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Hockey Daily Dose

Max Pacioretty helps Knights slay Kraken

by Ryan Dadoun
Updated On: October 13, 2021, 11:32 am ET

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The 2021-22 campaign is officially underway. The first two games of the season were last night and they were both fun ones.

The Pittsburgh Penguins entered the season without Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, or Jake Guentzel in a matchup against the defending back-to-back Stanley Cup champions. It seemed like a recipe for a one-sided game and it was – just not in the way we expected. The Penguins earned a 6-2 victory with goals from six different forwards. It’s contests like this that emphasize for all the predicting and odds that exist, anything can happen.

After that it was Seattle and Vegas – the newest franchise facing the 31st oldest team. Of course, the Golden Knights had a magical inaugural season that saw them go all the way to the Stanley Cup Final and everyone’s been wondering if Seattle can do the same. The Golden Knights were good right out of the gate in their first season, winning three straight games en route to an 8-1-0 start.

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By contrast, Seattle experienced its first lost in its first ever game, but they made a contest of it, rallying back from a 3-0 deficit before ultimately falling to Vegas 4-3. Seattle naturally still has plenty of unanswered questions, but the expansion club has a solid foundation and they showed it last night by hanging in there against one of the league’s top teams.

PITTSBURGH 6 TAMPA BAY 2

Brian Boyle scored at 4:11 of the second period to give the Penguins a 2-0 lead. He didn’t get a contract last season, so this was his first NHL goal since August 5, 2020 and his first regular season goal since January 16, 2020.

Dominik Simon netted what proved to be the game winner. Speaking of ending long goal droughts, that was Simon’s first marker since February 2, 2020. One reoccurring theme for the Penguins over the last several years: When their stars are hurt, their depth players step up.

Tristan Jarry played a huge role in the Penguins’ victory too, stopping 26 of 28 shots. That’s a nice contrast to last season where he allowed six goals in his opening game and followed that up by surrendering just three goals in 11:30 minutes in his second contest.

At the other end of the ice, Andrei Vasilevskiy saved 29 of 32 shots. After the game, Lightning coach Jon Cooper singled out Vasilevskiy as the only player on his team he felt played well, per Dan Rosen.

Anthony Cirelli scored a goal and registered an assist for Tampa Bay. He had nine goals and 22 points in 50 contests in 2020-21.

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VEGAS 4 SEATTLE 3

Max Pacioretty led the charge for the Golden Knights. He scored two goals, including the first of the game and another marker in the second period that put then Golden Knights up 3-0. He later assisted on the game-winning goal.

Mark Stone also had a big night with three assists. The Vegas forward had 21 goals and 61 points in 55 games last season.

Ryan Donato scored the first goal in the Kraken’s franchise history. At the time it only reduced Vegas’ lead to 3-1, but Jared McCann and Morgan Geekie also scored to tie the game at 3 before the Golden Knights ended the comeback bid.

Philipp Grubauer saved 26 of 30 shots for Seattle. He was one of the league’s top goaltenders last season with a 30-9-1 record, 1.95 GAA, and .922 save percentage in 40 games with Colorado.

Robin Lehner saved 28 of 31 Kraken shots. With Marc-Andre Fleury no longer with the Golden Knights, Lehner is the clear number one goaltender in Vegas.

Ryan Dadoun

Ryan Dadoun is an Associate Editor for Hockey on NBC Sports Edge. Feel free to follow him on Twitter or check out his blog.