NHL players were forced to get off to a fast start this winter and they have done just that. The shortened 2013 season opened with a bang, as the first week of action featured an abundance of sensational plays and memorable goals.
In addition to the return of world class hockey and the atmosphere that comes along with such a long-awaited arrival, there were overtime winners, big hits, amazing saves and plenty more spine-tingling goals.
If you missed any of it, fear not.
Here, we'll recap the top plays and best goals of the NHL's first week.
Chicago Blackhawks fans love right winger Patrick Kane, and it's no secret why. When the talented American star is making plays and scoring goals like this one, it's hard for anyone not to appreciate him.
Here, Kane capitalizes on an advantageous breakaway, taking the pass from Patrick Sharp and sending it home to help lead the Blackhawks to a 3-2 win over the St. Louis Blues.
New York Islanders right wing Michael Grabner created some electricity for his team in the second period of its matchup with the Tampa Bay Lightning, sneaking behind the defense to put away a gorgeous goal.
The Islanders would go on to win 4-3, earning their first win of the new season and handing the Lightning their only loss so far this year.
Dallas Stars defender Philip Larsen will be on the lookout the next time he goes to clear the puck out of his zone.
In a matchup between Dallas and the Detroit Red Wings this week, Red Wings right wing Jordin Tootoo blasted Larsen, skating through him and sending him flying into the boards.
The Stars would go on to win 2-1, but Tootoo's hit woke the fans and his team up.
The No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 NHL draft, Nail Yakupov wasn't at all intimidated by the defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings in the league's first week back.
Instead, it was the other way around. The Edmonton Oilers star scored a clutch game-tying goal with just seconds left, sending the game into overtime where Sam Gagner would win it for the Oilers.
Forget about the goal, Yakupov's celebration alone is worthy of a top play.
Marian Gaborik was on fire for the New York Rangers this week, netting a hat trick in their dramatic 4-3 overtime win over the Boston Bruins. The game-winning goal would also be Gaborik's third of the game.
This goal had it all—drama, skill and entertainment.
Click here to check out Gaborik's other two goals against Boston.
Only two NHL teams managed to survive the first week of the season without suffering a single loss. The Chicago Blackhawks and San Jose Sharks went a combined 11-0 in Week 1, behind the strength of their superstars.
San Jose's Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton have been stellar to begin the year, while Chicago's Marian Hossa has been equally impressive.
*Regular-season leaderboards updated through Sunday, Jan. 27.
Top 5 NHL Points Leaders
|1.||Patrick Marleau||13||San Jose Sharks|
|1.||Joe Thornton||13||San Jose Sharks|
|3.||Martin St. Louis||11||Tampa Bay Lightning|
|4.||Steven Stamkos||10||Tampa Bay Lightning|
|4.||Joe Pavelski||10||San Jose Sharks|
Top 5 NHL Goal Leaders
|1.||Patrick Marleau||9||San Jose Sharks|
|2.||Zach Parise||5||Minnesota Wild|
|2.||Marian Hossa||5||Chicago Blackhawks|
|2.||Marian Gaborik||5||New York Rangers|
|2.||Daniel Winnik||5||Anaheim Ducks|
Top 5 NHL Assist Leaders
|1.||Joe Thornton||10||San Jose Sharks|
|2.||Martin St. Louis||8||Tampa Bay Lightning|
|2.||Joe Pavelski||8||San Jose Sharks|
|2.||Kevin Shattenkirk||8||St. Louis Blues|
|5.||Steven Stamkos||7||Tampa Bay Lightning|
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