It was a night for new faces in new places.
The Detroit Red Wings made their Eastern Conference debut and topped the Buffalo Sabres. Jonathan Bernier was a wall in net for his Maple Leafs debut to help lead them to their second win in as many nights. Nathan MacKinnon, the No. 1 overall pick in the NHL draft, made his debut for the Colorado Avalanche and helped steal the show in a blow-out win over the Anaheim Ducks.
All the NHL Scores
Maple Leafs 3, Flyers 1
Red Wings 2, Sabres 1
Avalanche 6, Ducks 1
Prior to Wednesday's games we asked you five burning questions regarding the day's action. Here are your cool, soothing answers.
1. How will the Red Wings fare in their Eastern Conference debut?
Quite well. Even though the score was close, the Red Wings were clearly the better team for much of the night and nearly doubled the Sabres in shot attempts. Detroit did all of its damage offensively during a one-minute stretch in the first period with goals from Mikael Samuelsson and Pavel Datsyuk. That was all they would need.
2. Will Alfredsson and/or Weiss make a mark in their debuts?
Yes, it just didn't really show up in the box score. Neither player figured into the scoring, but good things were happening for the Red Wings when both players were on the ice. Weiss won nine of his 13 face-offs and was a plus-6 in the Corsi department, while Alfredsson finished the night as a plus-12 when it came to even-strength shot attempts. Alfredsson also attempted six shots of his own.
3. Beginning of the end for Miller, Vanek?
It was only one game, but this was probably a sign of things to come for the Sabres in 2013-14. It could be a long year and this game wasn't anywhere near as close as the final score would indicate.
4. How will Round 2 of the Maple Leafs goalie battle go? What about Round 1 for Philly?
Quite simply, Bernier was the difference for Toronto. This looked like nearly every game the Maple Leafs won last season: Spend most of their night in their own zone, generate little sustained offense of their own, rely on a great goaltending performance to win a close game. The Flyers were carrying the play in the first period but Bernier gave them a chance to stay in it long enough to put a few shots behind Steve Mason at the other end of the ice. Over the final 23 minutes of regulation the Maple Leafs attempted just 14 shots, with only eight of them being on net. Three of them were goals. Business as usual in Toronto.
At the other end of the ice, Mason didn't see much action. but when he did, it was at times an adventure. He wasn't terrible, but still, Flyers fans would probably like to see fewer than three goals against on just 25 shots.
5. How will MacKinnon do in his debut?
Spectacular. He only recorded one shot on goal, but he finished with two assists, setting up Jamie McGinn on both of them. His first one was a thing of beauty.
What moment from Tuesday night's games will be making headlines in the coming days?
Toronto's goaltending situation. James Reimer was arguably their most valuable player in 2012-13 and the addition of Bernier from the Los Angeles Kings gives them a very formidable duo in net. As long as the Maple Leafs are going to play the way they do and lean on their goaltenders they're going to need more performances like this.
Stat of the Night
It was the Pavel Datsyuk show for Detroit. Not only did he score his first of the year on a crazy backhand shot, he was also the single most dominant player on the ice. With Datsyuk on the ice, the Red Wings attempted 25 shots and allowed just eight against, giving Datsyuk a plus-17 Corsi for the night.
Post to Post
- The Dallas Stars are a little bit younger this season, but they're still the fifth oldest team in the league.
- What is the Ottawa Senators penalty killing unit going to look like in 2013-14?
- Taking a look at the Washington Capitals and their work with the two-man advantage.
- Three NHL general managers want to remove fighting.
- Crazy Ilya Bryzgalov rumors: Is the goalie headed to the ECHL?