With nine games on Thursday following the four games Wednesday night, the 2016-17 campaign is now well underway. Just five teams still have to make their debuts: The Philadelphia Flyers, Colorado Avalanche, Nashville Predators, Arizona Coyotes, and Vancouver Canucks.
Of those teams, both Philadelphia (@ Washington) and Nashville (vs. Chicago) will play Friday night.
Looking back at last night's action, we had some more major performances. Auston Matthews' is no longer the league leader in points as Boston's Brad Marchand netted two goals and registered three assists. As you might expect though, no one is challenging Matthews' goal lead just yet. Appropriately enough, those two players will faceoff on Saturday in a game that was added to NBCSN's schedule following Matthews' four-goal night.
You can read my early assessment of what Matthews' big start means by clicking here.
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NY RANGERS 5 NY ISLANDERS 3
The Islanders decided to use Jaroslav Halak in the opener over Thomas Greiss after Halak's strong showing in the World Cup. Obviously this isn't the start the Islanders were hoping for, but it is worth noting that the Rangers bombarded Halak with 38 shots. Halak surrendered four markers and the Rangers added one on the empty net.
By contrast Henrik Lundqvist turned aside 25 of 28 shots to earn his first win of the season and the 375th of his career. With that Lundqvist has taken sole control of 14th place in the all-time leaderboard away from John Vanbiesbrouck. Lundqvist is now 10 wins away from Mike Vernon and 14 victories shy of Dominik Hasek.
Jimmy Vesey didn't record any points or shots in 13:02 minutes of ice time during his NHL debut.
BOSTON 6 COLUMBUS 3
If Brad Marchand is going to regress after setting career-highs last season with 37 goals and 61 points in 77 games, his 2016-17 debut wasn't any indication of it. As mentioned above, he was the big factor in Boston's win last night with two goals and three assists.
It was a big night for Boston forward David Pastrnak too, as he had two goals, four points, and a plus-six rating. The 20-year-old had just 15 goals and 26 points in 51 contests in 2015-16, but he's got breakout potential.
The unfortunate Blue Jackets goalie on Thursday was Sergei Bobrovsky, who allowed five goals on 36 shots. Injuries were the main concern for Bobrovsky last season, but he also struggled when healthy with a 2.75 GAA and .908 save percentage.
At the other end of the ice, Tuukka Rask stopped 28 of 31 shots. He allowed two goals on nine shots in the first frame to give Columbus a 2-0 lead, but fortunately for Rask, that proved to be the worst of it for him last night.
Seth Jones offered a silver lining for Columbus as the 22-year-old blueliner got off to a good start with a goal and an assist.
MONTREAL 4 BUFFALO 1
Obviously we know how Montreal minus Carey Price did last season, so it had to come as a relief that Al Montoya stood tall while Price was unavailable due to the flu. Montoya kicked out 30 of 31 shots.
The only Sabres player that managed to beat Montoya was Matt Moulson. That`s noteworthy given that Moulson was limited to just eight markers last season. He is eager to prove that he can still be a major offensive threat.
Torrey Mitchell accounted for the game-winning goal for the Canadiens. He had just 11 goals last season, but three of them were deciding markers.
Robin Lehner turned aside just 20 of 24 shots in the losing effort. Hopefully that's not a sign of things to come as he was effective when healthy last season with a 2.47 GAA and .924 save percentage in 21 starts. That being said, his career to this point has been a mixed bag.
FLORIDA 2 NEW JERSEY 1 (Overtime)
Taylor Hall's debut with the New Jersey Devils left something to be desired. He ended up with no points, a minus-one rating, and two shots on goal.
It was actually PA Parenteau, who was claimed off waivers from the Islanders, that made a mark in this game with the Devils' lone goal. He logged just 10:51 minutes of ice time though, so I'm hesitant to say he'll have fantasy value going forward.
Panthers forward Aleksander Barkov registered an assist and then scored the overtime winner. He's looking to build off 2015-16 when he set new career-highs with 28 goals and 59 points in 66 contests.
Roberto Luongo picked up the win by stopping 23 of 24 shots. This was his 437rd career win, putting him in a tie with Jacques Plante for sixth place on the all-time leaderboard. Terry Sawchuk and fifth place are 10 victories away.
Meanwhile Cory Schneider was charged with the loss despite saving 32 of 34 shots. That's unfortunately a scenario he's become very familiar with as a member of the Devils.
TAMPA BAY 6 DETROIT 4
Starting with the silver lining for Detroit, Thomas Vanek had a great debut with the Red Wings. He found the back of the net twice in the first period to give them a 2-0 lead going into the first intermission.
Detroit held onto the lead until the third frame when Brian Boyle tied it at 3-3. From there Tyler Johnson and Alex Killorn netted power-play goals to swing this contest firmly in the Lightning's favor.
Jonathan Drouin assisted on Killorn's game-winning goal and he also found the back of the net himself in the second period. Just as important as those two points is the fact that Drouin logged 18:58 minutes of ice time with 4:59 of it on the power play. He's not having playing time issues any more.
Petr Mrazek allowed five goals on 35 shots last night. It's way too early in the season to worry, but of course with Jimmy Howard also on the roster, there's a constant threat that Mrazek could lose the starting job.
Ben Bishop ended up turning aside 28 of 32 shots. During that first period where Vanek scored on him twice, Bishop faced just five shots in total.
WINNIPEG 5 CAROLINA 4 (Overtime)
Carolina forwards Lee Stempniak and Jeff Skinner got off to great starts this season by each scoring a goal and an assist Thursday night. Thanks in large part to their efforts, Carolina actually had a 4-1 lead early in the third period.
Winnipeg obviously managed to come back from there and to make things sweater for the Jets, Patrik Laine played a big role in that during his NHL debut. He scored a power-play goal at 13:33 of the third frame to narrow Carolina's lead to 4-3. He then assisted on the game-tying goal.
It was Mark Scheifele though that scored the winner. That was his third career overtime goal and his eighth game-winner in general.
Cam Ward allowed five goals on 26 shots. He's likely to have another poor-to-mediocre campaign with Carolina.
ST. LOUIS 3 MINNESOTA 2
Of the 18 teams that played Thursday night, St. Louis was the only one that also participated in the NHL season opener on Wednesday. Despite that, the Blues have started the season with back-to-back wins.
This time around the recently acquired Nail Yakupov played a big role with a goal and an assist. That's obviously very encouraging given his potential contrasted against his struggles in Edmonton. Keep in mind though that Yakupov still just logged 8:30 minutes on Thursday and his long-term value remains very uncertain.
Jake Allen got the nod for the second straight night, but he wasn't asked to do much. Minnesota only managed 21 shots on goal and Allen stopped 19 of them.
Devan Dubnyk was far busier, stopping 28 of 31 shots. The Wild goalie had a 2.33 GAA and .918 save percentage in 67 games last season.
Charlie Coyle found the back of the net for the Wild. The 24-year-old forward also had two penalty minutes, a plus-one rating, two hits, and a blocked shot in 18:36 minutes of ice time.
PITTSBURGH 3 WASHINGTON 2 (Shootout)
With Pittsburgh missing both Sidney Crosby and goalie Matt Murray for the opener, it was veteran netminder Marc-Andre Fleury that stepped up. He kicked out 39 of 41 shots to earn his 358th career victory.
Evgeni Malkin also had a big night for the Penguins with a goal and an assist. That also puts him just five markers away from the 300 mark.
Malkin scored again in the shootout, but the deciding goal was scored by Phil Kessel. During regulation time, Kessel was held off the scoresheet despite taking three shots in 20:18 minutes of ice time.
Washington still got a consolation point though and it can thank Andre Burakovsky for that. Burakovsky accounted for both of the Capitals' goals after scoring 17 goals in 79 games last season.
Braden Holtby deserves plenty of credit too of course for saving 28 of 30 shots prior to the shootout. Unfortunately he didn't do so well in the shootout itself as Pittsburgh scored on three of its four attempts.
DALLAS 4 ANAHEIM 2
Ryan Getzlaf took 10 (!) shots on goal last night. That's an incredible number for any player, but it's particularly weird to see from Getzlaf, who averaged 2.31 shots per game in 2015-16. Despite that onslaught though, Getzlaf didn't record a single point and finished with a minus-one rating.
Stars goalie Antti Niemi was busy overall, but kicked out 33 of 35 shots. Anaheim was particularly vicious in the first period though when the Ducks outshot the Stars 17-1.
In that lopsided first period, Stephen Johns accounted for the Stars' only shot - and it was a goal. His second in 15 career games.
Dallas actually threatened to enter the first intermission with the lead on the strength of a single shot, but Andrew Cogliano netted a shorthanded goal with 5:51 left in the first period. Cogliano also accounted for the Ducks' only other goal, which he scored early in the third frame.
Ducks goalie John Gibson did end up getting some more work obviously and finished with just 16 saves on 20 shots. He had a 2.07 GAA and .920 save percentage in 40 games last season.