* Two of the NHL’s top three scoring teams skated to victories Wednesday after Alex DeBrincat and the Red Wings (19 GF in 4 GP) put together a six-goal showing on TNT and TVA Sports, while Josh Norris guided the Senators (19 GF in 4 GP) to another high-scoring affair at Canadian Tire Centre.
* Connor Bedard’s welcome tour continues when he faces off against another No. 1 pick in Nathan MacKinnon as the Avalanche host the Blackhawks on ESPN and TVA Sports.
* Eighteen-year-old Leo Carlsson, the No. 2 pick in the 2023 NHL Draft, is expected to join rare company in Ducks history when he makes his League debut Thursday against the Stars at Honda Center.
DeBRINCAT CONTINUES TO DELIGHT IN DETROIT
Fresh off returning home and signing a four-year contract in the offseason with the Red Wings, Alex DeBrincat (Farmington Hills, Mich.) potted his second 2-1—3 performance through his first four games with his home state franchise and sparked Detroit to its second consecutive six-goal output at Little Caesars Arena.
* DeBrincat has historically had success while playing in his home state throughout his career and has now collected 12-9—21 in 12 career games at Little Caesars Arena. His 1.00 goals per game at Little Caesars ranks first among all players, while his 1.75 points per game trails only Nikita Kucherov (1.80 P/GP) for the highest total among all players (min. 10 GP).
* DeBrincat, now with 5-3—8 through his first four games with Detroit, matched the highest goals and points total through a players first four contests with the franchise. Jakub Vrana (2020-21), Roland Cloutier (1977-78 – 1978-79) and Jud McAtee (1942-43 – 1944-45) all had five goals, while McAtee, Paul Coffey (1992-93) and Dutch Reibel (1953-54) each had eight points.
* The first-year Red Wings forward became the seventh different player in the past decade with at least five goals through his first four games with a franchise. The others: James Neal (7 in 2019-20 w/ EDM & 6 in 2017-18 w/ VGK), John Tavares (6 in 2018-19 w/ TOR), Brandon Pirri (6 in 2017-18 – 2018-19 w/ VGK), Tomas Hertl (6 in 2013-14 w/ SJS), Vrana (5 in 2020-21 w/ DET) and Auston Matthews (5 in 2016-17 w/ TOR).
NORRIS’ RETURN TO LINEUP PAYS IMMEDIATE DIVIDENDS FOR SENATORS
Hours after the Senators announced he was going to return to the lineup after a 270-day absence, Josh Norris scored two of his team’s six goals against the Capitals and provided an additional spark to an Ottawa offense that has netted 19 goals through the first four games of a season for the first time in franchise history.
* Norris, who skated in just eight games in 2022-23 (2-1—3) after notching 35 tallies in 66 contests during the 2021-22 campaign, matched the highest goal total by a player in their season debut with the Senators – a feat 10 different skaters have accomplished with only Mark Stone (2017-18) and Kyle Turris (2015-16 & 2016-17) doing so in the past decade.
* Vladimir Taranseko (1-1—2) also continued to be a catalyst for Ottawa with his third consecutive multi-point game at Canadian Tire Centre, becoming the first player in franchise history to record two or more points in each of his first three home games with the club.
* #NHLStats: Live Updates from Wednesday
BEDARD, BLACKHAWKS MEET MacKINNON, AVALANCHE ON ESPN
The Blackhawks (2-2-0, 4 points) and their season-opening five game road trip will come to a close when they arrive in Denver to face the undefeated Avalanche (3-0-0, 6 points) on ESPN, Sportsnet and TVA Sports. The marquee matchup will pit the most recent No. 1 pick, Connor Bedard (1-2—3 in 4 GP), against 2013 No. 1 selection and 2022 Stanley Cup champion Nathan MacKinnon (1-2—3 in 3 GP).
* Bedard has faced a plethora of No. 1 picks through his first four NHL games including Sidney Crosby (No. 1 in 2005), Juraj Slafkovsky (No. 1 in 2022), John Tavares (No. 1 in 2009), Auston Matthews (No. 1 in 2016) and now MacKinnon. He will become the second No. 1 pick in NHL history to face five or more other No. 1 picks within his first five career games, joining Nico Hischier (No. 1 in 2017), who faced six first overall selections through his first five games.
* There are some similarities between Bedard’s start and that of MacKinnon. They both notched their first point in their NHL debut, they both started their career on a three-game point streak and they both scored their first NHL goal at the age of 18.
* Bedard’s career-opening road trip will have seen him travel an estimated 3,700 miles from Chicago to Pittsburgh to Boston to Montreal to Toronto to Colorado and back to Chicago before he makes his home debut Saturday against the reigning Stanley Cup champion Golden Knights. Joe Thornton (7 GP in 1997-98) is the only No. 1 pick with as long a road trip, in terms of games, from the start of their career.
MAPLE LEAFS, PANTHERS FACE OFF IN SECOND ROUND REMATCH
The Panthers welcome the Maple Leafs to Amerant Bank Arena for their first meeting since the 2023 Second Round – a series that Florida won en route to the Stanley Cup Final. Sergei Bobrovsky had the upper hand over Auston Matthews in that series, holding the Maple Leafs forward without a goal while posting a .943 SV% through five games, but both players will have a chance at notable feats in tonight’s matchup.
* Bobrovsky enters Thursday with 106 wins since joining the Panthers and has a chance to surpass John Vanbiesbrouck for sole possession of second place on the franchise’s all-time list.
* Following back-to-back hat tricks to open the season, Matthews is off to one of his best starts and can tie the NHL’s modern era mark for most goals by a player through the first four games of a campaign with two tallies tonight. Only seven players in the modern era (since 1943-44) have scored eight goals through their first four games of a season, with Alex Ovechkin most recently achieving the feat in 2017-18.
CARLSSON SET TO MAKE NHL DEBUT WITH DUCKS
The No. 2 pick in the 2023 NHL Draft is expected to make his NHL debut tonight when Leo Carlsson and the Ducks host the Stars at Honda Center. Carlsson (18 years, 297 days), one of the highest-selected skaters in franchise history, is set to become the third-youngest player at the time of their debut with the club.
* Carlsson, who was named Swedish Junior Hockey Player of the Year after recording 10-15—25 in 44 games with Orebro of the Swedish Hockey League, can become the seventh player to register multiple points in his NHL debut with the Ducks following Stanislav Chistov (1-3—4 on Oct. 10, 2002), Alex Hicks (2-1—3 on Nov. 15, 1995), Mason McTavish (1-1—2 on Oct. 13, 2021), Jamie Drysdale (1-1—2 on March 18, 2021), Mike Leclerc (1-1—2 on March 28, 1997) and Alexei Smirnov (1-1—2 on Oct. 10, 2002).