Five things we learned in the NHL: dazzling debuts

Watch Seth Jones take the ice as a Columbus Blue Jacket for the first time after being traded for Ryan Johansen.

A few players were making highly anticipated debuts Friday and two of them shot right out of the gate.

Elsewhere, defencemen were trying to take jobs away from goaltenders, the Edmonton Oilers were their own worst enemies, and a couple of NHL institutions made history.

Here are five things we learned in the NHL.

1. Jones and Johansen debut for new clubs

After being traded for each other, running into each other at the airport and Johansen taking over Jones’ Nashville apartment, it was finally time to step on the ice to begin to see who won the blockbuster deal between the Predators and Blue Jackets.

NSH: 1 CBJ: 0

Ryan Johansen scored 2:35 into his first game by coyly lifting the puck over Semyon Varlamov on the power play. He later assisted on another in a 5-3 loss to the Colorado Avalanche.

The kid couldn’t help but let loose a smile.

Big deal, you scored 2:35 into your first Predators game?

As a centreman, there was a hole left in more than just the scoring department for Columbus after Johansen’s departure.

The Blue Jackets finished with 29 faceoff wins to Carolina’s 46.

It was a less than memorable debut for Jones who was a minus-2 in 22:31 which ranked third on the team. The Blue Jackets got into penalty trouble early and often and couldn’t keep pace with the Hurricanes who skated away with a 4-1 win.

Before the contest, Jones told the Blue Jackets’ broadcast that he’d received some advice from his father — former NBA player Popeye Jones — about being traded. The elder Jones was dealt six times over his career and told his son he has some catching up to do. Hopefully for Seth he has a home for now.

The game also featured this questionable hit from Brad Malone on Nick Foligno. The NHL will review the hit.

2. Two for Drouin in AHL debut

As with the Jones-Johansen trade, there was ample time between Jonathan Drouin‘s demotion to the AHL from the Tampa Bay Lightning and the moment when he hit the ice with the Syracuse Crunch.

There was virtually no time between when he hit the ice and when he scored his first goal on his first shot. And then he scored again…on his next shot.

Drouin’s agent recently revealed that he put in a trade request from the Lightning in November. No doubt a great deal of scouts were on hand to watch this one.

Meanwhile, in Edmonton where the Lightning were playing:

3. Victor Hedman saves the day, scores 3 points off Oilers’ bodies

If you thought goaltending equipment was too large, try scoring on a team with two bodies in the crease.

In two separate games Friday night, defencemen slid behind their goalies to make miraculous saves. When it’s a tough job market, you make yourself as useful as possible.

Bonus thing!

That Hedman save would prove to be a turning point as Edmonton ended up scoring three goals on their own net in the third to lose 3-2. Yup.

In fact, Hedman factored in on all three goals, scoring one and assisting on the others. That’s a “thing” if we ever saw one.

Easy for you to say.

4. Iginla ties Jari Kurri on the all-time goals list

Fresh off his 600-goal milestone, Colorado Avalanche forward Jarome Iginla scored his 601st NHL goal, tying him with Oilers great Jari Kurri for 18th all-time in NHL scoring. He is now seven goals behind Dino Ciccarelli and nine behind Bobby Hull.

The power-play goal also lifted Iginla into 24th all-time in man-advantage markers, tied with Alex Ovechkin. Like Jaromir Jagr, anything Iginla does now is bonus fries for a Hall-of-Fame career.

5. Bruins reach 3000th franchise victory

By defeating the New Jersey Devils Friday, the Boston Bruins won their 3000th game in franchise history, and it only took 92 years. See you at 6000.

Only one franchise beat them to it and we bet you can guess who.

Those darn Habs.

Ryan Spooner earned first star honours with a goal and an assist and is on a four-game point streak after taking on a greater role with David Krejci out of the lineup. Backup Jonas Gustavsson made 19 saves for the win to improve to 6-3-1 this season.

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