High And Wide: Hot Starts, Hat Tricks, And Humbled Champs

© Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-St. Louis Blues at Minnesota Wild

By Jacob Messing

Welcome to FloHockey’s new column, High and Wide, a weekly recap of NHL action.

And what a week it was: the Vegas Golden Knights won their NHL debut 2-1, the Pittsburgh Penguins surrendered 15 goals in their first three games — including a 10-1 humiliation at the hands of the Chicago Blackhawks — and Alex Ovechkin has returned with fire and fury.

News: Hat Trick Heroes And Rookie Entrances

Hat tricks highlighted the first week of the NHL season with Ovechkin, Connor McDavid, Wayne Simmonds, and Brandon Saad each logging a three-goal game.

Meanwhile, rookies around the league lit the lamp. Clayton Keller, Charlie McAvoy, Martin Frk, Jake DeBrusk, Sonny Milano, Pierre-Luc Dubois, Nathan Walker, and Jesper Bratt all scored their first NHL goals.

Injuries: Boston Hurting Early

Boston’s David Backes is out three weeks with diverticulitis, and Noel Acciari is out six weeks with a broken finger. Teammates Torey Krug and Patrice Bergeron are both day-to-day and could play Monday night.

Minnesota’s Zach Parise (back) and Mikael Granlund (groin) could both return Thursday.

Ottawa’s Erik Karlsson has labeled himself day-to-day as he looks to return from off-season foot surgery.

New Jersey’s Kyle Palmieri left Saturday’s game with a lower-body injury after a hit from Erik Johnson.

Pittsburgh’s Patric Hornqvist is still not taking contact and could be a week or two away from his return from a hand injury.

Star Of The Week: Alex Ovechkin

Ovechkin is back. The red-hot Russian was noticeably slimmer entering training camp, and now has consecutive hat tricks and seven total goals over the Washington Capitals’ first two games. He’s producing goals and a menace of activity around the net, with 14 shots on goal and a plus-six rating.

The 32-year-old is aiming for a rebound season after a career-low goals-per-game average (0.4) and his second-lowest points-per-game average (0.84) over his 12-year career.

AHL Call-Up To Watch: Promising Canadian Defenseman

The Ottawa Senators recalled defenseman Thomas Chabot on Sunday night to help stabilize their blue line. Chabot, 20, was drafted 18th overall in 2015 and has been an impressive two-way defender over the past four years with the QMJHL’s Saint John Sea Dogs.

The Canadian joined Ottawa’s AHL affiliate this season, where he has a goal and an assist in his first two games, albeit with a minus-four. He’s a future cog in Ottawa, and with a strong showing could stick around for the contenders.

Fantasy Player To Add

Paul Stastny | C | St. Louis Blues

Long gone are the days of Stastny’s 70-point seasons, but the 31-year-old has gotten off to a hot start in a contract year that leaves his future in St. Louis in question. In two games, the Canadian-born American player has scored once and added two assists.

The two-way pivot has also contributed two blocks and seven hits if your league tracks such stats. The No. 1 center has played more than 20 minutes in each of the Blues’ first two games but has uncharacteristically gone 11-25 for faceoffs (44.4 percent) thus far, well below his 53.8 percent career average.

Stastny is available in 55.4 percent of fantasy leagues and visits the New York Islanders followed by the Rangers on Monday and Tuesday. The Blues then swing to Florida to play the Panthers on Thursday and the Lightning on Saturday for four games altogether this week.

Game To Watch

Pittsburgh Penguins at Washington Capitals

Wednesday, Oct. 11, 7 PM EST on NBC Sports

The back-to-back Stanley Cup champions will visit rival Washington for NBC’s first real installment of Wednesday Night Rivalry. (Pittsburgh hosted St. Louis to open the season, but there’s hardly a rivalry there.)

After being the heavy favorites for the Stanley Cup, Washington lost to Pittsburgh in the second round in April, and Ovechkin eventually watched Sidney Crosby hoist his third Stanley Cup.

The teams of the two consecutive President’s Trophy winners underwent major changes, so it’ll be interesting to see them battle head to head. The 2-0-0 Caps will have it out for the 1-1-1 Pens in what is bound to be a game with a postseason atmosphere.

Have a question or a comment for Jacob Messing? You can find him on Twitter @JMessing23.

FloHockey’s Western Conference All-Star Rosters

© James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports NHL: St. Louis Blues at Carolina Hurricanes

Welcome back for the Western Conference installment of FloHockey’s NHL All-Star lineup predictions.

Catch up on the Eastern Conference selections right here.The NHL is opting for a third year of the three-on-three format. Each division has a team of 11 players — six forwards, three defensemen, and two goalies — with at least one representative from each team.

FloHockey’s Eastern Conference All-Star Rosters

© Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports NHL: San Jose Sharks at Florida Panthers

By Jacob Messing

While there may be not NHL players participating in Pyeongchang for the Winter Olympics this February, fans at least get the fun-filled All-Star weekend.

Detroit's Darren Helm On Both Sides Of A Big Hit

© Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports NHL: Detroit Red Wings at Tampa Bay Lightning

By Jacob Messing

With another week of hockey in the books, FloHockey has compiled some of the biggest body checks from the past seven days.

High And Wide: Barbashev, Blues, And A Bounce-Back In L.A.

© Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports NHL: Calgary Flames at Montreal Canadiens

By Jacob Messing

St. Louis Blues forward Jaden Schwartz is out for six weeks, Auston Matthews is hurt again, and the Ottawa Senators have just one win in their past seven games.

No. 6 Minnesota, Grace Zumwinkle Still Searching For Home Formula

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By Jacob Messing

The No. 6 Minnesota Golden Gophers are perfect on the road this season, but have lacked the “advantage” part of home-ice advantage.

No. 18 Penn State Seeks Keystone State Dominance vs Robert Morris

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By Jacob Messing

Home-State Battle: Rivals Michigan, Michigan State Set To Clash

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By Jacob Messing

No matter what the sport, the state of Michigan enjoys watching the Wolverines and Spartans go head-to-head.

Top 5 Minnesota Golden Gophers In The NHL

© Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports NHL: Winnipeg Jets at Minnesota Wild

By Jacob Messing

Last week, FloHockey took a look at the top five Big Ten alumni in the NHL, but given the Minnesota’s plethora of professional talent we decided to follow up with the best Golden Gophers in hockey today.

Strength And Pain: The Hardest Hits Of The Week

© Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports NHL: Pittsburgh Penguins at Nashville Predators

By Jacob Messing

Another weekly dose of strength and pain coming together as FloHockey compiles the best hits from around the world right here.

High And Wide: Wheeler, Winnipeg, And We’ll Call It Upper-Body

© Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports NHL: Preseason-San Jose Sharks at Vegas Golden Knights

By Jacob Messing

The Philadelphia Flyers have lost 10 straight games, the Metropolitan is demolishing the Eastern Conference, and the two types of injuries are flaring up.