NEW YORK – For the first time this season, the narrative can focus on a Rangers’ two-game streak in a positive direction. On Thursday, Henrik Lundqvist turned in his 47th career shutout in a 2-0 blanking of the Buffalo Sabres in Madison Square Garden.
“This was definitely a game we wanted to win, we needed to win,” Lundqvist said. “We did so many good things. I thought we were all over them pretty much the whole game. We deserve this one, for sure.”
The Rangers played a solid defensive game and limited the Sabres chances early and it was only late into the second frame that Lundqvist was really rested.
“I know I still have some work to do there and this was definitely a good game for me,” Lundqvist said. “We played so well. It was easy for me to ease into the game. As the game moved on, I got tested a little bit more.”
In Boston, the Bruins used more late-game heroics to tie up their game with the Anaheim Ducks at 2 each then went on to win in a shootout, 3-2.
“I think we worked hard,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “And when you look at how we were in the second period, we got a lot of offensive-zone time in there. I thought we had some chances. I thought, again, that goal in the last 20 seconds of the second [period] would’ve probably broken a lot of teams’ backs. It didn’t break ours. We came back out in the third and fought. I’d rather give my team credit for this one than say we’re fortunate.
“I’m not going to stand here and say we’re playing great hockey, because as I mentioned before, it’s a game of momentum and right now the momentum’s not quite where we’d like it to be. We played a tough game yesterday in Pittsburgh. And I think it took its toll on us a little bit. And for us to come out here and play a gritty game and battle right to the end to win this one against a team that was fresh and waiting for us here, if anything I’d say it was a real gutsy effort on our part.”
Out in the desert of Arizona, the Phoenix Coyotes rallied to upend the Predators, 5-4.
“That was a Jekyll and Hyde deal, wasn’t it? It was perfect for tonight,” said Phoenix head coach Dave Tippett, who tied Bob Francis for the all-time franchise lead with his 165th victory – accomplishing the feat in 82 fewer games. “We weren’t playing that bad, but the puck was going in our net and we were getting further behind.
“But we got back in it and we’ll take the points.”
AN OUTSTANDING OCTOBER
The first month of the 2013-14 regular season featured many memorable moments, from a banner-raising ceremony on opening night to a three-goal comeback in the 190th and final game of October. Young players made their mark, while veterans continued to climb the charts. A goaltender scored with 0.1 seconds remaining in regulation, while another player won a game with 0.8 seconds left on the clock. And several teams emerged as postseason contenders just a year after missing the playoffs.
Several teenagers made early impressions during the first month of the season:
* On Oct. 5, Sharks forward Tomas Hertl (19 years, 330 days) became the youngest player to score four goals in an NHL game since March 20, 1988 (Jimmy Carson: 19 years, 254 days). Hertl also became the fourth-youngest player all-time to score four goals in an NHL game:
1. Jack Hamilton, TOR (18 years, 185 days): Dec. 4, 1943 vs. NYR
2. Bob Carpenter, WSH (18 years, 227 days): Feb. 25, 1982 vs. STL
3. Jimmy Carson, LA (19 years, 254 days): March 30, 1988 vs. CGY
4. Tomas Hertl, SJ (19 years, 330 days): Oct. 8, 2013 vs. NYR
Hertl, the 17th overall selection in the 2012 NHL Draft, tied a Sharks franchise record for goals in a game by any player (Owen Nolan: Dec. 19, 1995). He finished the month first among rookies with eight goals and 11 points in 13 games.
* Avalanche forward Nathan MacKinnon, the No. 1 overall selection in the 2013 NHL Draft, recorded two assists, two penalty minutes and a +1 rating in his League debut Oct. 2. At 18 years, 31 days, MacKinnon became the youngest NHL player to record multiple points in a game since Jan. 8, 1944, when Ted “Teeder” Kennedy totaled 1-3—4 for the Maple Leafs at 18 years, 27 days. MacKinnon also became the youngest player to skate in a game for the Avalanche/Nordiques franchise, breaking the club record by more than 200 days (Owen Nolan: 18 years, 235 days). He scored his first NHL goal in his fifth career game, Oct. 12 versus the Capitals.
* Panthers forward Aleksander Barkov, the second overall pick in the 2013 NHL Draft, scored the game-tying goal in Florida’s season opener Oct. 3. At 18 years, 31 days, Barkov became the youngest goal-scorer in an NHL game since Jan. 8, 1944, when Ted “Teeder” Kennedy scored for the Maple Leafs at 18 years, 27 days.
* On Oct. 3, Predators defenseman Seth Jones, 19, became the second teenager since 1967-68 to celebrate his birthday by making his NHL debut (Stephen Weiss: April 3, 2002). Jones, the No. 4 overall pick in the 2013 NHL Draft, scored his first career goal Oct. 12 versus the Islanders and potted his first game-winner Oct. 19 against the Canadiens. He led all rookies in average time on ice at 25:08, nearly four minutes more than the next-closest player, and capped the month by playing a career-high 30:19 Oct. 31 versus the Coyotes.
* Flames forward Sean Monahan, who turned 19 Oct. 12, recorded at least one point in each of the first five games of his NHL career (4-2—6), including goals in four straight contests. His point streak was the longest by a Flames player to begin his NHL career since October 1989 (Sergei Makarov: 7 games, 2-14—16), while his goal streak was the longest by a Flames rookie since 1990 (Paul Ranheim: 4 games, Jan. 25-Feb. 1). Monahan, the sixth overall pick in the 2013 NHL Draft, finished October with 6-4—10 in 12 games, ranking second among rookies in goals and points.
* The Sabres became the first NHL team in more than 17 years to dress four teenagers in a game when Zemgus Girgensons (19), Mikhail Grigorenko (19), Rasmus Ristolainen (18) and Nikita Zadorov (18) all skated in the team’s 3-1 victory over the Panthers Oct. 25. The last time any NHL team had four teenagers in its lineup was on March 10, 1996, when the Winnipeg Jets played 19-year-olds Shane Doan, Chad Kilger, Deron Quint and Oleg Tverdovsky in a 5-2 loss to the Red Wings.
* Six 18-year-olds recorded their first NHL goals during October: Florida’s Aleksander Barkov, Calgary’s Sean Monahan, Carolina’s Elias Lindholm, Colorado’s Nathan MacKinnon, Buffalo’s Rasmus Ristolainen and Buffalo’s Nikita Zadorov. The last time six 18-year-olds scored goals in one NHL season was in 2003-04, when Patrice Bergeron, Brent Burns, Dan Fritsche, Nathan Horton, Milan Michalek and Eric Staal each did so.
Other players also had hot starts to the 2013-14 season:
* Blues forward Alexander Steen led the NHL with 11 goals in 10 games, including two game-winners in the final minute of regulation (Oct. 9 vs. Chicago, 19:38 of 3rd period; Oct. 29 at Winnipeg, 19:00). He became the first NHL player to record 10 or more goals in his team’s first nine games of a season since 2006-07, when Buffalo’s Chris Drury and Atlanta’s Marian Hossa also scored 10 times in their clubs’ opening nine contests.
* Captain Alex Ovechkin became the first player in Capitals history to reach double-digits in goals through the team’s first 10 games of a season when scored his 10th marker Oct. 24 (in Washington’s 10th game). Ovechkin totaled 32 goals in a span of 31 regular-season games (March 17-Oct. 24), becoming the first NHL player to record 30 or more goals in a 30-game span since Pavel Bure, who had 30 goals in 30 games for the Panthers from Jan. 31-Oct. 4, 2001.
* Forward Matt Duchene potted nine goals in 11 games, matching the Avalanche record for scores in October (Joe Sakic, 1997; Peter Forsberg, 2000; Chris Stewart, 2010). He also posted three game-winning goals, tying for the League lead with Anaheim’s Ryan Getzlaf, Montreal’s Tomas Plekanec and Toronto’s Phil Kessel.
* Penguins captain Sidney Crosby began the season with at least one point in each of his first eight games (7-10—17), a personal record. He closed the month with a League-leading 21 points (8-13—21) in 13 contests, including six multi-point efforts. The Penguins went 9-2-0 in games in which Crosby recorded a point, versus 0-2-0 when he failed to do so.
* Flames forward Jiri Hudler collected at least one point in each of Calgary’s first nine games (4-8—12), the longest stretch by any player to open the 2013-14 season.
* Jaromir Jagr scored his first goal for the Devils on the 23rd anniversary of his first NHL goal, which he recorded in his second career game, for the Penguins on Oct. 7, 1990, versus the Devils. The 41-year-old Jagr, who signed a one-year deal with the Devils July 23, has scored for four different NHL teams since turning 40 during the 2012-13 season (Flyers: 6, Stars: 14, Bruins: 2, Devils: 3). That ties the NHL “record” set by Hall-of-Fame defenseman Tim Horton, who scored for the Maple Leafs, Rangers, Penguins and Sabres after his 40th birthday.
Jagr recorded his 119th game-winning goal Oct. 29 versus the Lightning, moving past Phil Esposito and into sole possession of second place on the NHL’s all-time list. Only Gordie Howe has more career game-winners (121). Jagr is riding a five-game point streak (1-6—7) and is just two points shy of becoming the eighth player in League history to post 1,700 career regular-season points (684-1,014—1,698 in 1,403 GP).
* Ducks forward Teemu Selanne (Oct. 16-20) became the first NHLer age 43 or older to score in three straight contests since Gordie Howe, who did so at age 51 from Oct. 31-Nov. 6, 1979, his final NHL season.
* Stars forward Alex Chiasson, the 38th overall selection in the 2009 NHL Draft, became the seventh player in the NHL’s “modern era” (i.e., since 1943-44) to record nine or more goals in his first 10 career games, joining Don Murdoch (11), Rob Gaudreau (10), Dmitri Kvartalnov (10), Real Cloutier (9), Pat LaFontaine (9) and Teemu Selanne (9).
* Oilers forward Mark Arcobello recorded 10 assists in Edmonton’s first 10 games, becoming the third rookie in the last 20 seasons to collect 10 or more helpers in his team’s opening 10 contests (Sidney Crosby: 12 in 2005-06; Patrick Kane: 10 in 2007-08).
* Coyotes captain Shane Doan became the sixth player in the NHL’s expansion era (since 1967-68) to record a goal for the same team in each of 18 consecutive seasons (Steve Yzerman: Red Wings, 22; Ray Bourque: Bruins, 21; Joe Sakic: Avalanche/Nordiques, 20; Mike Modano: Stars, 20; Nicklas Lidstrom: Red Wings, 20).
* Lightning captain Martin St. Louis became the first player in franchise history to eclipse the 900-point mark with the team. He also scored his 10th regular-season overtime goal with the club Oct. 24, becoming the fifth active player to record 10 or more regular-season overtime goals for his current team (Patrik Elias: Devils, 15; Alex Ovechkin: Capitals, 12; Shane Doan: Coyotes, 11; Daniel Sedin: Canucks, 10).
* Islanders captain John Tavares (4-9—13) and Canucks captain Henrik Sedin (3-9—12, active) both recorded 10-game point streaks, the longest by any player this season. Sedin finished the month with a League-leading 15 helpers, a franchise record for October.
* Ottawa’s Erik Karlsson (3-8—11), Phoenix’s Oliver Ekman-Larsson (3-8—11), Montreal’s P.K. Subban (2-9—11) and Phoenix’s Keith Yandle (1-10—11) paced all defensemen with 11 points each.
* Wild goaltender Josh Harding led the League with a 1.00 goals-against average and .953 save percentage, allowing one goal or fewer in eight of his nine appearances. San Jose’s Antti Niemi and Pittsburgh’s Marc-Andre Fleury paced the NHL with nine wins, while Niemi, Colorado’s Jean-Sebastien Giguere and NY Rangers’ Henrik Lundqvist each posted a League-high two shutouts.
The first month of the season included several notable and record-breaking moments:
* Coyotes goaltender Mike Smith scored his first career goal with 0.1 seconds remaining in regulation in a 5-2 victory over the Red Wings Oct. 19. Smith became the 11th goaltender in NHL history to be credited with a goal in the regular season or playoffs, and his was the 14th goal all-time by an NHL netminder. New Jersey’s Martin Brodeur has the most goals all-time by a goaltender with three.
GOALS BY NHL GOALTENDERS
REGULAR SEASON (DATE)
Billy Smith, NYI (Nov. 28, 1979 at Colorado)
Ron Hextall, PHI (Dec. 8, 1987 vs. Boston)
Chris Osgood, DET (March 6, 1996 at Hartford)
Damian Rhodes, OTT (Jan. 2, 1999 vs. New Jersey)
Martin Brodeur, NJ (Feb. 15, 2000 vs. Philadelphia)
Jose Theodore, MTL (Jan. 2, 2001 at NY Islanders)
Evgeni Nabokov, SJ (March 10, 2002 at Vancouver)
Mika Noronen, BUF (Feb. 14, 2004 at Toronto)
Chris Mason, NSH (April 15, 2006 vs. Phoenix)
Cam Ward, CAR (Dec. 26, 2011 vs. New Jersey)
Martin Brodeur, NJ (March 21, 2013 at Carolina)
Mike Smith, PHX (Oct. 19, 2013 vs. Detroit)
Ron Hextall, PHI (April 11, 1989 at Washington)
Martin Brodeur, NJ (April 17, 1997 vs. Montreal)
* David Krejci scored the game-winning goal with 0.8 seconds remaining in regulation to lift the Bruins to 2-1 victory over the Sharks Oct. 24. The last goal scored by any team at 19:59 of the third period was on Feb. 1, 2012, when Kings defenseman Drew Doughty netted the decisive tally in the last second of a 3-2 victory over the Blue Jackets. The last Bruin to score a tiebreaking goal in the final second of regulation was Sergei Samsonov, who did so on Oct. 14, 2002, in a 2-1 triumph over the Avalanche.
* Oilers forward Taylor Hall scored two goals in eight seconds Oct. 17 versus the Islanders, breaking Wayne Gretzky’s franchise record for the fastest two goals in a game. The previous mark was set on Feb. 18, 1981, when Gretzky tallied twice in nine seconds in Edmonton’s 9-2 victory over St. Louis.
Several teams got off to quick starts:
* The Avalanche began the season with six consecutive victories, the team’s best start since it moved to Denver in 1995 and one victory shy of the franchise’s record out of the gate (Nordiques: 7-0-0 in 1985-86). Patrick Roy tied the NHL record for consecutive head-coaching wins to begin a career (Montreal’s Mario Tremblay, 1995-96). Roy’s six straight victories to start his coaching career also set an Avalanche/Nordiques record, surpassing the 5-0-0 mark established by Marc Crawford in 1994-95.
The Avalanche finished the month with a 10-1-0 record, matching the club’s best start in franchise history (Nordiques: 10-1-0 in 1994-95). They also equaled the franchise record for wins in October, set in 2009-10. The Avalanche became the seventh team in NHL history to win 10 of its first 11 games of a season, but only the third to do so while recording each victory in regulation-time (1994-95 Penguins: 10-0-1; 1994-95 Nordiques: 10-1-0).
Colorado also went 5-0-0 on the road; the team ranked last in the NHL in 2012-13 with a 4-16-4 record as visitors.
* The Sharks began the 2013-14 season with a 6-0-0 record and went nine games (8-0-1) before suffering their first regulation defeat. San Jose finished the month with a League-leading 22 points, having earned at least one point in 12 of its 13 games (10-1-2), as well as an NHL-high 50 goals and +27 goal differential.
* The Ducks (10-3-1) won seven consecutive games, tying a franchise record set Feb. 20-March 7, 1999. They also won seven of their first eight games of a season for the first time in franchise history and completed five-game homestand sweep for the first time ever.
* The Maple Leafs (10-4-0) finished October with the best record in the Eastern Conference, the first time they have led their conference through the opening month of the season since 1999-2000. Toronto scored 47 goals, the most in the East and tied for second in the NHL. The Maple Leafs also recorded a League-high four shorthanded goals; they totaled one shorthanded marker during the entire 2012-13 season.
* The Coyotes (9-3-2) tied a franchise record with nine wins in October (2009-10 and 2000-01). Head coach Dave Tippett (165-99-44) also moved into a tie with Bob Francis (165-144-81) for the most wins in club history.
ALSO OF NOTE
The average attendance for the 190 October games was 17,278 (94.5% of capacity), up from 17,034 (93.3% of capacity) in the previous full season, 2011-12 . . . Of the 190 October games, 133 (or 70.0%) were decided by two or fewer goals . . . In those 190 games, the score was within one goal 73.7% of the time . . . Of the 190 October games, 121 (or 63.7%) were fight-free, the highest percentage since 2006-07.
A LOOK AHEAD TO AN EXCITING NOVEMBER
Saturday, Nov. 2: The Blackhawks make their first regular-season appearance in Winnipeg since Feb. 23, 1996. Chicago captain Jonathan Toews plays in his hometown for the first time as a pro . . . ALSO: Patrick Roy coaches his first game against his former team when the Canadiens visit the Avalanche. Prior to the game, the Avalanche retire No. 52 in honor of Adam Foote . . . ALSO: The Canucks retire No. 10 worn by Pavel Bure prior to their game against the Maple Leafs.
Sunday, Nov. 3: Zach Parise faces his former team for the first time when Minnesota hosts New Jersey.
Monday, Nov. 4: The Red Wings make first their regular-season appearance in Winnipeg since March 10, 1996.
Tuesday, Nov. 5: Tyler Seguin and Rich Peverley return to Boston for the first time since being traded to the Stars by the Bruins.
Thursday, Nov. 7: If healthy, Rick Nash would return to Columbus for the first time since being traded to the Rangers. The game, which could feature the past two Vezina winners in Henrik Lundqvist and Sergei Bobrovsky, also could involve several Blue Jackets who played for the Rangers: Marian Gaborik, Brandon Dubinsky and Artem Anisimov . . . ALSO: Jim Nill brings his Stars to Detroit, where he learned the GM ropes from Ken Holland and Jim Devellano.
Friday, Nov. 8: Bob Hartley brings his Flames to Colorado for a game against the Avalanche and Patrick Roy, who he coached to a Stanley Cup in Denver in 2001.
Friday, Nov. 8 – Monday, Nov. 11: Hockey Hall of Fame Induction Weekend opens with New Jersey @ Toronto.
Saturday, Nov. 9: The Maple Leafs face the Bruins in the teams’ first meeting since Boston’s late rally in Game 7 ousted Toronto from the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Monday, Nov. 11: The Hockey Hall of Fame inducts Chris Chelios, Geraldine Heaney, Scott Niedermayer, Brendan Shanahan and Fred Shero. Jay Greenberg and Harry Neale are the media honorees.
Tuesday, Nov. 12: General Managers meeting (Toronto).
Wednesday, Nov. 13: Former Oilers captain Shawn Horcoff is scheduled to make his first visit to Edmonton as a member of the Stars.
Friday, Nov. 15: The Kings go to New Jersey to face the Devils for the first time since the 2012 Stanley Cup Final.
Saturday, Nov. 16: The Avalanche host the Panthers in the potential first matchup between 2013 top pick Nathan MacKinnon of Colorado and Aleksander Barkov, claimed second overall by Florida.
Monday, Nov. 18: The Flames play in Winnipeg for the first time since April 6, 1996.
Wednesday, Nov. 20: The “Wednesday Night Rivalry” telecast on NBCSN features the first meeting of the season between Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin as the Penguins visit the Capitals . . . ALSO: 43-year-old Teemu Selanne and 41-year-old Jaromir Jagr, who have combined for 6-11—17 this season and 1,362-1,773—3,135 during their NHL careers, meet for the first time this season when the Devils visit the Ducks.
Friday, Nov. 22: 10th anniversary of the first NHL outdoor game, Montreal @ Edmonton, Commonwealth Stadium. Braving the astonishing cold, 57,167 cheered the alumni game and the Canadiens’ 4-3 victory in a nightcap memorialized by the stocking cap Montreal goaltender Jose Theodore wore on top of his mask. (Montreal @ Washington)
Wednesday, Nov. 27: Former Lightning captain Vincent Lecavalier returns to Tampa Bay with the Flyers on NHLN-US.
Friday, Nov. 29: Discover NHL Thanksgiving Showdown™: NY Rangers @ Boston, 1:00 p.m. ET.
Saturday, Nov. 30: The Rangers and Canucks, who “swapped” coaches during the offseason, meet at Madison Square Garden with Alain Vigneault leading the Rangers against John Tortorella and the Canucks . . . ALSO: The Sharks and Ducks, the top two teams in the NHL standings through games of Oct. 31, face off in the first of five regular-season meetings.
With NHL Press Release
* Research from the Elias Sports Bureau was used in compilation of these notes.