It’s mid-October, Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid is already breaking records, and fans are telling everyone they know that this is “my team’s year.” Hockey is back and we couldn’t be happier.

We’re about one week into the 2022-23 National Hockey League (NHL) season, and while the results of these first games certainly aren’t the end all be all, they’re setting the stage for what to expect as the season continues. In case you missed anything, let’s revisit some highlights, lowlights, and everything in between.

Notable Debuts:

If you’re John Tortorella, Bruce Cassidy, Jim Montgomery, Pete DeBoer, Paul Maurice, Derek Lalonde, or Rick Bowness, you’re feeling pretty good. 

All of these coaches, the head of new teams, are undefeated this season so far. Although it hasn’t been long, I’m sure winning those first couple of games is playing a key role in building trust and chemistry between the aforementioned coaches and their new players, which is bound to create even more success.

If you’re Kevin Fiala, you’re also feeling pretty good. The Los Angeles Kings’ forward scored one goal and two assists (his first points ever as an LA King) last night against his former team, the Minnesota Wild.

Other big-name players that changed teams in the offseason like Nazem Kadri, Jonathan Huberdeau, Matthew Tkachuk and Alex Debrincat, (I could go on and on if I wanted —there were so many big signings and trades this offseason it seemed like the NHL was playing one big game of chess) are starting to make splashes in their new cities by registering their first points.

Seattle Kraken rookie, Matty Beniers, has already registered four points in only three games as first-line center. Rookie defensemen Owen Power of the Buffalo Sabres and Kaiden Guhle of the Montreal Canadiens, respectively, have each been playing about twenty minutes a game. We’ll see if the responsibility they’re being given continues to be earned.

McDavid Reaches 700 Career Points:

This technically could have fallen in the notable debut category, but I think it deserves its own section. In the game against the Vancouver Canucks on October 12th, Connor McDavid became the sixth fastest player to reach 700 career points, and he did it in only 488 games. 

Let that sink in. 

After falling three to nothing to the Vancouver Canucks not even halfway through the game, Leon Draisaitl put the Oilers on the board during a power play. McDavid scored his first goal of the night a few minutes later on another power play. Darnell Nurse then tied the game at 3-3 right at the end of the second period, before McDavid got his 700th point on the go ahead goal, and then his hat trick with an empty netter to seal the win.

Rivalry Rematches:

The New York Rangers and Tampa Bay Lightning faced each other for the first time since the eastern conference finals back in the spring, where Tampa eventually won in six games. In their rematch, however, the Rangers came out victorious with a 3-1 win. 

After a scoreless first period, the Rangers’ Mika Zibanejad got a shorthanded goal. Steven Stamkos tied it up a few minutes later on, a two-man advantage for Tampa. Zibanejad scored again in the third on a power play before former Lightning forward Barclay Goodrow got what would be the game-winning goal with about nine minutes left.

The Montreal Canadiens, in what was a bit of a shock, won 4-3 against the Toronto Maple Leafs on October 12th. Toronto’s Michael Bunting scored the first goal of the game a little over halfway through the first period. About thirty seconds into the second, Cole Caufield scored on a two-on-one with captain Nick Suzuki. Denis Malgin got a second goal for the Leafs before Caufield scored again to tie it up going into the third. Sean Monahan scored again for Montreal, his first goal as a Canadien and on his birthday. William Nylander tied the game again, with less than two minutes to go, before Josh Anderson got the go-ahead, game-winning goal with 17.9 seconds left.

Injuries:

Defenseman Mike Matheson of the Montreal Canadiens is expected to be out for about eight weeks with an abdominal muscle strain.

Forward Patrick Laine with the Columbus Blue Jackets is expected to be out for about four weeks with an elbow sprain. Laine got awkwardly pinned to the boards with a hit from Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Brett Pesce.

Goalie Matt Murray of the Toronto Maple Leafs was placed on LTIR from an adductor injury. He is expected to miss at least four weeks.

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