No one will confuse the first-year Vegas Golden Knights with the 1976-77 Montreal Canadiens, whose 132 points (60-8 with 12 ties) are still a single-season NHL record. But through nine games, the Golden Knights actually are off to a faster start.
Vegas is 8-1-0 after a 7-0 victory against the Colorado Avalanche on Friday. The '76-77 Canadiens were 7-2-0 through nine games, with road losses to the Buffalo Sabres and Boston Bruins.
The Golden Knights have been helped by one rule change: There was no overtime in 1976-77. Three of Vegas' eight wins have come in OT, including back-to-back victories against the Buffalo Sabres (5-4) on Oct. 17 and the St. Louis Blues four nights later (3-2).
But they've also had the disadvantage of having to use three goaltenders, two of whom had never played a full NHL game. Marc-Andre Fleury was 3-1-0 before sustaining a concussion. Rookie Malcolm Subban, picked up on waivers from the Boston Bruins before the start of the season, stepped in and won the next two games before he was injured against the Blues. Oscar Dansk, who had never played in an NHL game, took over for Subban, got the win against St. Louis and helped Vegas defeat the Chicago Blackhawks before shutting out the Avalanche. Dansk is 3-0-0 with a 1.34 goals-against average and .959 save percentage. No other goaltender in the NHL's expansion era (since 1967) has won his first three games playing for a first-year team, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
The Golden Knights begin a six-game road trip against the New York Islanders on Monday after going 6-1-0 on their first homestand. No team since the 1917-18 Toronto Arenas (7-0-0) and Montreal Canadiens (6-1-0) had won six of its first seven home games in its first NHL season.
Video: COL@VGK: Lindberg's terrific effort leads to goal
Feast or famine for Tavares
It's been a week Islanders captain John Tavares won't forget: He joined Mike Bossy and Zigmund Palffy as the only players in team history to have two hat tricks in a span of three or fewer games when he scored three straight goals early in the third period of the Islanders' 6-2 win at the Nashville Predators on Saturday, four days after scoring three times in a 5-3 win against the Arizona Coyotes.
Tavares is third in the NHL with nine goals and tied for eighth with 13 points. But all of his production has come in four games, and the goals against Nashville were his first points in a road game this season. Tavares had two goals and an assist in a 6-3 win against the Buffalo Sabres on Oct. 7, then went two weeks without a point before scoring a goal and assisting on two others in a 5-3 win against the San Jose Sharks on Oct. 21.
He didn't have a point in the other seven (though he did get the deciding goal in a 4-3 shootout win against the New York Rangers on Oct. 19). The Islanders are 4-0-0 when Tavares hits the scoresheet, 2-4-1 when he doesn't.
Video: NYI@NSH: Tavares records second hatty in three games
Shootouts are nightmare for Senators, nirvana for Red Wings
We're a little more than 13 percent through the NHL season (166 of 1,271 games) and 12 (7.2 percent) have been decided in a shootout.
Unfortunately for the Ottawa Senators, they've been involved in five of the 12, and lost four of them.
The most recent came Friday, when the Senators blew an early 2-0 lead against the New Jersey Devils by allowing four straight goals, then scored twice in the final 1:15 of the third period to force overtime before losing the tiebreaker -- despite scoring first.
In contrast, the Detroit Red Wings won their second shootout in as many tries this season when they defeated the Florida Panthers 3-2 on Saturday. Gustav Nyquist's goal in the third round of the tiebreaker ended Detroit's six-game losing streak. It also gave the Red Wings their 12th consecutive shootout win, the longest streak since the NHL adopted the tiebreaker in 2005. Detroit won its last shootout in 2015-16 and went 9-0 last season. The record had belonged to the Dallas Stars, who won their first 11 shootouts in 2005-06.
Video: DET@FLA: Nyquist buries the shootout winner
Montreal still tough for Rangers
Whether it's the Forum or the building now known as Bell Centre, Montreal continues to be a nightmarish place to play for the New York Rangers.
The Canadiens are 207-65-1 with 40 ties against the Rangers at home during the regular season after a 5-4 win on Saturday, and they've outscored New York 1,204-720 in those games. The Canadiens are 13-2-0 in their past 15 regular-season home games against the Rangers, who haven't won consecutive games in
Montreal since Oct. 15 and Dec. 1, 2001.
Surprisingly, the Canadiens haven't had nearly that much success during the Stanley Cup Playoffs. They are 22-16 (with one tie, in 1933) against the Rangers at home in the postseason, including six losses in eight games during New York's playoff series victories in 1996, 2014 and 2017. Though the Canadiens have won the Stanley Cup 23 times to four since the Rangers entered the NHL in 1926, New York has won nine of its 16 playoff series against Montreal, including the past three. The Rangers have no more than five playoff series victories against any other team.
Video: Danault's four-point game leads Habs past Rangers