor McDavid (1-3—4) and Tyler Bertuzzi (2-2—4) also had four points apiece.
* The Canadiens rallied from three goals down in the third period to stun the Maple Leafs on Hockey Night in Canada – the second such comeback in as many evenings.
ZIBANEJAD CONTINUES TO PILE ON THE POINTS IN 2019-20
After registering 1-3—4 in the Rangers season opener Thursday, Mika Zibanejad (3-1—4) scored the NHL’s first hat trick of 2019-20 and became the 10th player in the last 74 years to record at least eight points through his team’s first two games of a season. Zibanejad also became the fourth player in that span with at least four points in each of those two contests.
* Zibanejad’s four goals through the first two games equal the highest such total ever by a Rangers player (Mike Allison in 1980-81, Ron Murphy in 1955-56 and Bill Cook in 1929-30).
* The 26-year-old scored the ninth Rangers hat trick that included a power-play, shorthanded and even-strength goal – and just the fourth in the last 30 years. The others: Derek Stepan (Dec. 27, 2014 vs. NJD), Brendan Shanahan (Dec. 3, 2006 vs. NYI) and Petr Nedved (Jan. 24, 2000 at ATL).
* The former Senators forward completed his three-goal outing with New York’s second shorthanded goal in as many games. It is the first time the Rangers have started a season with a shorthanded goal in each of their first two games since the stat became official in 1933-34.
CANADIENS OVERCOME THREE-GOAL DEFICIT TO STUN MAPLE LEAFS . . .
One night after the Jets climbed from a 4-0 hole to defeat the Devils, Brendan Gallagher (1-2—3) helped the Canadiens erase a three-goal, third-period deficit to stun the Maple Leafs on Hockey Night in Canada.
* Saturday’s thrilling finish between Toronto and Montreal came on the heels of another 6-5 decision between the clubs at the end of 2018-19, when Ryan Poehling scored a hat trick in his League debut and netted the decisive goal in the shootout.
* The Canadiens and Maple Leafs have combined for at least 11 goals (including shootout-deciding goals) in consecutive meetings for just the fourth time in the history of their rivalry and just the second in 99 years (also March 21, 1987 and Oct. 21, 1987).
McDAVID NETS FOUR POINTS IN 11-GOAL, BACK-AND-FORTH AFFAIR
In a game that featured five tying goals and two lead changes, Connor McDavid collected 1-3—4, including a goal 53 seconds into the game and an assist on the winning goal by James Neal (2-0—2), to help the Oilers outlast the Kings in Los Angeles’ season opener.
* Saturday marked the second time ever that the Oilers and Kings combined for five tying goals in a game. The other instance came March 21, 1981 when Wayne Gretzky (1-4—5) factored on five of six Edmonton goals in a 6-6 tie.
* McDavid recorded his 41st outing with at least three points – the most by any player since the Oilers captain made his NHL debut in 2015-16.
MATTHEWS CONTINUES GOAL STREAK TO BEGIN SEASON
Auston Matthews scored twice, including a tying goal with 1:15 remaining in regulation to help the Maple Leafs salvage a point and boost his career stats vs. the Canadiens to 12-4—16 in 12 GP – tied for his highest goal totals against one team (12-7—19 in 13 GP vs. OTT).
* After also scoring in each of his first six games to begin 2018-19 (10-4—14 in 6 GP), Matthews has found the back of the net in all three contests in 2019-20. He joined Corb Denneny (1917-18 and 1921-22) and Babe Dye (1921-22 and 1925-26) as the third player in franchise history to record multiple season-opening goal streaks of three or more games.
HOFFMAN, BERTUZZI PROPEL OFFENSES IN OPENERS
Florida’s Mike Hoffman (3-0—3) and Detroit’s Tyler Bertuzzi (2-2—4) led their club to victory in home and season openers, respectively:
* Hoffman became the first player in franchise history to score a hat trick in the club’s home opener. Two other Panthers have scored a hat trick against the Lightning: Pavel Bure (4-0—4 on Jan. 1, 2000) and Nick Bjugstad (3-0—3 on March 6, 2018). Sergei Bobrovsky (32 saves) and head coach Joel Quenneville each secured their first win with the Panthers.
* Bertuzzi’s career-high evening made him the second Red Wings player to post four points in a season opener on the road – Bernie Federko (1-3—4) achieved the feat exactly thirty years earlier (Oct. 5, 1989 at CGY). Late in 2018-19, Bertuzzi became the first player in franchise history to record three or more points in four consecutive games.
BEST OF THE REST
Other highlights from Saturday’s action:
* After 15 former Sabres captains helped celebrate their 50th anniversary in a pre-game ceremony, current captain Jack Eichel (1-2—3) factored on each of the first two goals of the game to boost Buffalo to a 2-0-0 start. The Sabres scored at least seven goals in their home opener for the second time in franchise history (also 1974-75: 9-5 W vs. BOS).
* Penguins captain Sidney Crosby (446-773—1,219 in 945 GP) notched two assists to surpass Larry Murphy (288-929—1,217 in 1,615 GP) and tie Jean Beliveau (507-712—1,219 in 1,125 GP) for 41st place on the NHL’s all-time points list.
* The Bruins improved to 15-0-0 against the Coyotes, dating to a 3-0 triumph at O2 Arena in Prague, Czech Republic on Oct. 10, 2010 (ARI: 0-14-1). Boston’s win streak is tied for the NHL’s longest active run against one opponent.
* Mikko Rantanen (1-1—2), Nathan MacKinnon (0-2—2) and Gabriel Landeskog (1-0—1) each found the score sheet to help the Avalanche improve to 2-0-0. They boosted their all-time record to 50-11-11 in the regular season when each of Rantanen, MacKinnon and Landeskog register a point.
* Johnny Gaudreau (1-2—3) factored on all three goals and David Rittich turned aside all 34 shots he faced as the Flames posted a shutout in their home opener for the third time in franchise history.
* History repeated itself in rematches of Game 7s from the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs as the Hurricanes (GWG: Jake Gardiner) and Blues (GWG: Sammy Blais) edged the Capitals and Stars in one-goal games – just as they did to advance last spring.