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Game Day Preview: Nathan MacKinnon set to make NHL debut

Rory Boylen
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Nathan MacKinnon Author: The Hockey News

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Game Day Preview: Nathan MacKinnon set to make NHL debut

Rory Boylen
By:

As part of the new Post-to-Post format, each day we’ll look ahead to the games of the day. Three games are on the docket again tonight, including the debut of 2013 first overall pick, Nathan MacKinnon.

As part of the new Post-to-Post format, each day we’ll look ahead to the games of the day. Three games are on the docket again tonight, including the debut of 2013 first overall pick, Nathan MacKinnon.

Toronto at Philadelphia The Maple Leafs play their fourth game in six nights, including pre-season, while the Flyers play their first of the season - and first since last Friday. Jonathan Bernier is expected to make his first regular season start for the Maple Leafs, who are coming off a 4-3 win against the Montreal Canadiens. The Flyers set off on what needs to be a bounce back season, or else coach Peter Laviolette could be headed to the firing line. Steve Mason gets the nod to start Game 1 of the Flyer's season. He played well down the stretch for them last season - but he also played well for Columbus at one point (
Philly.com) "This is a team that will for sure challenge for a Cup," said Dave Bolland. Said I: "Hold your horses." (
National Post)
Of note: The Flyers went 1-5-1 in the pre-season and only scored 15 goals in those seven games.
Historic note: Dion Phaneuf's goal in Tuesday's game against Montreal was the 19,000th in Maple Leafs history.
Player To Watch: Vincent Lecavalier makes his debut with the Flyers after getting bought out by the Lightning over the summer. He'll no longer be tasked with living up to a contract he never had a chance of living up to, as his new $4.5 million cap hit is much more average. He scored 32 points in 39 games with Tampa Bay last season, which would have tied him for third in Flyers scoring.
Over/under 5.5 goals: Leafs looked unorganized at times on Tuesday, while Philly's strength is its offence and weakness its defense. I'm hitting' the over.
Buffalo at Detroit The Sabres drew the short straw and will be the first team to play Detroit after the Red Wings' move to the East…and in Joe Louis no less. The Wings are looking to get off to a better start than they did last season, when they won only seven of their first 17 games. Still, the veteran-laden Red Wings are all about the long game and playing for playoff success. The Sabres start what is expected to be a long season and one that should be full of a major transition to a new core, that likely won't include Thomas Vanek or Ryan Miller. The Sabres named two captains this season: Steve Ott for road games and Thomas Vanek for home games. We assume Vanek got the home games for a farewell
victory lap (
NHL.com) You know what the best thing is about Detroit moving to the East? All the early birds can see more of Pavel Datsyuk's magic (
Detroit Free Press)
This Day in History: Detroit’s Dutch Reibel sets NHL All-Star Game record with 10 shots on goal and the Red Wings defeat the All-Stars 3-1. This was back when an all-star team would take on the defending Stanley Cup champions in the Original Six era.
Of note: Of the 23 players on Buffalo's opening night roster, 13 were originally drafted by the club and eight of those were first-rounders.
Player to Watch: Daniel Alfredsson makes his first regular season appearance in a Detroit Red Wings uniform. He missed a little pre-season time because of a groin issue. Alfredsson scored 26 points in 47 games for Ottawa last season. Still looks strange seeing him in a uniform other than Ottawa or Sweden.
alfredsson
Over/under 5.5 goals: Gonna go with my sports gut and take the under for the first time this season. Two good goalies and one bad team - Detroit may score all the goals.
Anaheim at Colorado The Ducks were a tail of two teams last season. They started as the only club that could say they were in the same ballpark as Chicago - though they still had the worst seat in the house. But they ended in a tailspin and unable to get any consistent offence going against Detroit in the playoffs. Now they're down perennial 30-goal scorer Bobby Ryan. The Avalanche start 2013-14 with low expectations, but a very high ceiling. Their defense and goaltending remain suspect and Semyon Varlamov needs a turnaround season. The forwards are rich and talent, though, and will have to carry this team. • The Ducks lost in a crushing Game 7 at home to Detroit to end last season after starting so strong. "I haven't got over it," said Ryan Getzlaf. (
Orange County Register) • Patrick Roy may not be able to hear the negative things being said about his young team because of the Stanley Cup rings plugging his ears, but he heard and answered these questions from Adrian Dater about becoming coach of the Avs. (
Denver Post)
Historic note: If, as expected, Nathan MacKinnon makes his NHL debut tonight, he'll be the youngest player to suit up in Avalanche/Nordiques history at 18 years, 31 days. He'll be 204 days younger than Owen Nolan was when he made his debut for the Nordiques in 1990.
Of note: Andrew Cogliano is third on the NHL's active ironman list at 458 consecutive games. He hasn't missed a game since debuting with the Edmonton Oilers on Oct. 4, 2007.
Player To Watch: Well, we'll tell you to keep a close eye on first overall pick Nathan MacKinnon, but you probably already knew that. But if Hampus Lindholm makes his NHL debut tonight, keep a close eye on him too. The sixth overall pick from 2012 is a strong skater with loads of upside and could be a nice surprise this season who helps Anaheim's depth.
Over/under 5.5 goals:
With all the firepower between these two teams in the first game of their seasons, I'm going over. Seems to be the way to go early. Night No. 2 baby!

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Game Day Preview: Nathan MacKinnon set to make NHL debut