A Look At The NHL Season So Far

Monday’s contest between the Lightning and Red Wings marked the 80th game of the season. A quick reflection on the first 13 days of the 2017-18 campaign:

* The Golden Knights (4-1-0) became the first club in the 100-year history of the League to begin its inaugural season with three straight wins – with the third victory coming in an emotional first-ever NHL regular-season game at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

* James Neal (6-0—6 in 5 GP) scored the game-winning goal in each of Vegas’ opening three contests to become just the second player from any NHL team in the expansion era (since 1967-68) to register the winning goal in each of his club’s first three games in any regular-season (also Brian Propp: 1982-83 w/ PHI).

Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin (9-1—10 in 6 GP) scored seven goals in his first two games of the season (3-0—3 at OTT on Oct. 5 and 4-0—4 vs. MTL on Oct. 7) to become the fourth player in NHL history – and first since the NHL’s inaugural campaign – to score a hat trick in each of his team’s first two games of a season.

* Reigning Calder Trophy winner Auston Matthews of the Maple Leafs – who recorded 40-29—69 in 82 games during his rookie season of 2016-17 – has picked up where he left off by earning at least a point in all five outings this season (5-3—8), including a pair of overtime goals.

* After winning the Hobey Baker Award as the NCAA’s top player, Devils defenseman Will Butcher began his NHL career by becoming just the fifth defenseman in the expansion era (since 1967-68) to record three or more points in his League debut (0-3—3 vs. COL on Oct. 7). Butcher, who has collected 0-8—8 this season, is the first rookie defenseman in NHL history to record at least eight assists in his first five career games.