The first Saturday of the NHL season brought us plenty of action from all around the league. We got to see some miscues to go along with some great goaltending as the 2019-20 season picks up steam.
Oilers Overcome Smith’s Mistakes
Saturday night’s Pacific Division clash between the Edmonton Oilers and Los Angeles Kings may have been the most entertaining game of the early season. The two teams combined for 11 goals and plenty of back-and-forth action.
Oilers goaltender Mike Smith was a bit of an adventure early on as he gifted the Kings their first two goals of the contest. Moments after the Oilers jumped out to a 1-0 lead, Smith came all the way out to the left faceoff dot to play the puck. Unfortunately, his pass off the boards missed all of his teammates and before he could get back into his crease, Dustin Brown deposited the puck into an empty cage.
Less than five minutes later, Smith went behind his net to play the puck but coughed it up to Kyle Clifford, who threw the puck out front for another easy goal; this time by Trevor Lewis.
Thankfully for Smith, the Oilers were able to fight back and pull off a 6-5 victory behind a four-point performance from Connor McDavid.
A Shutout & a Celly in Calgary
The reigning Pacific Division champions, Calgary Flames, picked up their first victory of the season Saturday night. They scored a 3-0 win over the Vancouver Canucks thanks to a 34-save shutout by goaltender David Rittich.
After the final horn sounded, the goal camera in the Saddledome picked up Rittich’s fun little celebration of his performance.
Rittich picked up the second shutout of his career. His first came on Nov. 10, 2018, when he made 21 saves in a 1-0 victory at the Kings.
Halak Adds to Coyotes’ Misery Versus Bruins
Backup goaltender Jaroslav Halak made his first start for the Boston Bruins Saturday night at the Arizona Coyotes. He stopped all 35 shots he saw and Brad Marchand’s late first-period goal held up in a 1-0 victory.
The win was the Bruins’ 15th straight over the Coyotes, a streak that started with a 3-0 Boston win at the O2 Arena in Prague, Czech Republic back on Oct. 10, 2010. The streak is tied for the longest winning streak against one team in NHL history. The Bruins will go for their 16th consecutive win over the Coyotes when they come to Boston on Feb. 8.
As for Halak, the shutout was the 48th of his career, the fifth most among all active goaltenders. Only Henrik Lundqvist, Marc-Andre Fleury, Pekka Rinne and Jonathan Quick have more. That is a pretty good list to be on.
The Streak of All Streaks Begins
Oct. 6 is an important date in the career for one of the greatest goaltenders in NHL history. Back on this date in 1955, Hall of Fame goaltender Glenn Hall took to the ice for the Detroit Red Wings in their 3-2 season-opening loss against the Chicago Blackhawks. This started one of the most impressive streaks in all of professional sports as Hall would start 502 consecutive games.
Hall was traded to the Blackhawks prior to the 1957-58 season, but the streak continued. He finally came out of a game on Nov. 7, 1962, when a back injury forced him to remove himself midway through the first period against the Bruins. Denis DeJordy came into to relieve Hall. The streak officially came to an end three nights later when DeJordy became the first starting goaltender, besides Hall, for the Blackhawks since Al Rollins started against the New York Rangers. This is a record that will never be broken.
Greg Boysen has been writing about the Chicago Blackhawks since 2010 and has been a site manager for both FanSided and SB Nation. He has been published in The Hockey News and was fully credentialed for the 2013 Stanley Cup Final. Among his various roles with The Hockey Writers are covering the Blackhawks, the AHL, writing the daily “Today in Hockey History” column, serving as a copy editor, and appearing and hosting multiple YouTube shows, including Blackhawks Banter. He is credentialed with the Chicago Wolves, Rockford IceHogs, and Milwaukee Admirals, while also being a regional scout for the NAHL. And, just because his plate isn’t full enough, Greg hosts trivia in the Chicago area two nights a week. For interview requests or to provide topic suggestions, follow Greg on Twitter and reach out.