DENVER (AP)Artturi Lehkonen and Valeri Nichushkin each scored two power-play goals, Mikko Rantanen had four assists and the fast-skating Colorado Avalanche began their Stanley Cup title defense with a 5-2 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday night.
Shortly after raising their newest banner to the rafters, the Avalanche went to work. Andrew Cogliano scored Colorado’s first goal of the season, the only goal in the game that wasn’t on the power play. Nathan MacKinnon, fresh off a new lucrative contract, contributed two assists, while new goaltender Alexandar Georgiev stopped 15 shots.
Jonathan Toews and Max Domi had goals as Luke Richardson made his coaching debut for the Blackhawks. Petr Mrazek finished with 30 saves against an Avalanche team that won the title last season by dethroning Tampa Bay in six games.
The crowd was revved up well before the puck even dropped.
The appetizer: A highlight video of Colorado’s run to the franchise’s third Stanley Cup title. Then, some music as Mark Hoppus of the Blink-182 led a sing-along of the band’s tune ”All The Small Things,” which became an anthem for the Avalanche.
There also was captain Gabriel Landeskog hoisting the Cup and skating around with the trophy (he missed the game with a lower-body injury). Of course, there were plenty of on-ice pictures, including a memorable shot of the team with Blackhawks defenseman Jack Johnson joining in. Johnson was with Colorado last season.
OILERS 5, CANUCKS 3
EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) – Connor McDavid had three goals and an assist and Edmonton overcame an early 3-0 deficit to beat Vancouver.
On his second goal, McDavid reached 700 career points, making him the sixth-fastest player to hit the mark at 488 games.
Leon Draisaitl added a goal and two assists and Darnell Nurse also scored for the Oilers in the opener for both teams. Jack Campbell made 33 saves.
Elias Pettersson, J.T. Miller and Andrei Kuzmenko – in his NHL debut – scored for the Canucks. Thatcher Demko stopped 20 shots.
BRUINS 5, CAPITALS 2
WASHINGTON (AP) – David Pastrnak had a goal and three assists, captain Patrice Bergeron scored and Boston beat Washington in the season opener for both teams.
Pastrnak assisted on Bergeron’s goal on a power play with the initial shot that turned into a juicy rebound and set up Taylor Hall with a perfect pass into the middle of the ice to put Boston up 3-0. Washington scored twice before Pastrnak took the shot that turned into David Krejci’s sealing goal with 3:43 left.
Krejci also had two assists in his return to the NHL after playing last season in his native Czech Republic and participating in the Olympics.
Jim Montgomery won his Bruins coaching debut, his first game behind the bench as an NHL head coach since Dec. 7, 2019, with the Dallas Stars, who fired him for unprofessional conduct. He sought and received help for alcohol abuse, spent time as an assistant in St. Louis and is getting another chance with Boston.
Linus Ullmark made 33 saves for Boston. Hampus Lindholm scored an empty-netter with 1:05 left.
Anthony Mantha and Conor Sheary scored for Washington. Darcy Kuemper struggled a bit in his Capitals debut less than three months since backstopping Colorado to the Stanley Cup. He allowed four goals on 29 shots.
HURRICANES 4, BLUE JACKETS 1
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Martin Necas had a goal and two assists and Carolina beat Columbus in their opener.
Seth Jarvis, Brady Skjei and Andrei Svechnikov also scored for the Hurricanes, and Frederik Andersen made 31 saves.
Patrick Laine scored for Columbus goal. Columbus turned to Daniil Tarasov as the surprise opening-night starter because top netminder Elvis Merzilikins was ill. Tarasov, who appeared in his fifth NHL game, made 39 saves.
DUCKS 5, KRAKEN 4. OT
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) – Troy Terry scored his second goal 55 seconds into overtime and Anaheim overcame a two-goal deficit to beat Seattle in the opener.
John Gibson made 44 saves and assisted on Terry’s winner.
Ryan Strome had a goal and two assists in his Ducks debut, Trevor Zegras added a goal and an assist and Frank Vatrano also scored. Mason McTavish and John Klingberg each had two assists.
McTavish, the third pick in the 2021 draft, became the third player in NHL history to record multiple points in his first two season-opening games at 18 and 19 years old. He joined Bobby Carpenter and Ray Bourque.
Matty Beniers had a goal and an assist for the Kraken. Jared McCann, Andre Burakovsky and Oliver Bjorkstrand had power-play goals, and Philipp Grubauer stopped 22 shots.
CANADIENS 4, MAPLE LEAFS 3
MONTREAL (AP) – Josh Anderson scored with 19 seconds left to lift Montreal past Toronto in the opener for both teams.
Cole Caufield scored twice and Sean Monahan had his first goal for the Canadiens after coming over in an offseason deal with Calgary. Jake Allen stopped Alexander Kerfoota onb a penalty shot and finished with 29 saves.
Micheal Bunting, Dennis Malgin and William Nylander scored for Toronto, and Toronto, Matt Murray made 19 saves.
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