We're a little more than two weeks into the 2022-23 NHL season with interesting early trends emerging. Here's a look at some news and notes from around the league.
Sleepless in Seattle
The Kraken are hoping to take a step forward after going through considerable growing pains during their inaugural season in 2021-22. So far, not so good as Seattle has won twice in seven games. On a positive note, both wins did come in the role of substantial underdog on the road against the Kings and Avalanche. The Kraken will get three home games in five nights this week before heading back on the road for a three-game trip. They've been outscored by a 14-6 margin in suffering three consecutive losses at home to open the campaign. Note that they've alternated 'over' and 'under' results through seven games, most recently dropping a 5-4 decision in Chicago on Sunday.
The Ottawa Senators have been Eastern Conference bottom-dwellers for years' now but some savvy offseason moves have seemingly breathed new life into the sagging franchise. The new-look Sens have reeled off three straight victories following an 0-2 start and perhaps most importantly, the fans are back in the seats in Kanata, Ontario thanks to an entertaining brand of hockey put forth by their home team. Ottawa has lit the lamp 18 times in the first four games of its current five-game homestand. It will host Dallas as a short favorite on Tuesday night before wrapping its homestand against struggling Minnesota on Thursday.
Most had the New York Rangers pegged as a Stanley Cup contender at the outset of the season and while they're still worthy of being in that conversation, they're by no means off to a solid start. New York is just 3-3 out of the gates, including consecutive home losses as a favorite priced well north of -200. The usually stout Blueshirts defense has been sieve-like during its current 1-3 slide, allowing 16 goals along the way. New York will host the defending Stanley Cup champion Avalanche on Tuesday before opening a three-game road trip with a short trip to Long Island to face the rival Islanders on Wednesday.
While Buffalo is still firmly entrenched in a rebuild there's no denying it has gotten off to a tremendous start, notching four wins in its first five contests. There were valid questions as to who would step up offensively for the Sabres this season but that's been a non-issue in the early going as they've produced 22 goals in five games, despite three of their first five contests coming against playoff teams from 21-22. With a win on Tuesday against the struggling Kraken in Seattle, Buffalo would wrap up a perfect four-game road trip before heading home for its next four contests.
All eyes on Ovie
Alex Ovechkin has scored two goals so far this season, edging a little closer in the chase for Wayne Gretzky's all-time NHL goal-scoring record. Gretzky finished his career with 894 goals and Ovechkin currently sits 112 goals behind at 782. At 37 years old, provided Ovie can stay healthy it's likely a matter of 'if' not 'when' he will break Gretzky's record.