Five things we learned in the NHL: Debuts galore

Brendan Gallagher had two goals in the Canadiens’ 4-1 win over the Sabres.

It was quite the night in the NHL, with nine games and plenty of storylines to follow as teams got their seasons started.

The Winnipeg Jets put in an early bid for comeback of the year, the Montreal Canadiens got off on the right foot and Roberto Luongo made a little history.

Here are five things we learned in the NHL.

Debuts to remember

Thursday night saw many players play in their first games with new teams after coming over through the draft, free agency or the trade market.

There was none of that four-goal Auston Matthews craziness we saw on Wednesday, but the new guys did their part in making management look good.

David Backes had two goals and an assist after signing a massive contract with the Bruins, Shea Weber grabbed a point in a Canadiens win, Mika Zibanejad had two assists for the Rangers, Thomas Vanek found the back of the net twice in a Detroit loss, waiver claim P.A. Parenteau scored for New Jersey, Nail Yakupov had a goal and an assist for the Blues, and Patrik Laine did this as part of a crazy three-goal comeback (more on that later) in Winnipeg:


Marchand picks up where he left off

When we last saw Brad Marchand, he was scoring the World Cup-winning goal as part of an unstoppable Canadian unit with Sidney Crosby and Patrice Bergeron.

Bergeron missed Boston’s opener against Columbus, but that didn’t stop Marchand from finding instant chemistry with the aforementioned Backes and promising youngster David Pastrnak.

Marchand finished the night with two goals and three assists to put himself atop the NHL points leaderboard.


Luongo climbs another rung

Goaltender Roberto Luongo has put himself in impressive company among all-time NHL goaltenders.

With a 2-1 win against the New Jersey Devils, the 37-year-old moved into a tie with Hall of Famer Jacques Plante with 437 wins, the sixth most in NHL history.

Up next are Terry Sawchuk (447) and Curtis Joseph (454), with Ed Belfour comfortably in third at 484.

These Jets can fly

The Winnipeg Jets came into this season with heightened expectations, boasting arguably the league’s most impressive prospect pool that looked ready to graduate some stars.

They got off to a strong start hosting the Carolina Hurricanes, before the visitors stormed back and jumped to a 4-1 third-period lead, giving the boisterous MTS Centre cause for concern, at least temporarily.

A short-handed goal by Blake Wheeler gave Winnipeg some life, and Laine’s power-play snipe brought the Jets to within one.

With the net empty, a beautiful passing play resulted in a Mathieu Perreault tap-in to tie it 4-4, and Mark Scheifele completed the comeback in overtime.


In the thunderdome that is the NHL’s Central Division, the Jets might be ready to make their mark.

Shaw at it again

In a night of impressive debuts, Habs fans got the full Andrew Shaw experience in Buffalo.

He drew a penalty in the first period, and scored his first as a Canadien in the third.

Then things got interesting.


As time expired, Shaw gave Johan Larsson a slew-foot, earning a match penalty for his efforts.

Shaw has already been suspended once as a Hab, for a hit in the pre-season, and he might be in talks with the department of player safety once again.

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