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Wake With Elias- October 13, 2021: Opening Night Stumble For The Champs, New Guys

The Canucks are set to open the 2021-22 season tonight in Edmonton, while things got underway officially with a banner raising ceremony in Tampa, and the debut of the NHL’s newest franchise on the road in Vegas.

Seattle Kraken v Vegas Golden Knights Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

The waiting is over and tonight we get our first look at the (mostly whole) 2021-22 Vancouver Canucks. They kick off a grueling six game road swing to start the year before their home opener on Oct 23rd when Minnesota comes to town. We’ll have full pregame coverage later today, but let’s take a look at last night’s action first.

The Tampa Bay Lightning celebrated their 2nd straight Stanley Cup victory earlier this year by raising a banner at the Amalie Arena in Tampa. And they looked to be set up pretty good, taking on a Pittsburgh Penguins team without Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin in the lineup. They probably should have told this to the Penguins though.

Dominic Simon had the eventual winner as part of a four goal third period en route to a 6-2 win, spoiling the defending champs party last night.

And then it was on to Vegas, where the previous new kids on the block played host to the NHL’s newest team. Things got off to a shaky start for the Kraken, who found themselves trailing 3-0 early in the second period. Full credit to them for tying it up on a goal from Morgan Geekie after goals by Ryan Donato and former Canuck Jared McCann, but let’s be honest here: that game winner for Vegas by Chandler Stephenson absolutely reeks. Not that we’re eager to see Seattle succeed, but that is a shitty way to lose a game.

AROUND THE LEAGUE

Big news out of Colorado yesterday as they announced that Nathan MacKinnon had tested positive for COVID. Avalanche GM said that MacKinnon was asymptomatic, but could return to the lineup as early as Saturday against St Louis, but this is a big loss for them in their opener against Chicago tonight.

Speaking of ruled out, one player who isn’t? Brock Boeser. Travis Green said he hasn’t decided for sure that The Flow will sit again tonight as he recovers from an injury suffered in the preseason, but if he can’t go, newly signed Alex Chiasson will be on that top line with Elias Pettersson and J.T. Miller.

In addition to the Canucks/Oilers, there’s four other games tonight. The Leafs will open at home against the team that ended their season, taking on the Montreal Canadiens. A game to watch for potential fireworks in the New York Rangers taking on Tom Wilson and the Washington Capitals.

The Winnipeg Jets kick off their season in California as they go up against the Anaheim Ducks, while as mentioned, Colorado hosts the Chicago Blackhawks.