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The initial NHL surge

The Hockey News

The Hockey News

Day 1 of this 48-game season really took a page out of the shortened 1995 season after veterans Jaromir Jagr and Teemu Selanne each tallied four points. But those weren’t the only feel-good stories of opening weekend.

Marian Hossa, who was decimated by Raffi Torres in last season’s playoff series and was carted off with a concussion, has four goals and five points in two games to take an early scoring lead. And Minnesota backup goalie Josh Harding, recently diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, turned aside 24 shots to earn a shutout win over Dallas Sunday.

There’s sure to be many more great stories as we play on. In the meantime, let’s all be thankful for the return of the world’s best league and enjoy watching the season play out.

With it being so early, the Power Rankings lean heavily towards pre-season rankings, though early returns factor in as well.







No wonder the Blues were so eager to get Vladimir Tarasenko to North America. The 21-year-old rookie posted two goals against the Red Wings in a lopsided opener. Get excited for this kid.



When Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby are healthy to lead, the Penguins are a team on another level. Malkin and James Neal will continue to be a difficult duo to handle.



Playing against two of the conference’s better defensive teams didn’t slow Chicago’s potent offense, which combined for 11 goals. Johnny Oduya is getting confidence from coaches, averaging 21:41 of ice time.



The Bruins got on the Ranger-stomping train as Tuukka Rask started his No. 1 era off on the right foot. Milan Lucic scored Boston’s first goal of the season after speculation he wasn’t in the best of shape when camp opened.



The early contributions from the new faces were a pleasant sight. Zach Parise, native to Minneapolis, tallied two assists in the opener and scored the game-winner the next night, while rookie Mikael Granlund got on the board in his first game.



The Blueshirts didn’t fare too well over opening weekend, recording back-to-back losses against key foes. Before we get carried away, we’ll chalk up the slow start to the team needing a little time to find its new chemistry.



A bad loss to Chicago was no way to celebrate the raising of their first Stanley Cup banner. Here’s betting Jonathan Quick doesn’t play that poorly all season.



In an awful Game 1 loss, Cory Schneider was pulled for Roberto Luongo and the elder statesmen got the start and finished the OT loss to Edmonton the next night. Vancouver blew a chance for a win against those Oilers. Injuries will take their toll.



It took the Lightning about six minutes to log a shot on goal in the first game, but they made it count with a goal. Diminutive rookie Cory Conacher, the AHL’s MVP last season, should be getting more attention for Calder talk – he logged a goal and an assist against the Capitals.



The Sabres took advantage of a porous Flyers defense in their first game, scoring the final four goals and winning 5-2. If Thomas Vanek and Jason Pominville can keep up this chemistry Buffalo will exceed expectations.



A tough opening loss for the team we picked to win the Southeast, but until Alex Ovechkin settles back into Washington life, we’re not going to look too far down the road.



The Sens looked very good against Winnipeg. Ottawa fans were happy to see 2011-12 Norris Trophy winner Erik Karlsson pick up right from where he left off, scoring three points in his team’s opener.



The Sharks may have had the advantage of starting with a weak opponent, but their 4-1 win in Calgary was key for a team that started last season so slow and whose window of opportunity is closing quickly.



Jaromir Jagr got a lot of attention for his four-point night, but Ray Whitney, Dallas’ other 40-year-old, also had a multi-point effort the night before the Stars ran into a hot goalie in Minnesota. This team needs Jamie Benn back, ASAP.



Florida jumped all over the new-look Hurricanes with three-point nights from an old new face (Alex Kovalev) and a young new face (Jonathan Huberdeau). Brian Campbell, who doesn’t get enough credit for his contribution to Jason Garrison’s breakout season, started with two goals.



Early indications are the Flyers’ defense is going to cause them an awful lot of problems. They allowed 26 and 40 shots against in their first two games and the offense didn’t come close to saving them.



A very disappointing opening loss to abysmal Columbus, but it’s no reason to start doubting the Barry Trotz magic in Nashville.



There is no way the Ducks will be as bad as they were last season because there’s no way their top line will have that poor of a campaign again. But the Ducks didn’t need Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry or Bobby Ryan much in their 7-3 trouncing of Vancouver – Getzlaf and Perry combined for a goal and three points.



It was a nightmare start for the Wings, who lobbed 14 shots against Jaroslav Halak and had to switch out Jimmy Howard for Jonas Gustavsson. It’s an age-old question: How close are the Wings to the end of the line?



Last season, Cam Ward had his worst showing since 2007-08 and for all the upgrading the team did in the off-season, it will be all for naught if Ward can’t restore his form. Ward was pulled after only 12 shots in the team’s opener.



The Oilers scratched back from a 2-0 deficit to beat the Canucks in a shootout. This is a make it or break it year in Edmonton for pending RFA Sam Gagner. He started well with an assist and a shootout tally.



If the Devils are to get back into the playoffs playing more games against their difficult division they can’t lose production, even from its unlikely sources. David Clarkson, who scored 30 goals last season, started the year with a game-winning goal.



So much of Phoenix’s success had to do with Mike Smith’s stellar play last season, so his poor start (.825 SP through two games) is a little unsettling.



Good news: Leafs got two points from Phil Kessel and a strong start from Ben Scrivens against Montreal in the Buds first game. Bad news: THN predicted Montreal to finish 13th, one below the Leafs, in the East.



The Avalanche couldn’t take advantage of an excellent first period and let the Wild back in their first contest. They went 0-for-3 on the man advantage and recorded only two shots. Coach Joe Sacco, on the hot seat, needs to show he can get the most out of his team all game.



The Blue Jackets earned a surprise win against Nashville through excellent play from goalie Sergei Bobrovsky. Another new arrival, Artem Anisimov, had a strong first showing as Columbus enters its Second Era.



A team of mish-mash of castoffs and past-their-prime players didn’t even get decent performances from their big-names in their home opener. Not a good omen for this sinking ship.



The Islanders posted a mere 10 shots through two periods against New Jersey and really had no business being in this game as late as they were. Assistant coach Doug Weight called the game “disappointing” – a term Isles fans must be tired of.



It doesn’t get much worse for Montreal than losing a home opener to the rival - and weak - Leafs. The P.K. Subban contract holdout hangs over this team. Up next for Montreal are three playoff teams from 2012: Florida, Washington and New Jersey.



The Jets looked detached in their first game, one that should have brought out the best in them since it was at home. Last season, Winnipeg was awful on the road, but will search for their first win in either Boston or Washington this week.

The Hockey News ranks the teams 1-30 each Monday based on a combination of last week’s play and a squad’s overall outlook.

For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.


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