On Tap For Today — Montreal at Buffalo; 7:00 pm EDT; MSG-B, RDS, TSN2 | Toronto at Ottawa; 7:00 pm EDT; RDS2, TSN5, TSN4 | Pittsburgh at Florida; 7:00 pm EDT; SN360, BSFL, ATTSN-PT | Dallas at NY Rangers; 7:00 pm EDT; MSG, BSSW | NY Islanders at Carolina; 7:00 pm EDT; TVAS, BSSO, MSG+ | Arizona at Columbus; 7:00 pm EDT; BSOH, BSAZ | Tampa Bay at Detroit; 7:30 pm EDT; BSDET, BSSUN | Seattle at Nashville; 7:00 pm CDT; NHLN, BSSO, ROOT-NW | Vegas at Los Angeles; 7:30 pm PDT; TVAS, BSW, ATTSN-RM
GREAT INITIATIVE: A “Buy Black” initiative by the New Jersey Devils took another step forward on Wednesday when the club announced it would feature ads for local black-owned businesses on its helmets. Beginning with the Devils’ game against the Philadelphia Flyers on Dec. 8, the ads will appear in 13 games this season. Local businesses Flows Tasty Treats and Newark Paper Company were the inaugural recipients of the program, which includes a $1,000 grant and promotion of the business by the Devils.
MIGHTY MATTIAS: Nashville signed Mattias Ekholm to a four-year, $25 million extension. Ekholm, who has been a staple on the Predators’ blue line since the 2013-14 season, was rumored to be on the move last season but expressed to the team that he wanted to stay in Nashville. Ask and you shall receive!
HISTORICAL HAPPENINGS: Last night was full of milestones across the NHL. Alex Ovechkin, who was a game-time decision, tied and passed Marcel Dionne for the fifth-most goals in NHL history by scoring goals No. 731 and 732. Peter Laviolette broke his tie with John Tortorella for most NHL wins by an American-born coach with the Capitals victory, and Mason McTavish became the youngest goalscorer in Anaheim Ducks history.
GRETZKY’S DEBUT: Wednesday night kicked off TNT’s regular-season coverage of the NHL and all the current stars were quick to pay respects to the Great One. One intermission saw Gretzky and former NBA star Charles Barkley face off in a friendly shootout competition. After he couldn’t figure out how to put the equipment on, Barkley opted out of using goalie pads and, as expected, Gretzky took five shots on Barkley, scoring four goals in the process.
Top-Shelf Thursday – Best Pump-Up Songs (Rock)
Let’s be real, who doesn’t love a good playlist? With the hockey season back in full swing, fans are driving, walking, and hopping on a train to get to their local arenas to cheer on their favorite teams. Our Morning Skate crew wants to help you get amped up for game days by sharing some of our favorite songs. Below, in no particular order, are five Rock songs that help put us in the mood to take the ice.
Legends – The Score
Animal I Have Become – Three Days Grace
Seven Nation Army – The White Stripes
Bleed It Out – Linkin Park
Crazy Train – Ozzy Osbourne
Tweet us using #THWMorningSkate and let us know what’s on your hockey playlist!
By the Numbers: You Never Forget Your First
Ryan Donato is only 25 years of age, so maybe he will go on to great things after etching his name in the history books as the first goalscorer in the Seattle Kraken’s existence. More often than not, however, franchises’ first-goal scorers seem to be obscure answers to trivia questions. Let’s go inside the numbers and look at some of the players who were responsible for notching their franchise’s first-ever tally:
5 — Future Hall of Famers
There have been five franchises that had first goals scored by future Hall of Fame players; Joe Malone (MTL), Bill Cook (NYR), George Hay (CHI), Andy Bathgate (PIT), and Kevin Lowe (EDM).
6 — Career Games Played
Smokey Harris, the Boston Bruins’ first-ever goalscorer, only played six games with the Bruins before leaving the NHL to return to the Western Canada Hockey League (WCHL) during the 1924-25 season.
67 — Percent of Career Goals Scored
Legendary Ottawa 67’s coach Brian Kilrea scored twice in the LA Kings’ first-ever game. Kilrea ended his NHL career with three goals and eight points in 26 games.
77 — Games Prior to First NHL Goal
Defenseman Jim Watson scored his first NHL goal, which also happened to be the first in Buffalo Sabres’ history, after spending six seasons and 77 goalless games with the Detroit Red Wings.
4 — Goals by Single Player
Chris Kontos not only scored the first goal in the Tampa Bay Lightning’s 7-3 debut win vs Chicago, but he also scored the first hat trick in franchise history. In fact, in the very first game for the Lightning, Kontos set a franchise record that has only been matched once in the last 29 years.
MSk8 Debate 💬
2021-22 NHL Season Predictions: