July 19, 2024
The way to watch NHL opening evening: Matchups, preview and stats – ESPN

It has been almost 4 months because the Vegas Golden Knights received the Stanley Cup, and two days since they obtained their extremely detailed championship rings. It is time to drop the puck on the 2023-24 NHL season, and opening evening contains a tripleheader simulcast on ESPN and ESPN+: Nashville Predators-Tampa Bay Lightning (5:30 p.m. ET), Chicago Blackhawks-Pittsburgh Penguins (8 p.m. ET) and Seattle Kraken-Vegas Golden Knights (10:30 p.m. ET)

We’re right here to get you prepared for every sport, with insights from ESPN Stats & Data for every matchup, and betting traces courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook.

The way to watch the NHL on ESPN, ABC, ESPN+ and Hulu

5:30 p.m. ET | Watch reside on ESPN+
Line: TB -170 | O/U: 6.5

Notes from ESPN Stats & Data


  • Final season, the Predators missed the playoffs for the primary time since 2013-14, ending an eight-season run. Their streak of eight consecutive postseason appearances was tied for the second-longest energetic run within the NHL getting into final season behind the Penguins’ 16, which was additionally snapped. The final time Nashville missed the playoffs in consecutive seasons was 2012-13 and 2013-14.

  • New Predators coach Andrew Brunette scored the primary objective in franchise historical past on Oct. 13, 1998, at 5:12 of the primary interval towards Trevor Kidd of the Carolina Hurricanes.

  • The Predators’ disappointing 2022-23 season could be attributed to an absence of scoring. Franchise targets chief Filip Forsberg performed in simply 50 video games due to damage, scoring 19 targets. That was second on the group behind solely Matt Duchene’s 22. Each different group within the league had a number of 20-goal scorers final season.

  • The expertise is there for Nashville, beginning in objective with Juuse Saros. The 28-year-old began the second-most video games final season (63) and performed extra minutes than any goaltender (3,809:59) however completed tied for seventh in wins (33). He has the third-shortest odds for the Vezina Trophy getting into this season.

  • One other staple of the Predators’ again finish is captain Roman Josi, who led the group in factors with 59 (18 targets, 41 assists). The Predators had been one in all two groups final season to have a defenseman as their main scorer (becoming a member of Erik Karlsson of the San Jose Sharks). Josi has led the group in factors in every of the previous 4 seasons. He is the Predators’ all-time chief in factors (601), becoming a member of Ray Bourque (Boston Bruins) as the one two defensemen to carry that title for his or her franchise.


  • After three consecutive appearances within the Stanley Cup Remaining, leading to two championships, the Lightning had been eradicated within the first spherical of the 2023 playoffs by the Toronto Maple Leafs. They’ve made the playoffs in every of the previous six seasons.

  • Tampa Bay’s path to the playoffs this season will likely be tougher with the lack of goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy, who is anticipated to overlook roughly the primary two months of the common season following surgical procedure for a lumbar disc herniation. Since getting into the NHL in 2014-15, Vasilevskiy is second in wins (263) behind Sergei Bobrovsky (265).

  • With Vasilevskiy out, extra consideration will likely be on the offense to attain targets. Final season, the Lightning had been eighth in targets per sport (3.41), marking their sixth straight season within the prime 10. Tampa Bay had the NHL’s No. 3 energy play (25.4%), behind that of the Edmonton Oilers (32.4%) and Maple Leafs (26.0%).

  • Brayden Level had a breakout season for the Lightning in 2022-23, scoring a team-high 51 targets. He turned the third participant in franchise historical past with a 50-goal season, following Vincent Lecavalier (52 in 2006-07) and Steven Stamkos (60 in 2011-12).

  • Stamkos recorded 84 factors final season (34 targets, 50 assists), changing into the primary participant in franchise historical past to eclipse the 1,000-point profession mark. With 1,056 factors, Stamkos has the fifth most amongst energetic skaters, behind Sidney Crosby (1,502), Alex Ovechkin (1,485), Evgeni Malkin (1,229) and Anze Kopitar (1,141). Coincidentally, all 5 have achieved these totals taking part in for only one group.

8 p.m. ET | Watch reside on ESPN+
Line: PIT -240 | O/U: 6.5

Notes from ESPN Stats & Data


  • It is the extremely anticipated debut of 2023 No. 1 draft decide Connor Bedard because the Blackhawks formally flip the web page from the times of Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. There have been 12 No. 1 picks who scored a objective of their NHL debut, with the final being Auston Matthews, who scored 4 occasions for the Maple Leafs on Oct. 12, 2016, at Ottawa. 4 of these 12 scored in an NHL debut towards the Penguins: Gilbert Perreault (Sabres) on Oct. 10, 1970, Eric Lindros (Flyers) on Oct. 6, 1992, John Tavares (Islanders) on Oct. 10, 2009, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (Oilers) on Oct. 9, 2011.

  • This sport will seemingly characteristic three No. 1 general picks: Bedard (2023), Sidney Crosby (2005) and Taylor Corridor (2010, with Oilers). Bedard could be the third straight No. 1 decide to face one other No. 1 decide in his NHL debut, following Montreal’s Juraj Slafkovsky (2022) and Buffalo’s Owen Energy (2021), who every confronted the Toronto tandem of John Tavares (2009, Islanders) and Auston Matthews (2016, Maple Leafs) of their debut. Bedard was born on July 17, 2005 — 13 days earlier than Crosby was chosen first general by the Penguins within the 2005 draft.

  • The Blackhawks had a minus-97 objective differential final season, which ranked thirtieth within the NHL and forward of solely the Columbus Blue Jackets (minus-116) and Anaheim Geese (minus-129). Every of these three groups had been the one groups to be minus-30 or worse in objective differential in every interval final season. The Blackhawks had been outshot in 60 of their 82 video games final season; solely the Geese and Arizona Coyotes had been outshot extra often final season (69 every).

  • The returning Blackhawks participant with probably the most factors final season was Andreas Athanasiou (40). His 20 targets was the second-highest complete in his profession, behind the 30 he scored for the Detroit Purple Wings in 2018-19. Taylor Raddysh additionally had 20 targets to guide the Blackhawks final season.

  • Taylor Corridor is getting into his 14th season, and the Blackhawks are his fifth group because the begin of the 2019-20 season (Devils, Coyotes, Sabres, Bruins). Final season, Corridor’s 36 factors had been the second fewest in a season in his profession (33 in 2020-21 break up between Buffalo and Boston).


  • Final season, the Penguins missed the playoffs for the second time within the Crosby period, and the primary time since his rookie season in 2005-06. On the morning of March 14, the Penguins had been within the first wild-card place and 5 factors away from a playoff spot. They proceeded to go 6-9-1 of their last 16 video games, together with a 5-2 loss at house to the Blackhawks and a 3-2 extra time loss on the Blue Jackets to finish the season.

  • The Pens’ massive acquisition within the offseason was defenseman Erik Karlsson, who posted 101 factors final season, the primary 100-point season by a defenseman since Brian Leetch had 102 in 1991-92. Karlsson is simply the sixth defenseman to document 100 factors in a single season, becoming a member of Bobby Orr (six occasions), Paul Coffey (5), Leetch, Al MacInnis and Denis Potvin; all of these gamers are within the Hockey Corridor of Fame.

  • Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang are every set for his or her 18th marketing campaign with Pittsburgh, surpassing Mario Lemieux (17) for the second most and behind Crosby, who’s getting into his nineteenth. Crosby (1,190 video games performed), Malkin (1,063) and Letang (1,005) maintain the highest three spots on the Penguins’ all-time record.

  • Amongst gamers with 500 profession factors, Crosby’s 1.26 factors per sport is eighth highest in NHL historical past and trails solely Connor McDavid (1.49) for highest amongst energetic gamers. Crosby has averaged 1.00 factors per sport or increased in all 18 seasons he has performed, which is one shy of tying Wayne Gretzky for probably the most seasons in NHL historical past. Malkin is tied for fourth on that record at 15 with Joe Sakic, Lemieux, Mark Messier, Ron Francis and Marcel Dionne (Gordie Howe is third with 17 seasons; minimal 20 video games performed per season).

  • Jake Guentzel’s 197 profession targets are second behind Crosby’s 212 for the Penguins since Guentzel entered the NHL in 2016-17.

10:30 p.m. ET | Watch reside on ESPN+
Line: VGK -170 | O/U: 6

Notes from ESPN Stats & Data


  • The Kraken had a 40-point enchancment from 2021-22 (60 factors) to 2022-23 (100), which was second behind the New Jersey Devils (plus-49) for the most important level enchancment final season. The Kraken’s enchancment was the seventh-largest year-over-year enchancment in seasons of equal size in NHL historical past. It was additionally the most important win (plus-19) and level enchancment by an NHL group from it first to second season.

  • Seattle had 13 gamers rating at the very least 10 targets final season, tied with the Oilers for probably the most within the NHL. Seattle’s six 20-goal scorers had been tied with the Penguins, Maple Leafs, Devils, Stars and Senators for many within the NHL. For context, Jared McCann’s team-leading 70 factors was tied for 59th within the NHL final season.

  • McCann was the third participant previously 40 years to attain 40 targets in a group’s first or second season, becoming a member of William Karlsson’s 43 with the 2017-18 Golden Knights and Brian Bradley’s 42 with the 1992-93 Lightning. McCann’s 30 targets at 5-on-5 had been fourth within the NHL behind David Pastrnak (34), Mikko Rantanen (32) and Connor McDavid (32).

  • In keeping with Stathletes, the defensive pairing of Adam Larsson and Vince Dunn performed 1,342 minutes collectively at 5-on-5 within the 2022-23 common season, probably the most of any pair within the NHL. Among the many 54 defensive pairs that performed 500 minutes or extra collectively at 5-on-5, their on-ice targets per 60 minutes charge was 3.62, in a digital tie for third with New Jersey’s Dougie Hamilton and Jonas Siegenthaler, and behind Erik Karlsson-Jaycob Megna (4.03, Sharks) and Roman Josi-Ryan McDonagh (3.86, Predators).

  • Matty Beniers took house the Calder Trophy final season because the NHL’s rookie of the yr. Beniers was the co-leader (with Stars ahead Wyatt Johnson) amongst rookies with 24 targets, whereas his 57 factors and 18 multipoint video games led all rookies.

Golden Knights

  • The Golden Knights turned the seventh franchise in NHL historical past to require six or fewer seasons to win their first Stanley Cup. The one golf equipment to take action had been the Maple Leafs (1918 because the Arenas; first season), Montreal Maroons (1926; second season), Rangers (1928; second season), unique Ottawa Senators (1920; third season), Bruins (1929; fifth season) and Oilers (1984; fifth season). The Golden Knights had been the primary true post-expansion group (since 1967-68) to win the Cup so rapidly. The Oilers had been absorbed in from 1979-80 after the WHA folded.

  • Vegas received the Stanley Cup though it used 5 totally different goalies in the course of the common season, the primary group to take action because the 1989-90 Oilers. They had been additionally the second group to make it to the Stanley Cup Remaining utilizing 5 goalies within the common season, with none having performed 40 video games, becoming a member of the 2009-10 Philadelphia Flyers (who misplaced to the Blackhawks).

  • Jack Eichel led the Golden Knights with 66 factors final season, tied for seventieth within the NHL. The Golden Knights joined the 2002-03 Devils as the one groups in NHL historical past to win a Stanley Cup with out having a participant end within the prime 60 in factors that common season.

  • Adin Hill took over the Vegas objective within the postseason when Laurent Brossoit was injured within the second spherical. Hill went 11-4 in 16 playoff appearances and have become the primary goaltender in NHL historical past to earn 11 wins in a single postseason after not taking part in within the group’s opening spherical. Hill completed the 2023 playoffs with a .932 save share, the fifth highest amongst goalies of their first postseason (minimal 12 video games performed).

  • After lacking 39 regular-season video games due to again surgical procedure, captain Mark Stone returned within the playoffs, registering 24 factors in 22 video games. He turned the third participant in historical past with a hat trick in a Cup-clinching win (Babe Dye in 1922 for the Toronto St. Patricks and Jack Darragh in 1920 for the unique Ottawa Senators).

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