2013 NHL Season: Biggest Early Headlines from Around the League

Mark JonesSenior Analyst IJanuary 22, 2013

ST. PAUL, MN - JANUARY 19:  Pierre-Marc Bouchard #96 of the Minnesota Wild celebrates a goal against the Colorado Avalanche during the third period of the season opener on January 19, 2013 at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota. The Wild defeated the Avalanche 4-2. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

The NHL is back and as unpredictable as ever, which is not much of a surprise in and of itself

26 intense games are in the books. Daniel Winnik leads the league in goals, Ottawa is atop the Eastern Conference and Josh Harding, multiple sclerosis and all, has the best save percentage.

Three days into Opening Week, it's already time to throw every preseason prediction out the window.

Behold the latest spread of headlines and storylines taking the league by storm, but don't assume they'll last long. Nothing in the National Hockey League seems to goes and that's just the way we like it.


Top Contenders Struggling

How many combined wins do the New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers, Vancouver Canucks and Los Angeles Kings have this season?

An elephant-sized goose egg.

Zero. Zilch. Nada.

Many of the most highly touted Stanley Cup contenders have stumbled out of the gates, including the Western Conference's two most recent champions (Los Angeles and Vancouver) and Vegas's preseason favorite, New York.

The four teams are a combined 0-6-1, with the Canucks' home shootout loss to Edmonton registering the lone point. The Kings and Flyers both lost at home in Saturday's season kickoff games, and the Rangers were defeated by Boston and Pittsburgh, two other top Cup contenders.

Injuries are also taking their toll early, as the Kings have lost defenseman Matt Greene for the season and the Red Wings have also placed blueliner Carlo Colaiacovo on IR


Reloaded Wild Off to Hot Start

Stunning 2012 free agent signings Ryan Suter and Zach Parise gave the Minnesota Wild confidence coming into this shortened season and they have delivered.

Led by Parise and Dany Heatley's three points, the Wild are 2-0-0 and among three other teams (Anaheim, St. Louis and Chicago) leading the Western Conference.

Goaltender Josh Harding, continuing his inspiring fight against multiple sclerosis, picked up a 24-save shutout in the Minnesota's 1-0 win over Dallas on Sunday.


Vladamir Tarasenko Tearing it Up

The Rookie of the Year race has a very early leader.

Vladamir Tarasenko, the 16th pick of the 2010 Draft, has started the season in unbelievable fashion. The 21-year-old Blues prodigy has three goals and two assists in St. Louis' first two games (a 6-0 win over Detroit and a 4-3 shootout victory in Nashville), including the beauty on Jimmy Howard seen above.

The Blues, coming off of a shocking second place finish in the West last year, are off to another fantastic start.


Mark Jones has been a Bleacher Report featured columnist since 2009, receiving almost a million views on his 450-plus articles. 

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