NHL fans got treated to some outstanding action last weekend as the Buffalo Sabres and New Jersey Devils won a couple of the best games of the entire 2022-23 season. Outside of those overtime thrillers, Max Pacioretty made his debut with the Carolina Hurricanes and Mitch Marner hit a major milestone.
Let's take a look at some of the biggest highlights and storyline from around the NHL.
Goal of the weekend: Lukas Reichel scores his first NHL goal in style
The time has come for the Chicago Blackhawks to start giving their prospects more ice time. That's the case with Lukas Reichel, the No. 17 overall pick in the 2020 NHl Draft. Through three games this season, Reichel has already given the fan base something to cheer about.
During Sunday's win over the Calgary Flames, Reichel recorded three points, including his first career goal. On that play, Reichel picked up a rebound, stuck the puck between his legs and flipped it past Jacob Markstrom.
Going between the legs for your first NHL goal is bold 🔥 pic.twitter.com/cPLAIGdCp6— B/R Open Ice (@BR_OpenIce) January 9, 2023
If there is one problem for Reichel here, it's a classic case of setting the bar too high for yourself. Now, people are going to expect some razzle dazzle every time he lights the lamp. Then again, Chicago will take goals in any form or fashion right now.
Robbery of the weekend: Marc-Andre Fleury shows out in overtime
We'll talk more about Saturday's game between the Minnesota Wild and Buffalo Sabres in a little bit, but Marc-Andre Fleury put on an absolute show in overtime. He was under siege, but managed to stand tall for almost the entire extra frame.
In a matter of seconds, Fleury tested the elasticity of his groin by doing the splits to take a goal away from Alex Tuch before denying Jeff Skinner on a breakaway. It was a vintage Fleury moment.
FLEURY IS A BRICK WALL 🧱#mnwild | #NHL pic.twitter.com/Q6RAVvX7On— Bally Sports North (@BallySportsNOR) January 8, 2023
Unfortunately for Fleury and the Wild, the Sabres eventually won the game with less than a minute on the clock in overtime. Regardless, Fleury did all he could do to give Minnesota a chance to win.
Sabres, Wild treat fans to overtime thriller
The Buffalo Sabres are one of the NHL's hottest fans right now, and their fans have embraced them. The atmosphere at KeyBank Center was electric for what was one of the most fun games of the 2022-23 season.
Kirill Kaprizov gave the Wild a 2-1 lead in the second period, but that only started a surge from the Sabres. Buffalo scored three goals in quick succession, and that rally was capped off by a dart from Dylan Cozens that beat Fleury over the shoulder.
Dylan Cozens picking the corner with ease. 🎯 pic.twitter.com/nqLXh0Wi4z— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) January 8, 2023
Then it was Minnesota's turn to score three goals in a row, and Joel Erikkson Ek gave the Wild a third-period lead with a shot that looked an awful lot like Cozens' goal.
Eriksson Ek with a snipe to put the @mnwild up in the third. 🔥 pic.twitter.com/WHfnNY0Tdd— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) January 8, 2023
With under three minutes left in regulation, Rasmus Dahlin cranked a one-timer underneath Fleury to tie the game. Fleury got some of the shot, but there was a little too much heat on it to keep him from stopping it entirely.
In overtime, Fleury did everything he could do to steal the game for the Wild, but Victor Olofsson eventually ripped a shot by him to win the game and send Buffalo fans happy.
Another overtime thriller: Devils-Rangers
This clash between Metro Division rivals did not disappoint on Saturday. The Rangers opened up a multi-goal lead over their border rivals, but the Devils pulled off an incredible comeback in front of a lively atmosphere.
In the second period, Rangers defenseman Adam Fox executed a perfect drop pass to Julien Gauthier, who found the back of the net to give New York a 2-0 lead.
GOODY.— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) January 7, 2023
OH MY. pic.twitter.com/RKl4jqhEjO
Jack Hughes would get one back for the Devils, but Chris Kreider provided a quick answer for the Rangers to give them a 3-1 lead headed into the third period.
Early in the final frame, it seemed like Igor Shesterkin simply would not allow New Jersey to get back into the game. But Jesper Bratt broke through with a power play goal to bring the Devils within one. Just a couple minutes later, Jack Hughes went to work as he rifled a rebound into the net to tie the score at 3-3.
That's #NHLAllStar Jack Hughes to you. pic.twitter.com/m5ddU3rR3A— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) January 7, 2023
In overtime, Damon Severson got a 2-on-1 opportunity, and he was not looking to pass. Severson picked his spot underneath Shesterkin's blocker, and he hit it to win the game for the Devils.
DAMON SEVERSON COMPLETES THE COMEBACK, DEVILS WIN IT IN OVERTIME!#NJDevils pic.twitter.com/XRr5CjP8Ku— Hockey Daily 365 l NHL Highlights (@HockeyDaily365) January 7, 2023
New Jersey has had a rough time getting its momentum back of late after that massive winning streak earlier in the season, but this victory should help with that.
Max Pacioretty makes his Hurricanes debut
Technically Pacioretty made his Carolina Hurricanes debut against the Nashville Predators on Thursday night, but he really arrived on Saturday. In case you forgot, Pacioretty was traded to Carolina in the offseason but suffered a torn Achilles tendon during a workout shortly thereafter.
In Carolina's shootout loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets, Pacioretty got on the board in his second game with his new team. Coming in off the rush, Pacioretty fired a seeing-eye backhand shot that somehow got by Joonas Korpisalo.
Max bags his first as a Hurricane 🚨 pic.twitter.com/jj8DFGMTqp— Carolina Hurricanes (@Canes) January 7, 2023
Later in the second period, Pacioretty squeezed a shot by Korpisalo to give the Hurricanes a 3-2 lead.
Max Pacioretty is a goal scorer pic.twitter.com/EPe9a8wsI3— Carolina Hurricanes (@Canes) January 7, 2023
The Hurricanes have already been one of the NHL's best teams this season, and now they add a high-end scorer like Pacioretty to their lineup. Pacioretty will bring more of a finishing touch to a team that already dominates possession and shot attempts.
Mitch Marner hits 500 career points
In the Toronto Maple Leafs' 4-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings, Mitch Marner hit a major milestone. At the ripe old age of 25, Marner hit 500 career points with a power play goal.
The puck took a favorable hop off the lively boards at Scotiabank Arena and quickly deposited it into the back of the net. More known as one of the league's best distributors, it was Marner's 153rd career goal that pushed him to the 500-point mark.
The tally that gave Mitch Marner (@Marner93) 500 career points! 🚨 pic.twitter.com/QhNW9bIKOD— NHL (@NHL) January 8, 2023
Fittingly enough, Auston Matthews assisted on the goal, with some help from the boards. Matthews and Marner have been the Maple Leafs' foundation over the last few years, and the two have combined for countless goals in that time. Matthews fished the historic puck out of the net for Marner and got it to the trainer on the bench, but not before having some fun first.
Got 'em 😂— NHL (@NHL) January 8, 2023
Auston Matthews (@AM34) fakes tossing Mitch Marner's (@Marner93) 500th career point puck over the glass. pic.twitter.com/sdVqNSv0zS
Just guys being dudes. You love to see it.
Appointment viewing this week
Stars at Rangers | Thursday, Jan. 12: The Stars have been one of the top teams in the Western Conference while the Rangers continue to climb back into the Metropolitan Division race. This Rangers team has won three of their last four and star power will really be on display in this one with a terrific goalie matchup.
Kraken at Bruins | Thursday, Jan. 12: The Kraken have been absolute on fire as they're currently riding a five-game winning streak. However, this will be one of Seattle's biggest tests of the young season against Boston. After all, the Bruins recently reached the 30-win mark and became the second-fastest team to achieve that feat.
Jets at Penguins | Friday, Jan. 13: After losing six straight, the Penguins recently got back into the win column with a 4-1 win over the Coyotes. Meanwhile, the Jets are currently riding a five-game winning streak and recently got a huge boost with the return of forwards Nikolaj Ehlers and Blake Wheeler.
Maple Leafs at Bruins | Saturday, Jan. 14: The Maple Leafs currently reside in second place in the Eastern Conference's Atlantic Division, but still trail the Bruins by 11 points. This is a big opportunity for Toronto to close some ground in the division race and a potential playoff preview.
Oilers at Golden Knights | Saturday, Jan. 14: The Oilers took a big hit earlier this season when they lost Evander Kane due to injury. Edmonton certainly will be looking to climb back into the Pacific Division race against a Vegas team that has a Western Conference-leading 56 points.