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Hockey

Three Takeaways From NHL Opening Night

The 2019-20 NHL Regular Season started last night with four electric games.

The results were a 5-3 Toronto win over the Ottawa Senators, a 3-2 overtime win for the Capitals over the defending Champions St. Louis Blues, a 3-2 third period come from behind win for Edmonton over Vancouver, and an impressive 4-1 victory for Vegas over Pacific Division rival San Jose.

Here are three takeaways from last night’s games.

Binnington Shaky Up High?

In a game between the two previous Stanley Cup Champions, St. Louis, and Washington, the Blues appeared to be in complete control to start the game, jumping out to a 2-0 lead just 7:55 into the first period with goals from Sammy Blais, and Alex Pietrangelo.

However, that would be all St. Louis would produce as they saw their two goal lead disappear, resulting in a 3-2 overtime loss.

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The first goal for the Capitals was scored by nonetheless Alex Ovechkin at 15:37 of the first period as he made a nice move around Robert Bertuzzo, and using Parayko as a slight screen to snap a shot high blocker on Jordan Binnington.

In the second period Dmitry Orlov would score a power play goal on a one timer from the point 12:28 into the period which would go high glove on Binnington; this would tie the game 2-2 and eventually lead to an overtime.

In overtime just 2:51 into the extra period, Jakub Vrana skated around the Blues in their defensive zone, and proceeded to release a shot that would deflect off Binnington’s glove, before going into the net.

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When it comes to stats, the Blues really only outperformed the Capitals in one area, the power play.

St. Louis would go 1/2 compared to Washington going 1/3, although the Capitals would outshoot the Blues 34-22, out hit the Blues 25-23, and play cleaner hockey with only 5 giveaways compared to the Blues’ 11.

It is just game one of 82, however if Binnington continues to struggle up high as he displayed last night, it will not take long for the rest of the NHL to catch on.

Matthews Shines

In his fourth straight opening game, Auston Matthews recorded a goal.

However, he would not finish there as he recorded another goal in the same period just shy of seven minutes later.

Matthews’ first goal came at 8:02 of the second period as William Nylander fed the puck to Matthews across the front of the net for a nice back-door goal; this would give Toronto a 3-2 lead after trailing the Senators 1-0 early.

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The young star’s second goal would occur on the power play at 14:50 of the second period as Mitch Marner would give Matthews a behind the back feed at the top of the slot with Matthews following through with a snipe high glove on Craig Anderson giving Toronto a 4-2 lead.

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The second period was all Toronto as the Maple Leafs outshot the Senators 17-3, scoring four goals.

Jones’ Struggles Continue?

In the first game of a home and home to start the season, the Vegas Golden Knights kicked their season off with a 4-1 win over the San Jose Sharks.

Sharks’ Goalie Martin Jones struggled last season, leading to much skepticism leading up to this season.

Allowing four goals, and posting a save percentage of .886 was certainly not the way Martin Jones wanted to start his season.

But if you take a deeper look at these goals, everyone of them was caused by sloppy play from the Sharks Defense.

The first goal to make it 1-0 was scored by Mark Stone as he buried a rebound which was fed to him by Vlasic in attempt of clearing the puck.

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Following a turnover in their own zone, the Sharks would fall 2-0 as William Karlsson and Reilly Smith would connect for an easy finish.

In his first NHL game, Cody Glass would score his first NHL goal as Max Pacioretty would feed Glass the puck who was wide open back door making it 3-1.

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To seal the deal making it 4-1, Reilly Smith would cause a turnover on the penalty kill leading to a 2 v.s. 0 with William Karlsson who would feed Smith again for his second goal of the game, yet again back door.

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Granted numbers do not lie, a .886 save percentage is subpar, although San Jose has a lot of cleaning up to do defensively if they want to remain an elite team in the NHL; especially with the Defenseman they have on their blue line.

Photo Source: www.torontosun.ca

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