15 Best Plays from the First Week of the 2013 NHL Season (Video)

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15 Best Plays from the First Week of the 2013 NHL Season (Video)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The first week of the 2013 NHL season was full of many jaw-dropping highlights, including fantastic goals, big hits, great saves and slick passes.

After watching the incredible amount of quality hockey seen over the last eight days, it's clear that this will be one of the most exciting seasons of all time.

Let's look at the best plays from the NHL's opening week.

 

Best Goals

Damien Brunner

Detroit Red Wings rookie Damien Brunner takes the award for best shootout goal of the season thus far with a sweet "Datsyukian" dangle that beats Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky for the shootout victory.

 

Vladimir Tarasenko

Vladimir Tarasenko leads the race for the Calder Trophy after the first week, and it didn't take long for him to show St. Louis Blues fans why he was a top-rated prospect in the KHL.

The 21-year-old Russian makes a sweet move past the Red Wings defense, gets the puck back on his forehand and finishes for a great goal.

Expect a lot more highlight-reel goals from Tarasenko over the next decade.

 

Marian Gaborik

The New York Rangers badly needed to beat the Boston Bruins on Wednesday after starting the season 0-2, and Marian Gaborik delivered with a hat trick, including this amazing second effort on a breakaway against star goaltender Tuukka Rask.

After not scoring a point in his first two games of the year, Gaborik has five goals and three assists in his last three games.

 

Jordan Eberle

Edmonton Oilers star winger Jordan Eberle has played well to start the season, and he scored a perfectly placed backhand goal from a horrible angle to give his team a 2-0 lead over the Vancouver Canucks in the second game of the year. The Oilers would win in a shootout.

Eberle is one of the few players in the NHL with the ability to score goals like this, and the fact that he scored on an elite goaltender such as Roberto Luongo makes it even more impressive.

 

Cam Atkinson

Cam Atkinson doesn't get a lot of national praise because he plays for the Columbus Blue Jackets, but hockey fans should pay attention to this young player. He's going to be a star for many years in Columbus.

 

Michael Grabner

Michael Grabner underperformed and was inconsistent last season, but judging by his great start to 2013, he has come into this season highly motivated and ready to finally reach his potential.

This goal was finished with a great dangle from Grabner, but let's also praise the great pass from Islanders defenseman Mark Streit. This is the kind of playmaking that the Islanders need from their blue line this season.

Grabner's performance over the first week of the season was one of the many positives for the Islanders, who won't be an easy team to beat this season.

 

Passes

Patrick Kane

Patrick Kane's exceptional performances over the first week of the season are a major reason why the Chicago Blackhawks are off to their best start in team history.

This great pass from Kane to Dave Bolland was a perfect example of his passing skills, which don't get enough praise because he scores so many nice goals.

 

Daniel Sedin

Vancouver Canucks forward Zack Kassian has greatly benefited from playing on the team's top line with elite playmakers Henrik and Daniel Sedin.

In the second game of the season, Daniel made a brilliant spin-pass to set up Kassian with a great scoring chance, of which he took full advantage.

 

Hits

Jordin Tootoo

Jordin Tootoo was brought to the Detroit Red Wings for his toughness and penalty-killing ability, and it didn't take him long to show the hometown fans the physicality that he brings to the ice each game.

 

Brooks Orpik

Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik is one of the biggest hitters in the NHL, and he delivers a huge hit on New York Rangers rookie forward Chris Kreider in the video below.

 

Brad Stuart

The San Jose Sharks traded for Brad Stuart after last season to give their blue line some more toughness and championship experience.

His hit on Colorado Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog fired up both teams on Saturday, and it was the biggest hit of the NHL's opening week. Stuart was not suspended for the hit, even though he made contact with Landeskog's head.

 

Saves

Jimmy Howard

The Detroit Red Wings need Jimmy Howard to make a lot of great saves this season with the team's blue line hurt by a lot of injuries. With this save, Howard robs Reilly Smith and prevents the Dallas Stars from widening their lead.

 

Michal Neuvirth

The Capitals' goaltending hasn't been great thus far, but backup Michal Neuvirth makes a spectacular glove save here to keep the New Jersey Devils from taking a 2-0 lead in the second period.

 

Henrik Lundqvist

This was probably a goal, but video review was unable to show where the puck was in Henrik Lundqvist's glove. Even if it was a goal, credit the New York Rangers goaltender for making an athletic move to get in position to rob David Krejci of his first goal of the season.

 

Celebration of the Week: Nail Yakupov

Edmonton Oilers rookie Nail Yakupov has received a lot of criticism from fans and people in the media (including CBC's Don Cherry) for his celebration after scoring a late third period goal against the defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings.

It was very similar to former Calgary Flames star Theo Fleury's memorable celebration in the 1991 NHL playoffs.

I don't think Yakupov was selfish here, and when young players score an important goal, they should be allowed to celebrate.

Was it disrespectful toward the Kings to do a celebration like that? Maybe a little, but since Yakupov is a rookie, he should get a pass.

 

Nicholas Goss is an NHL Columnist at Bleacher Report, follow him on Twitter.

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