The first week of the NHL campaign is nearly in the books, yet it feels like there’s already a full season’s worth of highlight-reel material that can’t even crack the top five plays that have been made this season.
A number of rookies scored their first NHL tallies, 3-on-3 overtime was an exciting change of pace from the shootout and a few teams tugged on the heartstrings to open the campaign. But the top five plays of the opening week range only feature one first-career goal, with two NHL veterans stealing the show.
Here are the top five plays from the first week of the season:
5. Henrik Lundqvist stacks the pads on Johansen
The Blue Jackets blew a lead late in the first half of a home-and-home with the New York Rangers, to it’s no surprise Columbus came out flying when they showed up at Madison Square Garden. But early in the game, ‘King Henrik’ was more than equal to the task, turning away shots he had no business stopping with an acrobatic flair.
The Rangers would go on to sweep the back-to-back tilts against the Blue Jackets, picking up the win in the second game, 5-2.
Calgary Flames netminder Ramo got the opening-night start over puckstopping partner Jonas Hiller and it didn’t take him long to impress coach Bob Hartley. Less than 10 minutes into the opening frame of the season, Ramo turned aside a Sedin twins 2-on-1 with an outstanding blocker save:
Unfortunately for Ramo, his blocker stop wasn’t a sign of things to come. The Flames ended up dropping their home-opener 5-1 to the Canucks.
3. Dylan Larkin goes shelf for first career goal
Much of the hype entering the season was around rookies Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel, but Larkin scored the prettiest goal of any rookie in the season’s opening week. Bursting down the left wing with a head of steam, Larkin sniped a puck over the shoulder of Jonathan Bernier for a beauty:
Larkin finished the contest with two points and helped Detroit down the Maple Leafs 4-0.
2. Alex Ovechkin beats Devils with video game moves
Another season, another set of Ovechkin highlights. This one, against the New Jersey Devils, was vintage Ovechkin. He got Devils blueliner John Moore to bite with a slight head fake to the inside, and Ovechkin followed it up by slipping the puck between his legs before driving to the net and firing a shot top shelf:
The goal gave Ovechkin 476 for his career. Barring injury, he’ll hit 500 this season.
1. Lundqvist’s diving stick save robs Johansen
Remember Lundqvist’s stacked-pads save on Johansen? That wasn’t even his best save of the night. Just watch:
Save of the year? We can’t be sure yet, but it’s definitely an early contender. Johansen’s dreams must have been haunted by Lundqvist. That’s not a stop you forget anytime soon.