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10 memorable performances on opening night

Past 30 seasons have produced numerous standout individual efforts

by Cristina Ledra @cledra / Staff

Some players may get opening night jitters, but others find a way to step up and produce standout performances.

Opening nights have featured multigoal games, dramatic comebacks and dominating goaltenders. Here are some of the memorable performances from the past 30 seasons:

Zach Parise

Minnesota Wild 5, Colorado Avalanche 4

Oct. 8, 2015

Parise's hat trick helped spark the Wild's third-period comeback against the Avalanche. Minnesota trailed 4-1 with less than 15 minutes remaining before Parise scored his second and third goals, along with one each by Thomas Vanek and Nino Niederreiter, in a 5:07 span to win at Colorado.

Derek Stepan

New York Rangers 6, Buffalo Sabres 3

Oct. 9, 2010

Stepan became the first member of the Rangers and the fourth player in history to score three goals in his NHL debut. The feat was previously accomplished by Montreal Canadiens forward Alex Smart (1943), Quebec Nordiques forward Real Cloutier (1979) and Dallas Stars forward Fabian Brunnstrom (2008). It was the first opening night hat trick for the Rangers in 55 years.

Tomas Vokoun

Florida Panthers 4, Chicago Blackhawks 3

Oct. 2, 2009

Vokoun put on a show at Hartwell Arena in Helsinki, Finland, by making 52 saves and giving the Panthers a chance to win although they were outshot 55-24. Forward David Booth scored the tying goal with 2:21 left in the third period, and defenseman Ville Koistinen scored the shootout winner after Vokoun came up with one big save after another in the game's final minutes.

Steven Reinprecht

Phoenix Coyotes 6, New York Islanders 3

Oct. 5, 2006

Reinprecht opened his seventh NHL season with a career-high five points. He assisted on each of the Coyotes' first four goals, then scored their final goal during a second-period power play.

Marc Chouinard

Minnesota Wild 6, Calgary Flames 3

Oct. 5, 2005

Chouinard scored three goals on three shots for his first NHL hat trick. He completed his big night by scoring with 4.4 seconds left in the game.

Marc-Andre Fleury

Los Angeles Kings 3, Pittsburgh Penguins 0

Oct. 10, 2003

Fleury didn't win his NHL debut, but the 18-year-old, chosen with the No. 1 pick in the 2003 NHL Draft, gave Penguins fans something to be excited about. After giving up an early goal, he recovered and finished with 46 saves on 48 shots.

Cam Neely

Boston Bruins 4, New York Islanders 4

Oct. 7, 1995

Neely's hat trick, the 15th of his NHL career, was special for a few reasons. He became the first player in NHL history to have multiple hat tricks in season openers; the other one came against the Philadelphia Flyers at the start of the 1994-95 season. It also turned out to be the last hat trick of his NHL career: Neely retired at the end of 1995-96 after 13 seasons, 10 with the Bruins. His performance came on opening night of the new Fleet Center, now known as TD Garden.

Chris Kontos

Tampa Bay Lightning 7, Chicago Blackhawks 3

Oct. 7, 1992

Kontos gave fans of the expansion Lightning plenty to cheer about when he scored four goals in Tampa Bay's first NHL game, a 7-3 home win against the Chicago Blackhawks. Kontos had the only four-goal game in franchise history until Martin St. Louis scored four times against the San Jose Sharks on Jan. 18, 2014.

Jari Kurri

Los Angeles Kings 6, Winnipeg Jets 3

Oct. 4, 1991

Kurri made a big impression in his first game with the Kings by getting a hat trick. He scored three times in a reunion with his old teammate, Wayne Gretzky, who was traded to Los Angeles three seasons earlier.

Greg Adams

Vancouver Canucks 8, St. Louis Blues 2

Oct. 8, 1987

Adams, playing his first game after being acquired by Vancouver in a trade with the New Jersey Devils, made a big impression on his new teammates and fans by scoring four goals against the Blues at Pacific Coliseum. He ended the season with a career-high 36 goals.

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