Philadelphia earned a second win in a row against Pittsburgh on Friday night, but lost Sean Couturier early in the contest due to a shoulder injury. Coach Alain Vigneault said afterward that Couturier would get an MRI on Saturday with an update coming in a couple days. If he is out for an extended period then that would be a big blow to the Flyers.
Edmonton also released some injury news on Friday night when it was revealed that Mike Smith had been put on long-term injured reserve (LTIR). Smith was supposed to start on Thursday, but missed the game because he was unfit to play. The Oilers have not discussed specifics on his injury or timetable yet, but being placed on LTIR means he can’t play for at least 10 NHL games and 24 days of the season.
The other big story of the day was the announcement from the NHL that the Dallas Stars will open their regular season on Friday, Jan. 22 at home against the Nashville Predators. The league had to reschedule 10 games because of Dallas’ delayed start due to a COVID-19 outbreak. The Florida Panthers, Tampa Bay Lightning, Detroit Red Wings, Pittsburgh Penguins, Buffalo Sabres, Boston Bruins and Washington Capitals were impacted by those changes.
WASHINGTON 2 BUFFALO 1
Washington defeated Buffalo for the second time in back-to-back nights. There was less scoring on Friday night than Thursday when the Capitals earned a 6-4 victory over the Sabres.
Jakub Vrana scored his second goal in two games to get things started early in the second period.
Tom Wilson picked up an assist on Vrana’s marker and scored the game-winning goal 7:47 into the third period.
Rasmus Ristolainen scored Buffalo’s only goal of the match 31 seconds into the final frame. Taylor Hall posted his second helper of the year and Jack Eichel registered his third assist of the season on Ristolainen’s marker.
Nicklas Backstrom provided his second assist of the year on Wilson’s game winner.
PITTSBURGH 2 PHILADELPHIA 5
Philadelphia handed Pittsburgh a second straight loss to start the 2020-21 season, while outscoring the Penguins by an 11-5 margin.
Travis Konecny scored twice in the first half of the opening period and finished his hat-trick performance in the third. He also added an assist on an empty-netter by Oskar Lindblom, who is up to two goals this campaign.
Ivan Provorov had Philadelphia’s other marker in the match.
Carter Hart stopped 31 of 33 shots for a second straight win.
CHICAGO 2 TAMPA BAY 5
Tampa Bay scored five goals for a second straight game against Chicago and walked away with a second consecutive victory to open the 2020-21 season. The Lightning outscored the Blackhawks 10-3 in those contests.
However, Tampa Bay pulled away in the final frame thanks to goals by Yanni Gourde and Steven Stamkos. Gourde and Stamkos also earned an assist each in the match, while Coleman generated a two-point performance as well.
Barclay Goodrow chipped in two helpers in the contest.
Collin Delia stopped 32 of 37 shots to take the loss in his season debut.
Andrei Vasilevskiy blocked 35 shots to record his second win in his second start of the year.
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TORONTO 3 OTTAWA 5
Ottawa played for the first time in 310 days on Friday night and defeated a Toronto team coming off a 5-4 OT comeback win over Montreal on Wednesday.
Alexander Kerfoot gave the Leafs a 2-1 lead in the second period, but the Senators surged ahead afterward with four straight goals. Ottawa struck three times in under five minutes during the second stanza, with goals coming from Brady Tkachuk, Austin Watson and Chris Tierney.
Derek Stepan, who was one of nine players on the Senators to make their team debut on Friday, gave Ottawa a 5-2 lead in the third.
John Tavares’ second goal of the year on a Toronto power play rounded out the scoring. He also chipped in an assist in the match.
Matt Murray turned aside 20 of 23 shots for his first win in a Senators uniform.
Frederik Andersen made 19 saves on 24 shots to take the loss.
The Leafs and Senators will face each other again on Saturday night.
ST. LOUIS 0 COLORADO 8
St. Louis held Colorado in check on Wednesday in a 4-1 victory, but were buried by the Avalanche on Friday.
After a scoreless first period, Colorado scored four times in the second and four more times in the third.
MacKinnon also had two assists in the contest, while Kadri, Burakovsky, Rantanen and Toews picked up one helper apiece in addition to their goals.
Philipp Grubauer stopped all 20 shots he faced for the shutout.
Colton Parayko led the Blues with four shots on target.