The 31 Best NHL Games from the Month of October
The first month of the NHL season brought fans plenty of exciting storylines.
The Winnipeg Jets made their return to Manitoba, while the Dallas Stars took everyone by surprise by shooting to the top of the Western Conference.
Meanwhile, the Washington Capitals won their first seven games, and the Columbus Blue Jackets took several games just to get a win.
In Boston, the Bruins raised a Stanley Cup banner for the first time in almost 40 years, but have struggled to recapture the form that got them that championship.
These stories helped bring us several exciting games in October, and since there are 31 days in the first month of hockey season, here are the 31 best games from last month.
31. Oct. 20: Buffalo Sabres 3, Florida Panthers 0
In South Florida, Thomas Vanek scored twice, including a power-play goal, as the Buffalo Sabres shut out the Florida Panthers by a score of 3-0.
Jason Pominville had a three-point night with one goal and two assists.
In goal, Ryan Miller made 22 saves for the shutout. Jose Theodore was in net for the Panthers and had 35 saves on 38 shots.
30. Oct. 15: Toronto Maple Leafs 3, Calgary Flames 2
Phil Kessel scored twice for the Maple Leafs and Joffrey Lupul also added a goal as the Leafs defeated the Calgary Flames by a score of 3-2.
Kessel added an assist for a three-point night, while Tyler Bozak posted two helpers.
Curtis Glencross and Scott Hannan scored for Calgary. The Flames dropped a 2-0 first-period lead in the loss.
James Reimer made 30 saves for Toronto, while Mikka Kiprusoff stopped 22 out of 25 shots.
29. Oct. 8: Florida Panthers 2, New York Islanders 0
Panthers head coach Kevin Dineen got his first win as an NHL bench boss thanks to Florida shutting out the New York Islanders on Long Island.
Jason Garrison scored a power-play goal for Florida, and Stephen Weiss scored the other goal. New addition Brian Campbell assisted on both goals.
Jose Theodore made 27 saves to secure the shutout, while Al Montoya made 27 saves on 29 shots for the Islanders.
28. Oct. 17: Anaheim Ducks 3, San Jose Sharks 2
Anaheim got their fourth straight win and handed San Jose their third straight loss with a 3-2 win two weeks before Halloween.
Teemu Selanne scored two goals, including a power-play tally, and 2011 NHL MVP Corey Perry contributed the second tally. Brent Burns (power-play goal) and Marc-Edouard Vlasic scored for the Sharks.
Dan Ellis made 41 saves for the Ducks, while Antti Niemi took the loss with 19 saves on 22 shots.
27. Oct. 15: Los Angeles Kings 3, Philadelphia Flyers 2 (OT)
The Los Angeles Kings made a trip to Philadelphia, where former Flyers captain Mike Richards was cheered prior to the game and during a tribute video shown during a stoppage in play.
Much to the disappointment of Flyers fans, Richards helped the Kings leave his former hometown with a 3-2 overtime victory.
Justin Williams scored twice for Los Angeles, including once on the power play. Jack Johnson added a power-play goal of his own and scored the game-winning goal in overtime.
Daniel Briere (power-play goal) and Matt Carle scored for the Flyers. Briere assisted on Carle's goal for a two-point night.
Jonathan Quick made 32 saves for the Kings, and Ilya Bryzgalov took the loss with 23 saves.
26. Oct. 6: Philadelphia Flyers 2, Boston Bruins 1
The Philadelphia Flyers and Boston Bruins matched up on opening night after battling in the playoffs the last two seasons.
This time, the Flyers spoiled the Bruins' Stanley Cup celebration and opened the season with a 2-1 victory.
Claude Giroux had a power-play goal for the Flyers, and Jakub Voracek scored his first goal of the season just 47 seconds later. Six different players tallied a point for Philadelphia in their third consecutive opening-night win.
Jaromir Jagr, signed by the Flyers in the offseason, set a career milestone with his 1,600th NHL point, an assist on Giroux's goal.
Brad Marchand scored the lone goal for Boston.
25. Oct. 15: Vancouver Canucks 4, Edmonton Oilers 3
Although Edmonton rookie Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored his first career hat trick, it wasn't enough to push the Oilers to victory over the Vancouver Canucks. The 2011 Western Conference champions escaped the game with a 4-3 win.
Sami Salo scored two goals for the Canucks, including a power-play tally, and finished the night with three points. Henrik Sedin also had three points with two goals and an assist, and Chris Higgins and Daniel Sedin each had two helpers.
Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle each had two assists for the Oilers.
Roberto Luongo stopped 27 shots, while Devan Dubnyk had 22 saves.
24. Oct. 29: Toronto Maple Leafs 4, Pittsburgh Penguins 3
Mikhail Grabovski and Tim Connolly each had power-play goals as the Maple Leafs defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins in a back-and-forth, fast-paced game.
Clarke MacArthur and Phil Kessel also scored for Toronto, and five players had two-point nights for the Leafs.
Matt Cooke scored for Pittsburgh, and Evgeni Malkin and Chris Kunitz added power-play goals. Kris Letang had two assists, while Malkin also added a helper. However, the offense wasn't enough to beat a surging Maple Leafs team.
Jonas Gustavsson made 34 saves on 37 shots to win consecutive games for the first time since 2010. Brent Johnson took the loss for Pittsburgh with 25 saves on 29 shots.
23. Oct. 10: Colorado Avalanche 1, Boston Bruins 0
Milan Hejduk gave the Avs all the offense they would need in a 1-0 victory over the Bruins. Jan Hejda and Matt Duchene assisted on the goal.
Semyon Varlamov made 30 saves for his fifth career shutout, and Tuukka Rask made 35 saves in defeat.
Colorado has not lost in Boston since 1998.
22. Oct. 18: New York Rangers 4, Vancouver Canucks 0
After battling through two scoreless periods, the New York Rangers exploded for four goals in the third period and left Vancouver with a 4-0 win over the Canucks.
Mike Rupp, Ryan McDonagh and Brian Boyle all scored their first goals of the season, and Marian Gaborik added a goal of his own. McDonagh also added an assist and a plus-three rating, while Brandon Prust had two assists.
Henrik Lundqvist had 40 saves to help the Rangers win in Vancouver for the first time since 1997. Roberto Luongo made 15 saves on just 19 shots to take the loss.
This was also a somewhat emotional game for the Canucks. Before the matchup, they paid tribute to former Vancouver forward Rick Rypien, who passed away this past summer.
21. Oct. 21: Dallas Stars 3, Anaheim Ducks 1
Loui Eriksson got the Stars on the board 13 seconds into the game, and Dallas never looked back on their way to a 3-1 win over the Ducks.
Eriksson finished the night with two goals and an assist, while Jamie Benn had two assists. Mike Ribeiro also scored for Dallas.
Corey Perry scored the Ducks' lone goal on assists from Cam Fowler and Lubomir Visnovsky.
Kari Lehtonen made 35 saves on 36 shots to earn his sixth straight win and help the Stars to their fifth straight victory. Jonas Hiller took the loss with 16 saves on 19 shots.
20. Oct. 13: Chicago Blackhawks 4, Winnipeg Jets 3
Former Chicago Blackhawks players Andrew Ladd and Dustin Byfuglien returned to Chicago for the first time since the 2010 Stanley Cup win. They were able to help the Jets start with a 2-0 lead, but the Blackhawks came up with a 4-3 victory.
Jim Slater scored twice in the first period, and Kyle Wellwood added a third goal. Ron Hainsey had two assists.
Patrick Kane led the Hawks with three points, and Marian Hossa had a two-point night. Andrew Brunette and Dave Bolland added the other goals for Chicago.
Ray Emery made 27 saves for the Hawks, and Ondrej Pavelec took the loss for Winnipeg with 28 saves.
19. Oct. 17: Winnipeg Jets 2, Pittsburgh Penguins 1
Kyle Wellwood scored eight seconds into the game as Winnipeg won their first home game by a score of 2-1 over the Penguins.
Tanner Glass added a goal at 18:27 of the first to give the Jets all the offense they needed, and Alexander Burmistrov assisted on both goals.
Zbynek Michalek scored a second-period goal for the Penguins, but the Pens could not find the equalizer.
Marc-Andre Fleury made 32 saves in the loss, and Ondrej Pavelec took the win with 28 saves.
Wellwood tied a franchise record for the fastest goal to start a game. In 2003, when the team was still in Atlanta, Ron Petrovicky scored eight seconds into a game, also against Pittsburgh.
18. Oct. 14: Anaheim Ducks 1, San Jose Sharks 0
Maxime Macenauer scored the only goal the Ducks would need in a 1-0 shutout over the San Jose Sharks. George Parros and Brandon McMillan had the assists.
Jonas Hiller got his fourth straight win over the Sharks with 31 saves, while Thomas Greiss made 22 saves for the Sharks. This win came in Anaheim's home opener.
17. Oct. 25: Columbus Blue Jackets 4, Detroit Red Wings 1
The Columbus Blue Jackets got their first win of the season with a 4-1 victory over the Detroit Red Wings.
R.J. Umberger scored 21 seconds into the matchup, and Ryan Johansen got his first professional goal on the power play at 8:56 of the first. John Moore and Derek MacKenzie (empty-netter) also added goals for the Blue Jackets.
Grant Clitsome finished the game with three assists, and Umberger and Johansen each added an assist.
Darren Helm scored Detroit's only goal.
Ty Conklin made 28 saves in the loss, while Steve Mason heped the Jackets to victory with 30 saves.
16. Oct. 27: Nashville Predators 5, Tampa Bay Lightning 3
Mike Fisher scored two goals in his second game back after an injury and added an assist as the Nashville Predators won their first home game of the season over the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Sergei Kostitsyn, Patric Hornqvist and Nick Spaling also scored for the Predators. Spaling and Kostistyn each had two-point nights, as did rookie Craig Smith, who posted two assists.
Steven Stamkos scored twice for the Bolts, and Teddy Purcell added a power-play goal in his 300th career game. Tampa lost their third straight game to Nashville.
Pekka Rinne picked up his 99th career win with 29 saves on 32 shots. Mathieu Garon made 12 saves before being replaced by Dwayne Roloson, who stopped all 10 shots he faced.
15. Oct. 10: New Jersey Devils 4, Carolina Hurricanes 2
Zach Parise scored two goals, including one empty-netter, for the first time since March 2010. His first of the game also marked his first tally since Oct. 23, 2010, and it was enough to help the New Jersey Devils beat the Carolina Hurricanes by a 4-2 score.
Mark Fayne and Ilya Kovalchuk also scored for the Devils. Kovalchuk led the team with three points, while Nick Palmieri had two assists.
Alexei Ponikarovsky and Chad Larose scored for Carolina, and Bryan Allen had two helpers.
In goal, Johan Hedberg earned the win with 24 saves, while Cam Ward stopped 22 saves on 25 shots.
The win marked Peter DeBoer's first victory as New Jersey's head coach.
14. Oct. 8: Minnesota Wild 4, Columbus Blue Jackets 2
Matt Cullen set a franchise record for the fastest first goal of the season, scoring just 1:10 into the first period, as the Minnesota Wild picked up a season-opening win over the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Marco Scandella and Dany Heatley added power-play goals, and Devin Setoguchi also scored in his Wild debut. Pierre Marc-Bouchard assisted on two goals in the win.
Derek Dorsett and Maksim Nayorov scored for the Jackets, who would end up struggling in October.
Steve Mason made 19 saves on 23 shots, and Curtis Sanford also got some playing time for Columbus, saving the three shots he faced. Niklas Backstrom made 29 saves on 31 shots for Minnesota.
The win gave Minnesota coach Mike Yeo his first victory as an NHL head coach.
13. Oct. 8: Toronto Maple Leafs 6, Ottawa Senators 5
Phil Kessel had his first hat trick as a member of the Maple Leafs, and Joffrey Lupul and Mikhail Grabovski had power-play goals. Colton Orr also scored for Toronto as they defeated the Ottawa Senators by a score of 6-5.
Kessel added an assist to finish the night with four points, while Lupul had two helpers.
Ottawa attempted a third-period comeback with five goals. Daniel Alfredsson had one short-handed goal and one power-play goal, and Jason Spezza also scored on the man advantage. Colin Greening and Stephane DeCosta hit the back of the net as well, but the Senators fell short.
Karlsson led the Sens with three assists, while Spezza added a helper for a two-point night.
Craig Anderson had 20 saves on 24 shots and was replaced by Alex Auld, who stopped nine of the 11 shots he faced. James Reimer got the win for Toronto with 27 saves on 32 shots.
12. Oct. 22: Ottawa Senators 4, Columbus Blue Jackets 3
The Senators scored two goals 31 seconds apart in the third period to come back and defeat the Blue Jackets, who were hoping to get their first win of the season.
Filip Kuba had a power-play goal for the Senators, and Zack Smith scored in the second period. But in the third, Jason Spezza and Milan Michalek got two goals to erase a 3-2 Columbus lead and win the game.
Michalek had an assist, while Spezza had two helpers for a three-point night. Sergei Gonchar also had two assists.
For Columbus, Aaron Johnson and Kris Russell scored in the first two periods. Rick Nash added a third-period power-play goal in his 600th career game and Vinny Prospal had two assists. However, none of it was enough to help Columbus hold on for a win.
Craig Anderson made 18 saves in the comeback, while Steve Mason took the loss with 23 saves on 27 shots.
The victory marked the first time this year Ottawa won consecutive games.
11. Oct. 25: Pittsburgh Penguins 3, New York Islanders 0
Pascal Dupuis and former Islander Richard Park scored for the Penguins, and Jordan Staal added an empty-net goal as the Penguins shut out the New York Islanders by a score of 3-0.
Dupuis added an assist in the win, while Marc-Andre Fleury made 33 saves for his 20th NHL shutout. Evgeni Nabokov took the loss for the Isles, making 26 saves on 28 shots.
The game also marked Dan Bylsma's 200th as an NHL coach. His first NHL game as a head coach also was against the Islanders in February 2009.
10. Oct. 22: Pittsburgh Penguins 4, New Jersey Devils 1
Jordan Staal tallied his 100th career goal and added an additional marker as the Penguins defeated the New Jersey Devils 4-1.
Chris Kunitz (power-play goal) and James Neal also scored for Pittsburgh, and Richard Park had two assists.
Patrik Elias scored a short-handed goal for the Devils in the third period, but New Jersey could not find anymore offense. Ilya Kovalchuk and Anton Volchenkov picked up the assists.
Marc-Andre Fleury had 23 saves on 24 shots, while former Penguins goalie Johan Hedberg took the loss with 25 saves.
Steve Sullivan, who came to Pittsburgh from the Nashville Predators in the summer, played in his 900th career NHL game.
9. Oct. 22: Los Angeles Kings 1, Dallas Stars 0
Jack Johnson gave the Los Angeles Kings the only goal they would need as they defeated the Dallas Stars by a score of 1-0.
Rob Scuderi and Mike Richards assisted on the goal.
Andrew Raycroft made 23 saves in defeat, while Jon Quick captured his third straight shutout with 28 saves. Quick also set a franchise record for the longest shutout streak by a goalie, going 188:10 over his last few games without allowing a goal.
8. Oct. 29: Nashville Predators 3, Anaheim Ducks 0
Patric Hornqvist, Martin Erat and Shea Weber scored for the Predators, and Ryan Suter had two assists as the Predators defeated the Ducks 3-0.
Ryan Suter had two assists for Nashville. In goal, Jonas Hiller took the loss with 26 saves on 29 shots.
Pekka Rinne made 20 saves for his 100th career win and the 22nd shutout of his career, which is also a Nashville franchise record.
7. Oct. 29: Ottawa Senators 5, New York Rangers 4 (Shootout)
Despite two goals from Brad Richards and tallies from Ryan Callahan and Marian Gaborik, the Rangers dropped a 4-1 lead and lost 5-4 to the Senators.
Gaborik and Richards each had a three-point game, while Wojtek Wolski added two assists for New York.
Milan Michalek scored two goals for Ottawa, and Chris Neil and Jason Spezza (power-play goal) also picked up tallies. Michalek also scored in the shootout to finish the comeback.
The Rangers could not convert on any of their shootout attempts.
Craig Anderson made 24 saves on 28 shots, while Henrik Lundqvist took the loss with 36 saves.
The win put the Senators over .500 for the first time this season.
6. Oct. 13: Colorado Avalanche 7, Ottawa Senators 1
The Avalanche exploded for seven goals, including four on special teams and two tallies from Joakim Lindstrom, as they defeated the Senators 7-1.
Milan Hedjuk, Gabriel Landeskog, Matt Duchene, Daniel Winnik and David Jones also scored for Colorado. Ryan O'Reilly had three assists, and Landeskog, Duchene, Hejduk and Ryan Wilson had two-point games.
Milan Michalek scored the lone goal for Ottawa with assists from Erik Karlsson and Sergei Gonchar.
Jean-Sebastien Giguere made 15 saves in his first start for Colorado, and Craig Anderson took a tough loss with 32 saves on 39 shots.
5. Oct. 27: Edmonton Oilers 2, Washington Capitals 1
Although Karl Alzner gave the Washington Capitals a 1-0 lead in the first period, Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle scored power-play goals to come back and give the Oilers a 2-1 win. It was the Capitals' first loss of the season.
Eberle added an assist, while Corey Potter assisted on both Oilers goals.
Nikolai Khabibulin made 34 saves to continue his solid play, and Tomas Vokoun took the loss with 17 saves.
4. Oct. 9: Montreal Canadiens 5, Winnipeg Jets 1
The Montreal Canadiens spoiled the Winnipeg Jets' home opener with a 5-1 win.
Tomas Plekanec led the Habs with three points (one goal, two assists), and Travis Moen and Yannick Weber each had a goal and an assist. Max Pacioretty and Michael Cammalleri also scored for Montreal.
Nik Antropov had Winnipeg's only goal and got assists from Mark Stuart and Alexander Burmistrov.
Carey Price took the win with 30 saves on 31 shots, and Ondrej Pavelec made 17 saves in defeat.
Despite the loss, the Jets fans still gave their new team a standing ovation at the end of the game and cheered throughout.
3. Oct. 22: Washington Capitals 7, Detroit Red Wings 1
In a battle of two undefeated teams, Mike Green and Mathieu Perreault scored two goals for the Capitals, while Marcus Johansson, Nicklas Backstrom and Joel Ward also added goals. The Capitals gave the Red Wings their first loss of the season by a score of 7-1.
Green had two assists for four points, and Matt Hendricks and Alexander Ovechkin each had two assists. Backstrom also added an assist for a two-point night. Dennis Wideman got a helper to mark the seventh straight game in which he had a point.
Niklas Kronwall scored the Red Wings' lone goal on a power play in the second period.
Tomas Vokoun got his first win over the Wings since 2007 with 32 saves, and Ty Conklin took the loss with just 16 saves on 21 shots.
2. Oct. 10: Washington Capitals 6, Tampa Bay Lightning 5 (Shootout)
The Capitals and the Tampa Bay Lightning played a back-and-forth game in which no lead lasted longer than 8:15. Jason Chimera had two goals in regulation, and Marcus Johansson, Dennis Wideman and Troy Brouwer also scored as the Caps defeated the Bolts 6-5 in a shootout.
In regulation, five different Tampa Bay players (Teddy Purcell, Bruno Gervais, Dominic Moore, Nate Thompson and Brett Clark) scored. But in the shootout, the Bolts could not find the back of the net.
Matt Hendricks and Alexander Semin scored in the shootout to give the Caps the win.
Tomas Vokoun, making his first start in Washington, stopped 23 saves on 28 shots in regulation and overtime.
Dwayne Roloson took the loss with 38 saves on 43 shots.
1. Oct. 27: Winnipeg Jets 9, Philadelphia Flyers 8
In an offensive explosion, 15 players from both teams scored goals as the Jets defeated the Philadelpha Flyers by a score of 9-8.
For the Jets, four players had two-point games. Alexander Burmistrov and Evander Kane each had a goal and an assist, while Tanner Glass and Nik Antropov had a goal and two assists. Bryan Little and Tobias Enstrom each had two helpers, while Blake Wheeler had three assists.
Also scoring for Winnipeg were Randy Jones, Jim Slater, Kyle Wellwood, Mark Stuart and Andrew Ladd.
For the Flyers, Daniel Briere and James van Riemsdyk had two goals. Briere had two assists for a four-point night, while Kimmo Timonen had four assists. Van Riemsdyk added an assist to finish with three points.
Scott Hartnell had a goal and an assist for a two-point night.
Claude Giroux, Max Talbot and Matt Read also scored for Philadelphia.
Both teams changed goalies, as Ondrej Pavelec and Chris Mason combined for 40 saves on 48 shots for the Jets. Ilya Bryzgalov and Sergei Bobrovsky made 16 saves on 25 shots in the win.
The wild victory gave the Jets their first road win of the season.