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Three Things We Learned On Opening Night of the 2021-22 NHL Season

The 105th NHL season kicked off with the birth of a new franchise and the start of a three-peat run. Here are the biggest things we learned on Day 1 of the NHL season.
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For the first time since 2019-20, the NHL kicked off a full 82-game season with full arenas - getting things back to normal as best as possible.

There may have been only two games played last night there was still plenty to talk about as two staples of the Eastern Conference squared off with Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay. Out west, the Vegas Golden Knights welcomed the Seattle Kraken to the league in heck of a season opener.

Here's what we learned on Day 1: 

The Pittsburgh Penguins Will Not Go Down Without a Fight 

The past couple of seasons have not ended in Pittsburgh's favor, with no playoff success to bask in and plenty of questions surrounding the roster and coaching. Pittsburgh also went into last night's season opener without Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Jake Guentzel - but that didn't seem to stop the club from starting off hot.

Not only did the Penguins ruin the Tampa Bay Lightning's Stanley Cup banner night with a 6-2 victory, but they also showed that their secondary scoring can be up to the task to carry the load when called upon. Names such as Danton Heinen, Dominik Simon and unlikely hero Brian Boyle all found their way onto the scoresheet. 

Pittsburgh may not be the juggernaut from the mid-2010s but they're still a team that's not yet ready to bow out as a team to watch in the Eastern Conference. 

Hearing The NHL on ESPN Theme Is Still Incredible 

It had been 17 years since ESPN's NHL theme had played before a game and last night the entire hockey world was able to hear a song that had been a staple on American sports television through the 1990s and early 2000s. 

The return of the song marked a night that saw ESPN go all out to welcome the NHL back to the network, and the ways in which the theme was used not just in-game but in promotional videos were amazing. The theme being played for veteran players during the NHLPA media days to bring back memories but also to introduce younger players to it was also brilliant content. 

A new generation of fans and players now have a chance to get attached to it every Wednesday night just like the generation before them loved it before the 2004-05 lockout. 

The Seattle Kraken Are Fun To Watch

The Seattle Kraken may not have left Sin City with a couple of points, but they showed they certainly will not be boring. 

When it came to high-danger chances, the Kraken led the category 11-8. With Vegas up 3-0, Seattle also showed a tremendous amount of pushback on the road, erasing the three-goal deficit thanks to goals from Ryan Donato, Jared McCann, and Morgan Geekie. 

Only Chandler Stephenson's third-period goal prevented fans from seeing the newest club in the NHL earn at least one point last night. Facing one of the best clubs in the west in their first game looked like a daunting task but Seattle showed they were more than ready for the challenge. 

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