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Best moments of season's first quarter

From stellar opening night to games in Sweden, NHL.com staffers share favorite memories

NHL.com @NHLdotcom

The 2017-18 NHL season has had numerous memorable moments in its first quarter, which ended on Tuesday. Here, NHL.com writers and editors share their favorite moments from the first quarter of the season. 

 

Marleau makes a good first impression

After spending his first 19 seasons with the San Jose Sharks, Patrick Marleau 38, celebrated his Toronto Maple Leafs debut with a two-goal performance in a 7-2 season-opening victory at the Winnipeg Jets on Oct. 4. Sitting in the stands watching their son's special moment were his parents, Denis and Jeannette Marleau, who drove 10 hours from Aneroid, Saskatchewan, to attend the game. His first goal was assisted by Auston Matthews and Mitchell Marner, who were born in 1997, the same year Marleau broke into the NHL. "Were they even born yet when he scored his first NHL goal?" Denis Marleau asked. Actually, they were. Barely. When Marleau, then 18, scored his first NHL goal on Oct. 19, 1997, Marner was 167 days old; Matthews was 33 days old. Two decades later, they combined to make it a special night. "It was pretty darn close to what I'd imagined," Patrick Marleau said. "The way you want to see it go." -- Mike Zeisberger, NHL.com Staff Writer

 

McDavid's sublime goal

Center Connor McDavid is known to do mind-boggling things at mind-boggling speed and it happened on Oct. 4, in the season opener for the Edmonton Oilers. The reigning Hart Trophy winner poked the puck away from Calgary Flames forward Micheal Ferland in the corner below the Edmonton goal line and took it the length of the ice, outracing every Flames player to the edge of Calgary goalie Mike Smith's goal crease. When he arrived at top speed, McDavid lifted the puck quickly under the crossbar for a 2-0 Edmonton lead at 8:07 of the third period. There has not been a more complete goal, combining defense, offense, determination and skill, in the NHL's first quarter. It was the second goal of McDavid's natural hat trick in Edmonton's 3-0 victory. -- Tim Campbell, NHL.com Staff Writer

Video: CGY@EDM: McDavid dazzles for second goal of the night

 

Mahovlich, Kelly reunited in photo, bronze

It was a wonderful photograph taken on March 27, 1960, Toronto Maple Leafs superstar Frank Mahovlich in the Detroit Olympia dressing room with his arm around the shoulder of his teammate Red Kelly. The Big M had just scored the game winner in triple overtime of the Maple Leafs' 5-4 Game 3 victory against the Detroit Red Wings in the Stanley Cup Playoff semifinals, and the two men were beaming. I brought a copy of the black-and-white image to Air Canada Centre on Oct. 6, showing it to Mahovlich and Kelly as their statues were unveiled on the team's Legends Row. They immediately reminisced, then happily re-enacted the pose so I could take another shot 57 years later. Two Hall of Famers, two dear friends, teammates for four Stanley Cup wins in Toronto, Kelly already having won four with the Red Wings. Now they were reunited for a photo, standing in front of their statues, shoulder to shoulder both in life and in bronze. It was magical. -- Dave Stubbs, NHL.com Columnist

 

Golden Knights win first game 

Playing their first game in the NHL, the Vegas Golden Knights got 45 saves from Marc-Andre Fleury, and James Neal scored two goals in a 2-1 win against the Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center on Oct. 7. Each of Neal's goals were scored in the third period, including the game-winner with 2:44 remaining. The game took place six days after 58 people died in a mass shooting in Las Vegas. "It's a big thing, not just because it's the first game in the history of the team," Fleury said. "We all wanted it to be a good memory that way, but also for everything that's happened back home and try to have the town behind us, have them be proud of their team. I'm glad we got that first one in." -- Brian Compton, NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor 

Video: VGK@DAL: Neal scores twice in historic game for Vegas

 

New era dawns in Newark

I was in the stands for the home opener for the New Jersey Devils with my son and his two friends on Oct. 7. These were the new-look Devils with three rookies playing prominent roles: No. 1 pick Nico Hischier at center, surprise Jasper Bratt on the wing and prized college free-agent signing Will Butcher on defense. It didn't take long for them to make a positive impression in a 4-1 win against the Colorado Avalanche. Butcher had an assist on each of the first three goals, Bratt had a beautiful goal and had an assist. Hischier did not score but had six shots on goal in 15:44 of ice time. It was a good afternoon and it proved to be a sneak peek of what would come from the Devils throughout the first quarter of the season. -- Shawn P. Roarke, NHL.com Director of Editorial

 

Ovechkin opens season with consecutive hat tricks

After Alex Ovechkin scored 33 goals last season, his fewest in a full season since he scored 32 in 2010-11, there were some questions whether the Washington Capitals forward was still an elite goal scorer. The 32-year-old quickly put those questions to rest by becoming the first player in 100 years to open the season with consecutive hat tricks (Cy Denneny of the Ottawa Senators, Reg Noble of the Toronto Arenas and Joe Malone of the Montreal Canadiens each did it in 1917-18). In the Capitals season opener at the Senators on Oct. 5, Ovechkin scored three times in the third period and also had a shootout goal in a 5-4 victory. In the Capitals home opener against the Montreal Canadiens two days later, Ovechkin scored three goals in the first period and four total in a 6-1 victory. --Tom Gulitti, NHL.com Staff Writer

Video: WSH@OTT: Ovechkin records hat trick in season opener

 

Jagr meets the traveling Jagrs 

When Jaromir Jagr signed a one-year contract with Calgary Flames on Oct. 4, it not only meant the second-leading scorer in NHL history would be back for another season, it also meant the Traveling Jagrs would return as well. The group of Jagr superfans - most of them based in Calgary - are famous for going to NHL games dressed in the jerseys of all the teams Jagr has played for. During the Flames' home opener on Oct. 7, they were doing a TV interview when a certain someone barged in to give them a Flames Jagr jersey. It was a great way to start Jagr's time in Calgary. -- Bill Price, Editor-in-Chief, NHL.com

Video: Jagr surprises Traveling Jagrs with a signed jersey

 

Golden Knights win emotional home opener

The Vegas Golden Knights home opener on Oct. 10 was the first for a major-league team in Las Vegas, but also a memorial and rallying point for the city after a mass shooting on The Strip nine days earlier. The Arizona Coyotes stood behind the Golden Knights, who stood behind first responders. A moment of silence lasted 58 seconds to honor the number of people who died, their names projected onto the ice. Defenseman Deryk Engelland -- who had played in Las Vegas in the minors, lived there in the offseason for about 14 years and gotten to know first responders personally -- took the mic and addressed the crowd. "We are Vegas strong," he said. The emotion carried the Golden Knights to a 4-0 lead and 5-2 victory as T-Mobile Arena rocked. Sheri Jones, a critical care paramedic, said: "For the community as well as the NHL and the Vegas Golden Knights to come behind us, it was actually very fantastic." -- Nicholas J. Cotsonika, NHL.com Columnist

Video: Golden Knights make first home opener a special one

 

Jagr returns

Welcome back, Jaromir Jagr. For all his accomplishments and astonishing longevity, right wing Jaromir Jagr managed to break new ground when he took the ice with the Flames against the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center on Oct. 11. His Flames debut marked his first game playing for a Canadian team. It had been six months since Jagr last played a meaningful hockey game (with the Florida Panthers last season) and the time away was bound to show. "I didn't play for five, six months," he said afterward. "And I'm 45." Jagr was on a line with Kris Versteeg and center Sam Bennett and played 13:38. His new team defeated the Kings, 4-3 in overtime, and it was Jagr's 1,712th NHL game, fourth on the League's all-time list. It represented a fresh start for the ageless wonder who looked exhausted afterward, but looked good in Flames red. "My face looks red," Jagr said, smiling. -- Lisa Dillman, NHL.com Staff Writer 

 

Flyers' best player is stylin' and profilin'!

Most teams have player of the game awards handed out by the players after victories, and they've ranged from hard hats to Broadway hats to shovels and sweatshirts.

But the best one this season is the Flyers presentation of a sequined black robe that looks like it came from the collection of Hall of Fame wrestler Ric Flair.

The robe first was spotted in goaltender Michal Neuvirth's stall after a 5-1 win against the Florida Panthers on Oct. 17.

Tweet from @NHLAdamK: Flyers player of the game now gets a @RicFlairNatrBoy model robe. #WHOOO! pic.twitter.com/QgDjh3Y5NJ

It's since been worn by, among others, forwards Wayne Simmonds and Claude Giroux.

Tweet from @davegisaac: pic.twitter.com/60bxNWd9rw

Tweet from @NHLAdamK: Claude Gi-WOO!! pic.twitter.com/BF4wrW6eUH

Flair tweeted his approval.

Tweet from @RicFlairNatrBoy: ���� https://t.co/79CEiVu3fr

-- Adam Kimelman, NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor 

 

Duchene traded midgame

Matt Duchene started the game in the Avalanche's lineup. By the time it was over, he was on his way to Canada's capital city, the newest member of the Ottawa Senators. It was early in the first period at Barclays Center when Duchene left the ice. I immediately left the press box and went downstairs to lurk outside Colorado's dressing room. News of what could be the biggest trade this season was breaking so I was waiting to see if I could get Duchene's thoughts and capture them on video as my new assignment. More reporters joined me. We stopped Duchene when he was leaving. He said a car was waiting for him outside, so we rode up the freight elevator to the street with him, interviewing him the whole way. Duchene went to the car and I went back to the press box with a story to write, and one to tell. -- Dan Rosen, NHL.com Senior Writer

Video: Duchene reacts to trade as he leaves Barclays Center

 

Boyle scores first goal of season

Devils center Brian Boyle found it hard to hide his emotions after scoring his first goal of the season on Nov. 9, two months after being diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML). The goal, his first in his fifth game as a member of the Devils, was the 94th of his career and came in the first period of a 3-2 overtime loss against the Oilers at Prudential Center. The goal was vintage Boyle. He lifted a rebound over Cam Talbot after putting the puck on goal and driving the net. "Usually I can separate it but that wasn't the case; it was a wave of number of different things (going through my mind)," Boyle said. "My wife (Lauren) has been through the wringer. She's had to deal with a lot more than I'd say I have gone through. I try to separate it, but it's a little bit bigger than probably ever." -- Mike Morreale, NHL.com Staff Writer

 

The Swedes hit Sweden

It was immediately evident that Avalanche forward Gabriel Landeskog and Senators defensemen Fredrik Claesson were in heaven. The best friends and opponents were bringing their clubs back to their home city of Stockholm, playing tour guide and introducing teammates to a city they love. There was pride and excitement and a desire to show off the best Sweden and Stockholm have to offer. And it got even better when, in the first game of the 2017 SAP NHL Global Series on Nov. 10, Claesson scored a goal, his first point of the season, saying after the game that he did it for his grandmother, currently in the hospital. It was, as he put it, a storybook moment. -- Amalie Benjamin, NHL.com Staff Writer

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