This is best of the NHL, a look at the best plays, performances, and players around the league on a nightly basis.
|Best Of The NHL: Jan. 19, 2013|
We hope you enjoyed international jump to conclusion day, also known as the NHL's opening night.
And what a night it was.
The Detroit Red Wings were lousy. The Florida Panthers were awesome. The Chicago Blackhawks spoiled the champs' celebration. Jaromir Jagr looked like he was 25. And the league's impressive rookie class did not disappoint thanks to some incredible performances from Jonathan Huberdeau, Vladimir Tarasenko and Mikael Granlund.
It was great to have the NHL back; we just hope you're not too high or too low on your favorite team after one night because even in a short season, it's still just one game.
|Best Team Performance: St. Louis Blues|
My goodness was this total domination. Complete. And total. Domination. Part of it was the Red Wings playing horribly, but a lot of it was the Blues being outstanding.
We knew coming into the season the Red Wings defense is going to struggle after the loss of Nicklas Lidstrom and Brad Stuart, but this ... this was unbelievable.
The Blues systematically dismantled the Red Wings on Saturday night with a 6-0 rout that included a 36-14 edge in shotst. At one point in the second the Red Wings were getting outshot 25-5 and had only two scoring chances to St. Louis' 17.
St. Louis is a trendy Stanley Cup pick in the early going and played like it on Saturday. Rookie Vladimir Tarasenko (more on him in a minute) was spectacular in his debut, scoring a pair of goals, while the Blues also received a pair of goals from Chris Stewart and one each from Patrik Berglund and T.J. Oshie.
|Best Save Of The Night: Henrik Lundqvist|
It was in a losing effort, but this save from New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist might be one of the best we see all season. When the home team arena accidentally sets off its celebratory spotlights, you know it's an awesome save.
|Best Goal Of The Night: Vladimir Tarasenko|
Vladimir Tarasenko had two goals in his NHL debut for the St. Louis Blues and was a threat to score every time he touched the puck. Then again, every player on the Blues was a threat to score against Detroit, but Tarasenko looked like a seasoned pro, and this goal, his second, was a thing of beauty.
Unless you're a member of the Red Wings defense, of course ...
|Best Player: Jaromir Jagr|
You know, this Jaromir Jagr in Dallas experience might have a chance to work out. At least based on his debut.
His second assist was by far the better of the two as he set up Loui Eriksson for the game-winning goal after completing a brilliant no-look pass into the slot. Eriksson beat Coyotes goalie Mike Smith for the winner.
|Best Shot: James Neal|
A little different than "best goal" because we're just simply focusing on the shot here, and the actual set play itself. But this is James Neal of the Pittsburgh Penguins scoring directly off a faceoff during their 3-1 win in Philadelphia. It's a play the Penguins had a ton of success with last season (they scored three goals off of it with Evgeni Malkin and Neal), and other teams have to know it's coming.
And they still can't stop it. This is because Neal's shot is absolutely lethal from that part of the ice and the reaction time is nearly zero for opposing goaltenders.