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Top Stories from the Opening Round

Top Stories from the Opening Round

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Saad bags a hat-trick in season opener

It was a fairy-tale return to the Chicago Blackhawks for Brandon Saad, as the forward completed a memorable treble in a 10-1 demolition of the Pittsburgh Penguins at United Center on Thursday.

Saad completed his impressive hat-trick when he charged to the net on a 2-on-1 and luckily a pass from Jonathan Toews deflected off him into the net in the middle of the third period to make it 9-1.

A delighted Saad spoke after the game saying “It’s exciting, for sure, to get [a hat trick] and then to be in this building,” said Saad, who was re-signed by the Blackhawks on the 23rd June in a deal that saw forward Artemi Panarin transfer to the Columbus Blue Jackets.

“It’s an incredible building to play in, and to have that support and get a hat trick on the first night, it definitely feels good”.

The Blackhawks were in frightening form with Ryan Hartman bagging a goal and four assists, Patrick Kane notching a goal and three assists and Nick Schmaltz registering two goals and an assist.

It is worth mentioning Corey Crawford, the Blackhawks goalie, who made 28 saves throughout the game. It’s incredible to think that 14 Blackhawks scored or assisted in one form or another.

Penguins captain Sidney Crosby was quoted after the game saying “It’s embarrassing….. It was 4-0 [just] 10 minutes into the game. I don’t know what to say, to be honest with you. We made mistakes and they buried them.

Sometimes you make those mistakes and you get away with them. They capitalized on every one”. The goal of the game came in the second period when Kane who raced up the right wing and lifted a backhand to the short side that went over Murray’s left shoulder, hit the crossbar and went in the net. Emphatic finish!

Ovechkin hat-trick in Captials shootout win

Another man who hit a very impressive treble in the opening round matches was the Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin in a 5-4 shootout win against the Ottawa Senators at Canadian Tire Centre on Thursday.

“It’s nice to get a [hat trick], but the most important thing, mentally, we need the win and we got it,” said Ovechkin, who notched his 18th hat trick of his NHL career. “I think our line felt the puck well tonight. We were moving it and had good communication and the result was there”.

Ovechkin scored all three of his goals in a little over six minutes in the third period to help the Capitals rally after going 3-1 and 4-3 down. Derick Brassard had a goal and two assists while Mark Stone scored two for the Senators.

Bobby Ryan scored in the shootout and Craig Anderson made 24 impressive saves. A notable absentee was the Senators’ captain Erik Karlsson, who had surgery to repair torn tendons in his left foot on the 14th June.

Red Wings open Little Caesars Arena with win

The Detroit Red Wings gave their new arena the best possible opening as they came away with a 4-2 win against the Minnesota Wild on Thursday.

Their new home, the “Little Caesars Arena”, has the latest architecture and technology but has the feel of old building to it. Steep seats. Great sightlines. Stage lighting. Organ music.

It has the latest architecture and technology, but yet it has a homely and authentic feel to it. After the Wild had two goals disallowed in the first period, Anthony Mantha scored on a power play at in the second to give the Red Wings a 1-0 lead.

“That was an awesome feeling,” Mantha said. “All day, I had been thinking about how special it would be to get the first goal in this building, and then it happened”.

Henrik Zetterberg gave Detroit a 3-2 lead in the third period and Martin Frk finished off the scoring at 10:39 with his first NHL goal to seal the game for the Red Wings. A goal to fit the occasion, that’s what Zetterberg managed to produce when the game was tied at 2-2.  

With the game all square in the third period, Zetterberg got to a loose puck between the face-off circles and put a wrist shot between Dubnyk’s legs. That’s something that he will never forget!

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I’m a 22-year-old Irishman from County Mayo. Recently graduated from the University of Limerick with a degree in Marketing and French. Massive sports fan with a love for Football, Rugby and GAA.

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