I get self-conscious whenever I write a lot about one team in a short span of time because I worry that in doing so I’m not giving proper recognition to other equally big stories. I’m particularly wary of focusing too much on the Maple Leafs because I’ve spent my whole life in Toronto and I don’t want that to cloud me from taking a national perspective on the league. But how can I not focus on the Maple Leafs right now given the start they’ve had?
Averaging five goals in each of their first five games is insane. Morgan Rielly recording 12 points in five games is insane. He’s surpassed Bobby Orr for the second most points ever by a defenseman through five games – and the record holder is Harry Cameron’s 15 points set all the way back in 1917-18 with the Toronto Arenas. Auston Matthews scoring nine goals in five games is insane. He’s also become the youngest player ever to record multiple points in each of their team’s first five games, taking that admittedly obscure record from Wayne Gretzky. The fact that there are four players this season with at least 10 points and they’re all members of the Maple Leafs is insane. John Tavares is there with six goals and 10 points, as is Mitchell Marner with three goals and 10 points.
This won’t last. Toronto has a strong offense, but no offense in the modern NHL is this strong. Eventually the Maple Leafs will run into scoring problems, as all teams do from time to time. Regardless of when that comes, we’ll soon see their average goals per game start to trend down, because this is just unsustainable. When that happens, their current defensive struggles will take the spotlight unless they’ve been addressed. For now though, it’s fun to watch, especially if you took any of Matthews, Rielly, Tavares, or Marner in your fantasy league.
Of course, there were 12 teams that played last night and I’m going to go through every one of those games so let’s get started.
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BOSTON 4 EDMONTON 1
Connor McDavid found the back of the net just 3:43 minutes into the game. It gave the Oilers a 1-0 lead, but of course the tide turned against them.
Brad Marchand took the lead for the Bruins at 14:37 of the first period and Boston never looked back. It was Marchand’s first goal and eighth point in four games.
Patrice Bergeron scored a goal and registered an assist for Boston. He’s up to five goals and eight points in four contests.
Jaroslav Halak stopped 25 of 26 Oilers shots. He has a 2-0-0 record, 1.18 GAA, and .961 save percentage in three contests.
Cam Talbot surrendered three goals on 31 shots last night. He’s dropped his first two starts of 2018-19 and has a 3.56 GAA and .877 save percentage.
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COLORADO 6 BUFFALO 1
Nathan MacKinnon scored a pair of goals on Thursday. He already has five goals and six points in four contests. That incredible start, which includes a four-game goal scoring streak, is one of the things that Auston Matthews’ and Toronto’s insane run has drowned out as far as the national spotlight goes. Regardless, MacKinnon has done a lot to solidify his status as a superstar after his huge leap forward in 2017-18.
Colin Wilson netted the game-winning goal. He has three markers in four games this season.
Semyon Varlamov kicked out 30 of 31 shots to improve to 3-0-0. He’s red hot with a 1.33 GAA and .955 save percentage so far.
Nathan Beaulieu accounted for the Sabres’ lone marker. It was his first goal and point in four games this season.
Carter Hutton stopped just 24 of 30 Avalanche shots. He’s 2-2-0 with a 3.06 GAA and .912 save percentage in four starts.
COLUMBUS 5 FLORIDA 4
Artemi Panarin led the charge with a goal and three assists for Columbus. That gives him three goals and seven points in four games.
Zach Werenski found the back of the net and registered an assist. It was the Blue Jackets defenseman’s first two points of 2018-19.
Evgenii Dadonov scored a goal and registered two assists for the Panthers. This was just Florida’s second game and he had been held off the scoresheet in the first.
James Reimer saved 27 of 32 Blue Jackets shots. He has a 0-1-1 record, 3.96 GAA, and .875 save percentage in two games.
At the other end of the ice, Joonas Korpisalo kicked out 37 of 41 shots. He’s 2-0-0 with a 2.95 GAA and .902 save percentage.
NEW JERSEY 6 WASHINGTON 0
Keith Kinkaid earned a 21-save shutout. It’s the fifth shutout of his career and gives him a 1.00 GAA and .950 save percentage in two starts this season.
Matt Niskanen tied for the Capitals’ high in shots with three. He has no goals on four shots this season.
Kyle Palmieri scored two goals, including the game-winner. He’s up to four goals in just two games.
Brian Boyle scored a goal and registered an assist. Those were his first two points of the season.
Pheonix Copley allowed six goals on 36 shots. This was his season debut and his third career NHL game. He has a 5.03 GAA and .831 save percentage in his career. He deserves a chance, but he’s also a clear downgrade from Philipp Grubauer, which puts all the more importance on Braden Holtby this season.
NY RANGERS 3 SAN JOSE 2 (OT)
After dropping their first three games, the New York Rangers have finally earned a win. This is the first of head coach David Quinn’s NHL career.
Brady Skjei scored the winner 37 seconds into overtime. It was his first goal and second point in four games.
Fellow Rangers defenseman Brendan Smith also found the back of the net. He had been held off the scoresheet in New York’s first three games.
Henrik Lundqvist kicked out 41 of 43 Sharks shots. He has a 1-2-0 record, 2.03 GAA, and .942 save percentage in three starts.
Brent Burns assisted on both of San Jose’s goals. He has three helpers in five games in 2018-19.
Aaron Dell kicked out 24 of 27 shots last night. He’s 1-0-1 with a 2.50 GAA and .917 save percentage in two games.
PITTSBURGH 4 VEGAS 2
Phil Kessel drove the Penguins’ offense with a hat trick. That gives him three goals and five points in three games this season.
Evgeni Malkin assisted on all of Kessel’s goals. Malkin has a marker and six points in three contests.
Malcolm Subban stopped only 18 of 22 Penguins shots. He has a 0-1-0 record, 2.70 GAA, and .871 save percentage in two games.
Jonathan Marchessault recorded a pair of assists for Vegas. He has two goals and six points in five contests.
Casey DeSmith stopped 35 of 37 shots on Thursday. He was making his first start of the season while Matt Murray recovers from a concussion. Murray was able to take shots Thursday morning, so he might not be out for long.
LOS ANGELES 3 MONTREAL 0
Jack Campbell saved 40 shots to earn his first career shutout. He improved to 2-1-0 with a 1.35 GAA and .966 save percentage in three starts. The Kings have to be thrilled with how he’s stepped up while Jonathan Quick is out with a lower-body injury.
Jesperi Kotkaniemi fired a team-high five shots on Campbell. Kotkaniemi is up to 10 shots, but the rookie is still searching for his first career goal.
Jeff Carter scored a goal and recorded two assists for Los Angeles. He had been held off the scoresheet in Los Angeles’ first three contests.
Adrian Kempe scored the Kings’ first and therefore game-winning goal. It was also his first goal and point of 2018-19.
Carey Price turned aside 26 of 29 Kings shots. He’s 1-1-1 with a 2.32 GAA and .909 save percentage in three starts.
TORONTO 5 DETROIT 3
Nick Jensen scored a pair of goals for Detroit. It was his first two goals and points in three games this season.
Toronto’s Rielly, Matthews, Tavares, and Marner were already highlighted at the top of the article. Nazem Kadri also chipped in with two assists. That gives him four helpers in five games.
Ron Hainsey found the back of the net for the Maple Leafs. He has two goals and three points in five contests.
Frederik Andersen stopped 26 of 29 Red Wings shots. He’s 3-1-0 with a 3.28 GAA and .893 save percentage in four starts.
At the other end of the ice, Jimmy Howard kicked out 30 of 34 shots. He has a 0-1-2 record, 2.90 GAA, and .910 save percentage in three games.
VANCOUVER 4 TAMPA BAY 1
Jake Virtanen found the back of the net and registered an assist. He has two goals and three points in four games.
Brock Boeser scored the game-winning goal. It was his first goal and second point in four contests.
Brayden Point accounted for Tampa Bay’s lone goal. That was his first goal and point of 2018-19.
Andrei Vasilevskiy turned aside 24 of 26 Canucks shots. He has a 1-1-0 record, 1.46 GAA, and .957 save percentage in two games.
Anders Nilsson saved 33 of 34 shots last night. That was his first appearance of 2018-19 after he posted a 7-14-4 record, 3.44 GAA, and .901 save percentage in 27 games last season.
ST. LOUIS 5 CALGARY 3
David Perron did the heavy lifting for St. Louis on Thursday with his hat trick. That was the fourth hat trick of his career and the second he’s scored against the Flames.
Brayden Schenn assisted on all of Perron’s goals. Those were Schenn’s first three assists of 2018-19.
Jake Allen stopped 31 of 34 Flames shots. He has a 1-1-1 record, 4.29 GAA, and .854 save percentage in three starts.
James Neal found the back of the net at 7:32 of the first period. It was his first goal as a member of the Calgary Flames.
NASHVILLE 3 WINNIPEG 0
Pekka Rinne stopped 29 shots to earn his first shutout of 2018-19. He improved to 2-1-0 with a 1.67 GAA and .946 save percentage in three starts.
Blake Wheeler tied for the Jets’ team-high with four shots on Rinne. He has a goal in 14 SOG this season, for a 7.1 shooting percentage.
Ryan Hartman had a goal and an assist for the Predators. That gives him a goal and three points in four games.
Roman Josi found the back of the net last night. It was his first goal and point in four contests.
Connor Hellebuyck turned aside 27 of 30 Predators shots. He has a 2-2-0 record, 2.50 GAA, and .919 save percentage in four starts.
MINNESOTA 4 CHICAGO 3 (OT)
Alex DeBrincat nearly won this game for Chicago. He had two goals and an assist, including a power-play goal at 2:29 of the third period that gave the Blackhawks a 3-2 lead.
It looked like that would be enough, but Ryan Suter scored shorthanded with just 23 seconds left to tie the game and force overtime. Suter also had two assists on Thursday.
Jason Zucker completed the comeback in overtime with his second goal and third point of the game. He had been held off the scoresheet in his first two games of 2018-19.
Devan Dubnyk stopped 27 of 30 Blackhawks shots. He has a 1-1-1 record, 1.93 GAA, and .945 save percentage this season.
At the other end of the ice, Cam Ward turned aside 42 of 46 shots. He’s struggled out of the gate with a 2-0-2 record, 4.41 GAA, and .867 save percentage in four starts.