SPORTS

NHL: 5 best things from Saturday night

10/12/2014 02:34 EDT | Updated 12/11/2014 05:59 EST
As Saturday night’s slate of NHL games showed, the Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs are heading in opposite directions. The Vancouver Canucks, meanwhile, survived their home opener against the Edmonton Oilers.

Here are five of the best things from Saturday night's action:

Penguins humble Leafs

It wasn’t a good night for the Toronto Maple Leafs. If they weren’t getting ripped by Hockey Night in Canada’s Don Cherry for passing on Canadians in the 2014 NHL draft, they watched as a fan tossed a Leafs jersey on the ice after a lacklustre effort against the Pittsburgh Penguins. But Sidney Crosby and company can make most NHL teams look like amateurs. Crosby scored a goal and two assists in a 5-2 victory over the Leafs at Air Canada Centre. Sid is off to a torrid start, scoring six points in the team’s first two games of the season. He also loves playing against the Leafs. Of all the Canadian teams, Crosby has his highest points-per-game average against the Leafs (1.54), which goes up after Saturday’s three-point effort.

Habs open season with 3 straight wins

Prior to Saturday night’s game against the Philadelphia Flyers, CBC Sports contributor Tim Wharnsby wrote how Habs defenceman P.K. Subban deserves the $72-million US contract he signed in the off-season. While Subban didn’t register a point, his teammates picked up the slack as the Canadiens rallied from a three-goal deficit to upend the Flyers 4-3 in the shootout on Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau's deciding goal. Montreal starts the season 3-0 for the first time since 2005. Like that season, all three wins in 2014 have come on the road.

Canucks survive Oilers in SO

Vancouver anthem singer Mark Donnelly had some fun at his expense before the Canucks faced off against the Edmoton Oilers in their home opener. Donnelly walked to centre ice with skates wrapped around his neck before belting out O Canada. As you recall, Donnelly fell while skating and singing the national anthem at a BCHL game last week. The Canucks and Oilers then staged a thrilling game with Vancouver emerging as 5-4 winners on a Chris Higgins shootout goal. It was a different story for former Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo, who was pulled by the Florida Panthers after giving up five goals on 14 shots against the New Jersey Devils.

Zibanejad lifts Senators over Lightning

The Ottawa Senators used what coach Paul MacLean called a whole team effort to defeat the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-2 in Florida. Mika Zibanejad scored the winning goal in the shootout, and then Ottawa goalie Robin Lehner denied Lightning star Steven Stamkos on Tampa’s final try. Actually, the puck hopped over Stamkos’ stick so let’s not give Lehner that much credit.

Jets, Flames lose

The two other Canadians teams — clubs expected to miss the playoffs yet again — were on the losing end of their respective contests. At least the Jets received some good news prior to their 3-0 loss at San Jose. Jets forward Evander Kane, who suffered an apparent knee injury in his team's season opener, will only be out of the lineup for at least two weeks, the Winnipeg Sun quoted coach Paul Maurice as saying Saturday. In St. Louis, the Calgary Flames gave the Blues little resistance en route to a 4-1 loss. Forward Alex Pietrangelo was one of the four Blues scorers.

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