New York Islanders coach Jack Capuano returned after surgery to oversee his team’s 4-3 win over Tampa Bay Lightning in the NHL on Monday.
The tight finish to the game was part of a pattern for the day, with St Louis, Boston and Detroit all winning in shootouts, Anaheim sneaking a win in a nine-goal thriller and Buffalo beating Toronto 2-1. The only comfortable win was for Ottawa, which beat Florida 4-0.
Capuano missed the first win of the season after having a kidney stone removed and would have felt at ease as his team went out to a 4-0 lead thanks to goals from Michael Grabner, Matt Martin, Kyle Okposo and David Ullstrom.
However, Martin St Louis, Benoit Pouliot and Steven Stamkos scored in a five-minute stretch, pulling Tampa Bay within a goal with 12 minutes left, but the Lightning could not get a tying goal.
In Ottawa, the Senators put in an authoritative performance in their home opener, beating the Florida Panthers 4-0.
Kyle Turris scored twice and Craig Anderson made 31 saves to notch his 20th career shutout. Jim O’Brien and Jakob Silfverberg, with his first NHL goal, also scored for the Senators.
The St Louis Blues left Nashville with full points, beating the Predators 4-3 after a shootout.
St Louis’ TJ Oshie and Alexander Steen scored in the shootout, which only last two rounds, with replacement goalie Brian Elliott blocking both Nashville shots.
Rookie Vladimir Tarasenko had a goal and two assists for St Louis. Andy McDonald had a power-play goal and an assist, and Alex Pietrangelo’s goal tied it up in the third period.
Patric Hornqvist, Mike Fisher and Colin Wilson scored for the Predators.
The Boston Bruins also needed a shootout to beat the Winnipeg Jets 2-1, with Tyler Seguin and Patrice Bergeron scoring in the tiebreaker.
Brad Marchand had the regulation goal for the Bruins while Chris Thorburn scored for the Jets.
The Columbus Blue Jackets were losers on the ice, but winners off it, as a home record crowd of 19,206 was on hand to see the Detroit Red Wings win 4-3 in a shootout victory.
Swiss rookie Damien Brunner scored in the fourth round of the shootout to lead the Detroit Red Wings past Columbus before the largest regular-season crowd at the Nationwide Arena in the Blue Jackets’ 11-plus seasons.
Brian Lashoff scored in his NHL debut and fellow defenseman Ian White also scored for Detroit. Pavel Datsyuk had a goal to send the game into overtime with six minutes remaining and Swiss rookie Damien Brunner netted the shootout winner in the fourth round.
Cam Atkinson, James Wisniewski and Vinny Prospal scored goals during regulation for Columbus, which was playing their first home game without Rick Nash — traded to the New York Rangers — since the 2001 and 2002 season.
The Buffalo Sabres edged the Toronto Maple Leafs 2-1, thanks chiefly to goaltender Ryan Miller, who stopped 34 shots.
Miller lost his shutout bid when Nazem Kadri scored with 1 minute 42 seconds remaining. Toronto’s Joffrey Lupul appeared to tie it seconds later, but the goal was disallowed.
Cody Hodgson and Jason Pominville had the goals for Buffalo.
Anaheim’s Daniel Winnik and Ryan Getzlaf each scored two goals as the Ducks won 5-4 against the Calgary Flames.
Saku Koivu had the other goal for Anaheim, which have opened the season with two road wins and will enjoy a rare three-day rest in this year’s compressed schedule before their home opener on Friday.
Signed as a free agent last summer, Winnik has found instant chemistry on a line with Koivu and Andrew Cogliano. All three were in on Winnik’s go-ahead goal at minute four of the third period, which broke a 3-3 tie.
Curtis Glencross had two goals, while Lee Stempniak and Alex Tanguay also scored for Calgary, which opened with straight home losses.