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The Buzzer: Penguins get first win, Blackhawks fall again in Sunday’s NHL action

The Buzzer: Penguins get first win, Blackhawks fall again in Sunday's NHL action

SUNRISE, FL - JANUARY 17: The Florida Panthers celebrates a goal by Carter Verhaeghe #23 against the Chicago Blackhawks at the BB&T Center on January17, 2021 in Sunrise, Florida. (Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images)

NHLI via Getty Images

Three Stars

1. Jonathan Huberdeau

When people talk about underrated Panthers forwards -- at least in mainstream circles, as top players -- they usually speak of Aleksander Barkov. Yet, over the last couple of years, Jonathan Huberdeau’s been even more productive.

Huberdeau began the Panthers season (in front of a limited home crowd) with a goal and two primary assists. After the Blackhawks tied the game 2-2 in the third period, Huberdeau and the Panthers really took over.

During the 2019-20 season, Huberdeau generated 78 points in 69 games, which would translate to 94 points over an 82-game campaign.

2. Eetu Luostarinen

You could pick out other Panthers from this win, and even a Blackhawks player like Duncan Keith, who finished with two assists. For example: Patric Hornqvist enjoyed a successful Panthers debut with a goal and an assist during the third period.

When in doubt, though, go with the player who scored their first NHL goal. Overall, Luostarinen ended up with a goal and an assist in this game.

Luostarinen scored the game-winner to begin the Panthers’ run of three straight goals to end Sunday’s game. Over his previous eight games with the Hurricanes, the 22-year-old only managed a single assist.

While Luostarinen scored his first NHL goal, Keith Yandle kept his ironman streak going, and produced the 100th NHL goal of his career.

The Panthers kept the Blackhawks winless so far this season, only amplifying the notion that this could be a long year for openly-rebuilding Chicago.

3. Alex Ovechkin

This time around, Sidney Crosby’s team won, giving the Penguins their first victory of this young season. But Alex Ovechkin still had a productive afternoon.

Ovechkin scored his first goal of the season, and no, it wasn’t from “his office.” Instead, Ovechkin cleaned up a rebound. The superstar winger also collected an assist, so he’s at four points through three games this season.

As usual, Ovechkin filled a lot of stat categories in this shootout defeat. Ovechkin fired six shots on goal, delivered four hits, and blocked two shots. All things considered, Ovechkin and the Capitals are off to a pretty strong start to the season.

NHL highlights from Sunday

With only two NHL games on Sunday, why not just get all of the highlights of Penguins - Capitals and Blackhawks - Panthers?

Pittsburgh managed its first win by beating the Capitals via a shootout:

The Panthers kept the Blackhawks winless in Florida’s season-opener:

COVID-related absences

The NHL announced the following COVID-related absences for Sunday. (Teams without absences are not listed.)

Carolina – Jordan Staal

Columbus – Mikko Koivu

Dallas – will be released prior to its first game

Detroit – Christian Djoos

Minnesota – Alex Stalock

Nashville – Mikael Granlund

New Jersey – Eric Comrie

Philadelphia – Shayne Gostisbehere

Tampa Bay – Curtis McElhinney

Vancouver – Jordie Benn

Winnipeg – Anton Forsberg; Tucker Poolman

NHL scores from Sunday

Penguins 4, Capitals 3 (SO)
Panthers 5, Blackhawks 2

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.