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In this Feb. 2, 2020, file photo, Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin (8), of Russia, skates next to Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby (87) during the third period of an NHL hockey game in Washington. The NHL is embarking on a 56-game regular season with all divisional play in a knock-down, drag-out battle for the Stanley Cup unlike any other in hockey history.  (AP Photo/Nick Wass, File) **FILE**

NHL embarks on season that will be like ‘56 playoff games’

- Associated Press

When the puck drops on the regular season in five rinks Wednesday, it will be the start of a 56-game sprint to the playoffs with all divisional play until the semifinals. That will ramp up the rivalries, reduce travel during the pandemic and make this a once-in-a-lifetime chase for a title.

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Dallas Stars' John Klingberg (3), Joe Pavelski (16), Roope Hintz (24) and Jamie Benn (14) celebrate with Alexander Radulov (47) following his goal in the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Nashville Predators in Dallas, Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

Pavelski, Stars pound Predators 7-0 in delayed opener

- Associated Press

Joe Pavelski had two goals and two assists and Alexander Radulov also scored twice, helping Dallas beat the Nashville Predators 7-0 on Friday night in the Stars’ delayed season opener.

Washington Capitals center Nic Dowd (26) celebrates his goal with defenseman John Carlson (74), left wing Jakub Vrana (13) and right wing Garnet Hathaway (21) during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Buffalo Sabres, Friday, Jan. 22, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

Short-handed Capitals beat Sabres 4-3 in SO in home opener

- Associated Press

Knowing they'd be without Alex Ovechkin and three other prominent players for their home opener, the Washington Capitals talked about the gaping holes left in the lineup and then rallied around them.

AP Sportlight

- Associated Press

Jan. 23

Vancouver Canucks defenseman Tyler Myers (57) stops Montreal Canadiens left wing Tomas Tatar (90) from getting a shot on Canucks goaltender Thatcher Demko (35) during the first period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021, in Vancouver, British Columbia. (Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press via AP)

Canadiens beat Canucks 7-3, add to season-opening road run

Associated Press

Tyler Toffoli had two more goals and an assist, and the Montreal Canadiens became the first NHL team in 46 years to open a season with at least a point in five straight road games by beating the Vancouver Canucks 7-3 on Thursday night.

Tampa Bay Lightning's Brayden Point, right, celebrates his goal against the Columbus Blue Jackets with Victor Hedman in overtime of an NHL hockey game Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)

Brayden Point lifts Lightning past Blue Jackets in OT

- Associated Press

Brayden Point scored 1:56 into overtime and the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-2 on Thursday night for their third straight victory to begin the season.

New York Islanders' Andy Greene (4) is defended by New Jersey Devils' Andreas Johnsson (11) and Nikita Gusev (97) during the third period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021, in Uniondale, N.Y. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Islanders deal Devils first loss in regulation, 4-1

- Associated Press

Jordan Eberle scored twice, Mathew Barzal had a goal and two assists and Semyon Varlamov made 30 saves as the New York Islanders beat the New Jersey Devils 4-1 on Thursday night.

Dallas Stars goalies Jake Oettinger, left, and Anton Khudobin, right, listen to goaltending coach Jeff Reese, center, during NHL hockey practice in Dallas, Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

Stars finally set for delayed opener after COVID positives

- Associated Press

The Dallas Stars are finally set to open their season, more than 10 months after playing their last home game, nearly four months after losing the deciding Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final and a week after every other NHL team got back on the ice.

Washington Capitals forward T.J. Oshie, right, celebrates his goal with forward Alex Ovechkin, left, during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Buffalo Sabres, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021, in Buffalo, N.Y. (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes)

Canes' season paused, while Caps play on without 4 regulars

- Associated Press

Rod Brind'Amour lamented Carolina's season coming to a screeching halt despite doing “a great job” adhering to pandemic protocols. For Peter Laviolette, his Washington Capitals will keep playing for the next week without four prominent players who broke the rules.