NHL 2019-2020 Season

Lindsey Black, Staff Writer

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Even though the weather wouldn’t suggest it, the fall season is here, marking the beginning of a new year for winter sports. One such sport, hockey, started its season on October 2, with eight teams taking the ice for the first time of the 1,271 game regular season. The 31 teams in the league will each play 82 games. The season will then come to a close on April 4 2020. 

The 2019 Stanley Cup Champions, the St. Louis Blues, played on the season’s opening day, hosting the Washington Capitals. Last season, the Capitals were first in the Metropolitan Division with 104 points, and were third overall. The Caps playoff run was cut short by the Carolina Hurricanes,  getting eliminated in the first round, not an uncommon theme in Capital playoff history. They beat the Blues three to two in overtime, on October 2. 

The Toronto Maple Leafs hosted the Ottawa Senators on opening day as well, taking the game five to three. The Leafs scored four goals in the second period and one in the third, with Auston Matthews scoring two of the five goals, and Ilya Mikheyev, Frédérick Gauthier, and Trevor Moore each with one goal. 

The Edmonton Oilers began their season alongside the Vancouver Canucks on home ice, edging out a win three to two. Leon Draisaitl, Zack Kaissian, and Connor McDavid were the Oilers’ goal scorers, aided by Daniel Nurse and Matt Benning. Opening night was a big one for Leon Draisaitl, who had one goal and two assists, racking up three points in the first game of the season. 

The final game that kicked off the start of the 2019-2020 NHL season was between the Vegas Golden Knights and the San Jose Sharks, with the Knights hosting and defeating the Sharks four to one. The Knights entered the NHL during the 2017 expansion, immediately making history by extending their season to the Stanley Cup Final. They became the first team in North American Hockey League history to make the playoffs in their inaugural season, since the Edmonton Oilers and Hartford Whalers in the 1979-1980 season. 

The Knights also became the first NHL team to sweep their opponent in the first round of the playoffs of their beginning season, shutting down the Los Angeles Kings in four games. They then became the first modern-era expansion team in any of the four major sports to win their division in their first season, and the first hockey team to do so in over 91 year. The last team to do this was the New York Rangers in the 1926-27 season.

Knights fans are looking to have a repeat of the 2017-2018 season, hoping for another playoff run, this time coming out with the win. 

Speaking of New York, the home grown Islanders lost their opening day game on October 4 to the Washington Capitals, two to one. Devon Toews had New York’s only goal, with Anthony Beauvillier and Leo Komarov on the assist.

The Islanders division rivals, the New York Rangers, had more success on their opening night, taking place on October 3. In the high scoring game, the Rangers fought hard for their six to four win. Mika Zibanejad came ready to play, starting off his season with four points, and newby Jacob Trouba right behind him with three. 

This is Trouba’s first season on the Rangers, who was acquired in an off season trade with the Winnipeg Jets, in exchange for Neal Pionk and a first round draft pick. Trouba’s season started on quite the ironic foot, scoring his first goal as a New York Ranger against his former team. 

Jack Hughes, this season’s number one overall draft pick at the ripe age of 18, scored his first National Hockey League goal on Saturday, October 19, with his brother, family, and over 70 close friends watching. 

His brother, Quinn Hughes, is a defensemen for the Vancouver Canucks and was on the bench when Jack scored the game winning goal, unfortunately against his team. Hughes was that game’s only scorer, becoming the youngest player in NHL history to score the game winning goal. The New Jersey Devils took the game, one to zero.

This season holds a special place for fans of the Buffalo Sabres and Vancouver Canucks, marking both teams 50th anniversary.

The Blues are in first place in the Atlantic Division as of October 21, with seven wins and only one loss. The Sabres made it to the Stanley Cup Final last season, losing in Game seven to the St. Louis Blues. The Canucks are fifth in the Pacific Division, with five wins and three losses.

The Senators are starting out their season as bottom feeders, last in the Atlantic Division with one win and five losses. The Oilers are on top in the Pacific Division, with the same record as the Sabres. The Kings are in last place, with a mirror of the Canucks record. 

The Capitals so far lead the Metropolitan Division with six wins and two losses. The Rangers find themselves in last place with two wins and four consecutive losses. 

The Avalanche, by the looks of it, are turning the franchise around, leading the Central Division with seven wins, zero losses, and one overtime loss. The Minnesota Wild are the underdogs so far, coming in last with two wins and four losses. 

The season has only just begun, with a long way to go. The standings will change countless more times are the season progresses, making the outcome of this season entirely unpredictable. Fans will just have to sit and watch as hockey once again enters into the 20’s.

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