clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

NHL scores: Bruins, Jets and Stars among many early season comeback kids

2-for-2 for fun NHL nights this season.

NHL: Boston Bruins at Columbus Blue Jackets Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Are you a fan of unfettered hockey?

Do you enjoy watching sports teams completely collapse after earning hard-won leads?

Would you prefer your rivalries to be top-tier entertainment as soon as the season opens?


Look, the opening night of the 2016-17 NHL season wasn’t going to be topped. It was too amazing. Austontatious, even. But sixteen more teams hit the ice for the first time on Thursday and it certainly was not boring!

A handful of teams all had leads over superior opponents. Columbus got out to a nice start against the Bruins. The Ducks dominated the Stars in every imaginable way through 20 minutes. Detroit snuck out to a 3-1 lead over an expectation-laden Lightning squad. Thomas Vanek had two goals. Carolina was keeping the Jets at arm’s length.

All of that evaporated as the evening came to a close. Columbus, Anaheim, Carolina and Detroit all let points slip away in losses. Pittsburgh gave up a late goal and conceded a point to Washington.

We were joking in the office that it would be amazing if each of those teams missed the playoffs by one point. They could all look back at the first night of the season (and what a long season it is) as the reason they’re in the draft lottery. It’s fun to think about, but it’s true. Let points slip away this time of year and you spend the the next five months chasing those mistakes.

And thus, the ferocity on display already across the league. No time to waste.

Thursday scores

Rangers 5, Islanders 3

Bruins 6, Blue Jackets 3

Canadiens 4, Sabres 1

Panthers 2, Devils 1 (OT)

Lightning 6, Red Wings 4

Jets 5, Hurricanes 4 (OT)

Blues 3, Wild 2

Penguins 3, Capitals 2 (SO)

Stars 4, Ducks 2

* * *

Get the biggest NHL news, rumors and analysis in your inbox every morning!

* * *

Three things we learned

1. Nail Yakupov awakens

After a last-minute preseason trade to the Blues and a quiet outing on opening night, nobody had any reason to expect the fallen first overall pick to hit any strides in St. Louis soon.

He did. Yakupov earned his first goal as a Blue at home against the division rival Minnesota Wild, wafting into the offensive zone before fooling goalie Devan Dubnyk with a slap shot. Sure, Dubnyk should’ve saved it. But it doesn’t take away from a big moment for the young Yakupov. He later assisted on a goal by fellow top Oilers draft pick Magnus Paajarvi.

Who knows. It might not carry on. But if you’re a fan of reclamation stories, stay tuned to Yak and the Blues.

NHL: Minnesota Wild at St. Louis Blues Billy Hurst-USA TODAY Sports

2. The most dangerous line in hockey is ... Brad Marchand, David Backes and David Pastrnak?

I’m looking at this small sample size and it sure seems that way!

Poor Blue Jackets. You couldn’t ask for a better start to the season: a two-goal lead on a superior Bruins team after one period. And then Backes, Marchand and Pasta went off.

At one point this was the state of affairs in Columbus:

Marchand finished with five points. Backes led the Bruins’ rally in the second with two goals. And Pastrnak finished with two goals himself. That trio already seems like a potent mix of skill, speed and sandpapery grit-heart America freedom biscuits.

3. Florida opened and closed their opener with great Jose Fernandez tributes

Florida had the privilege of debuting their new logo and uniforms at hom on Thursday. They chose to set that aside and turn focus to the late Miami Marlins pitcher instead. Such a classy move.

And when Aleksander Barkov (the real #16 for the Panthers) scored the game winner, you better believe Jose Fernandez’ teammates took notice.

Impact Moment

NHL: Montreal Canadiens at Buffalo Sabres Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Quick, what’s the worst thing that could possibly happen to the Sabres in their season opener? I’ll give you a minute. Keep in mind that Kyle Okposo, Dmitry Kulikov and Jack Eichel are all injured.


Correct! The worst possible thing would be Evander Kane getting injur—wait if that is a hyperlink that can’t be good news

After a hard, hard crash into the boards early in the game, Kane was taken to a local hospital for evaluation. That’s usually not an indicator of good news on the horizon, so the Sabres are somehow even more under-staffed than they were before the season began.

Stat of the Night

No pressure, Pierre-Luc Dubois. Whenever he makes the NHL.