Another week of NHL hockey has come and gone, and there has already been plenty to talk about in the early going. For anyone who might have missed the action, CBS Sports has you covered with the weekly NHL Rewind.
This past week, the Vegas Golden Knights made NHL history with their complete lack of a Stanley Cup hangover. They have made it abundantly clear the road to the Cup will run through the desert again this year.
On an individual basis, Alex DeBrincat has gotten off to a hot start of his own, and he had a busy weekend. Not only did he return to Ottawa to face a salty fan base, but he also filled the net to take the early lead in the Maurice Rocket Richard Trophy race.
Let’s take a look back at the best highlights and biggest storylines from the week that was in the NHL.
Goal of the week: Connor McDavid falls down, still spins on ice and scores
Stop if you’ve heard this before: Connor McDavid has scored a jaw-dropping goal.
That was the case last week when the Edmonton Oilers star produced yet another highlight reel-type goal. When facing the Nashville Predators, McDavid fell to the ice, spun around while he was down, and still managed to corral the puck. After doing so, he was able to snap the puck into the back of the net.
Listen, McDavid has had a flair for the dramatic during his time in the NHL. Still, it was quite impressive to see the Oilers center fall to the ice and nonchalantly get up and score a goal. It’s honestly the type of goal that one would score in a video game rather than on a sheet of ice.
Over the weekend, though, the Oilers announced McDavid suffered an upper-body injury during Saturday’s 3-2 overtime loss to the Winnipeg Jets. As a result, he’s expected to be out of the lineup for one-to-two weeks.
Prior to the injury, McDavid registered two goals and six assists in five games.
Save of the week: Logan Thompson paddles Cole Perfetti
The Vegas Golden Knights have a pretty strong one-two punch in goal, and that was very clear last week when Logan Thompson got the start against the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday. Winnipeg threw all it had at Thompson, but he turned in an exceptional performance.
In the final minute of the first period, the Jets put a shot on Thompson through traffic, and he used his left pad to kick out a rebound. The puck slid straight to Jets forward Cole Perfetti, who was looking to give his team a 2-1 lead.
As Perfetti hammered the puck toward an open cage, Thompson came sliding across and threw his stick up in the air to paddle the shot away.
Thompson finished the game with 36 saves on 39 shots in his second victory of the season. Through two starts, Thompson has a .935 save percentage and 1.88 goals saved above average, according to Natural Stat Trick.
One of the only goalies who has been better is the man whom he backs up in Adin Hill. Maybe the Golden Knights’ goaltending situation has staying power after all.
Alex DeBrincat’s big weekend
The Detroit Red Wings had back-to-back games on Saturday and Sunday, and winger Alex DeBrincat was at the center of both.
On Saturday afternoon, DeBrincat returned to Ottawa just months after opting not to sign a contract extension with the Senators. That led to him being traded to the Red Wings, where he signed a four-year, $31.5 million contract. Needless to say, the fans in Ottawa weren’t thrilled to see him.
DeBrincat got a cold welcome off and on the ice. During the tribute video portion of the weekend, fans inside the Canadian Tire Centre booed loudly when DeBrincat was shown on the screen.
His former Senator teammates didn’t exactly welcome him back with open arms either. Ottawa captain Brady Tkachuk got caught up with DeBrincat during a scuffle in the corner, and Tkachuk was called for roughing along with four other players.
Later in the period, Ridley Greig flattened DeBrincat in the corner, and he also got whistled for roughing.
It was a rough ride for DeBrincat all afternoon, but he and the Red Wings had the last laugh. DeBrincat didn’t end up on the scoresheet, but Detroit came away with a big 5-2 win.
One day later, the Red Wings returned to Detroit for a Sunday night clash with the Calgary Flames. This time, DeBrincat did get on the scoresheet … a lot. In the first period, DeBrincat found some quiet ice in front of Dan Vladar, and he snuck a shot behind him.
In the second period, DeBrincat finished off a 3-on-2 thanks to a gorgeous feed from Dylan Larkin.
DeBrincat ended his full weekend on a high note when Lucas Raymond hit him with a stretch pass early in the third period. DeBrincat had enough space to walk into the offensive zone and wire a wrist shot past Vladar for a hat trick, making the big play with his young son watching him live for the first time.
Detroit is off to a terrific 5-1-0 start in 2023-24, and DeBrincat is a huge reason why as he leads the NHL in goals (8) and points (12). The Wings needed some scoring touch, and DeBrincat is providing that and then some.
Golden Knights’ Cup defense off to historically good start
You would think a Stanley Cup hangover in Las Vegas would be pretty vicious, but the Golden Knights were apparently well-stocked with Advil and Pedialyte. The reigning champs have already made NHL history with the longest winning streak to start a season after winning the Cup.
Heading into Saturday’s game against the Chicago Blackhawks, the Golden Knights were 5-0-0 and one win away from setting the record. Connor Bedard put Vegas’ pursuit of history in jeopardy early, but the Golden Knights applied more pressure and the game was tied 2-2 at the start of the third period.
It took just 13 seconds into the final frame for Vegas to break the tie. After winning the opening face-off, Keegan Kolesar and Nic Roy capitalized on an odd-man rush to give the Golden Knights the lead.
The Blackhawks were still within striking distance late in the third when Vegas forced a neutral-zone turnover. Michael Amadio entered the zone, circled the net, and slipped a pass to Mark Stone on the backdoor for a little bit of insurance.
Paul Cotter added some more in the game’s final moments, and the Golden Knights won 5-2 to extend their season-opening win streak to six games. That is now the NHL record for a defending Stanley Cup champion, as Vegas is reminding everyone it is still the team to beat out West.
Avalanche remain unbeaten
The Colorado Avalanche have been a juggernaut to start off the 2023-24 season. They’ve gotten off to a 5-0-1 start this season and have a chance to make history later this week.
If the Avalanche defeat the New York Islanders on Tuesday, they’ll match the 2013-14 team for the best start since they moved to Colorado. The 1985-86 Quebec Nordiques currently hold the franchise record with a 7-0-0 record.
Most recently, the Avalanche topped the Carolina Hurricanes 6-4 on Saturday to extend the streak. Forward Artturi Lehkonen recorded a goal and three assists, while Nathan MacKinnon added a goal and an assist, including the assist of the 2023-24 season thus far.
The Avalanche are second in points (10) to only the Golden Knights throughout the entire league and have outscored their opponents 21-8 in the opening five games. After injuries crippled the Avalanche a season ago, Colorado is looking like one of the top Stanley Cup contenders early in 2023-24.
Appointment viewing this week
Stars at Penguins | Tuesday, Oct. 24: Not only is this an inter-conference matchup between Stanley Cup hopefuls, but it also features quite a bit of starpower. Ageless wonders Joe Pavelski, Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin will go head-to-head, and both sides have Norris Trophy-caliber defensemen.
Rangers at Oilers | Thursday, Oct. 26: The Oilers are a frustrated team in need of some wins, and the Rangers will be looking to make a statement on the road. Besides, this explosive Edmonton offense going up against New York netminder Igor Shesterkin will be a blast to watch.
Sabres at Devils | Friday, Oct. 27: These teams boast some of the best young offensive talent in the NHL, and this has serious shootout potential. It might take five or six goals to win this game, and the prospect of Tage Thompson and Jack Hughes rolling at full throttle is highly enticing.
Golden Knights vs. Kings | Saturday, Oct. 28: Vegas is the hottest team in the NHL to start the 2023-24 season, and Los Angeles is trying to prove it is a legitimate Cup contender. Beating the Golden Knights and cooling them off would be a nice feather in the Kings’ crown.
Flames at Oilers | Sunday, Oct. 29: As mentioned above, the Oilers have gotten off to a tough start, and the Flames are in a similar boat. Add that angst on top of the hatred already involved in the Battle of Alberta, and you’ve got appointment television.