Now that the 16-day, 109-game preseason schedule has begun, it's time to take a closer look at the players, teams and stories that are making headlines in the weeks leading up to the start of the regular season on Oct. 4.
Here are five things we learned from the preseason games Wednesday:
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Patrick earns first point with Flyers
Center Nolan Patrick is healthy and finding his groove as he prepares for his first season in the NHL. The No. 2 pick in the 2017 NHL Draft assisted on Shayne Gostisbehere's overtime goal to give the Philadelphia Flyers a 3-2 win against the New York Islanders at PPL Center in Allentown, Pennsylvania. It was Patrick's first point of the preseason in his second game since March 17. He was limited to 33 games for Brandon of the Western Hockey League last season because of a sports hernia.
Patrick said he's pain-free and working on his timing after recovering from abdominal surgery on June 13; it was his second such operation in less than 12 months.
"I think I've been getting better," Patrick said. "I think in that rookie game [last Wednesday, also against the Islanders] I played pretty well in that and then obviously the speed got faster [Sunday]. I'm getting more comfortable each game and I'm just trying to pick up my game each time."
Patrick centered the second line with prospects Oskar Lindblom and Nicolas Aube-Kubel in the first and second periods of the split-squad game before coach Dave Hakstol put Patrick and Lindblom with veteran Colin McDonald.
"Pretty quiet in the first couple periods, but I thought he and his line had an impact in the third and generated a little bit of momentum," Hakstol said. "And then he made a [heck] of a play on the game-winning goal. So that's the type of impact you want to see out of a player of his caliber."
Chytil makes good first impression with Rangers
Rookie center Filip Chytil, the No. 21 pick in the 2017 draft, got the game-winner when he scored with four seconds remaining in overtime to give the Rangers a 4-3 win against the New Jersey Devils at Madison Square Garden.
"It was an amazing feeling to score a goal in overtime," Chytil said. "My first goal, the winning goal. It was a great pass from Mats Zuccarello. I shot and it was a goal. It was an amazing feeling. I'm glad that we won."
With the Rangers on a power play, Chytil took a cross-ice pass from Zuccarello at the bottom of the right circle and shot it past Devils goalie Mackenzie Blackwood for the game-winner. The 18-year-old was plus-2 with three shots on goal and won five of nine faceoffs in 18:52 of ice time.
The Rangers have openings at center, and coach Alain Vigneault said Chytil and Lias Andersson, the No. 7 pick in 2017, each has a chance to make the team.
"In the three practices that we have seen him and tonight, it was just a continuation of what we saw during practice," Vigneault said of Chytil. "He's a very smooth and good skater. Good set of hands, he was able to go into traffic. He does it in practice and his teammates aren't going to abuse him in practice, so it's interesting to see what he could do in the game. He got into traffic and made the plays that he had to make."
Video: NJD@NYR: Chytil fires home game-winning goal in OT
Sergachev shines for Lightning
Defenseman Mikhail Sergachev also made an excellent first impression in his bid to make the Tampa Bay Lightning. He had a goal, was plus-3 and led the Lightning in ice time (22:16) during a 4-3 win against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena.
Sergachev, the No. 9 pick in the 2016 draft, was acquired from the Montreal Canadiens on June 15 in the trade that sent forward Jonathan Drouin to Montreal.
"I thought he did extremely well," coach Jon Cooper told the Lightning website.
Guentzel's big night powers Penguins
Forward Jake Guentzel continued the momentum he generated during the Stanley Cup Playoffs with a goal and four assists in the Pittsburgh Penguins' 6-5 overtime win against the Detroit Red Wings at PPG Paints Arena.
Guentzel has five preseason points, second in the NHL through Wednesday behind Vancouver Canucks forward Brock Boeser (4-2-6 in three games). His League-leading 13 playoff goals helped the Penguins win the Stanley Cup for the second consecutive season.
"I felt confident," Guentzel told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "You get comfortable out there. You try to do the things you worked on in the summer and try to bring it into here and do your thing."
Jokinen powers up with Oilers
Jussi Jokinen had a goal and two assists during his Edmonton Oilers debut, a 4-1 win against the Winnipeg Jets at Bell MTS Place.
Jokinen signed a one-year contract reportedly worth $1.1 million with the Oilers on July 7 after he was bought out by the Florida Panthers on July 1. He scored on the power play and saw time killing penalties.
"I think this team is really deep with power-play players," Jokinen said. "It's a hard competition for who will get that power-play time, obviously… I've played power play my whole career, so obviously I would like to play on the power play for the Oilers too."
Video: EDM@WPG: Jokinen tallies PPG off his skate
Price gets call for Canadiens
Goalie Carey Price is expected to start for the Canadiens against the Devils at Bell Centre in one of six games Thursday.
Fans can catch the game, along with three others, on NHL.TV.
Here is the full schedule for Thursday (all times ET):
Devils at Canadiens, 7 p.m. (NHL.TV, TSN2, RDS)
Flyers at Bruins, 7 p.m. (NHL.TV, NESN)
Jets at Wild, 8 p.m. (NHL.TV, FS-N, TSN3)
Red Wings at Blackhawks, 8:30 p.m. (NHL.TV, NHLN [joined in progress], WGN)
Stars at Avalanche, 9 p.m.
Golden Knights at Sharks, 10:30 p.m.