After watching their goalie inexplicably collapse to the ice in the opening minutes, the Thrashers bounced back to beat the Washington Capitals, 4-2, last night in Atlanta behind two goals from Evander Kane.
The excitement of opening night at Philips Arena turned somber just 2 1/2 minutes into the game when Ondrej Pavelec suddenly fell over backward during a stoppage at the other end of the ice.
He was treated for about 10 minutes on the ice before being wheeled off on a stretcher. He was taken to a local hospital, where preliminary tests were negative and Pavelec regained consciousness.
“He’s awake, alert and asking about the score of the game, but will be kept overnight for observation,’’ the team said in a statement.
After an overall delay of about 20 minutes, Chris Mason took over in net for the Thrashers and surrendered a goal to Brooks Laich less than a minute later.
But the Thrashers shut down Alex Ovechkin and the rest of the high-scoring Capitals for nearly 45 minutes, scoring three straight goals to seize control against the team that posted the NHL’s best record last season but was upset in the opening round of the playoffs.
Former Bruins assistant Craig Ramsay earned the victory in his first game as Thrashers coach.
Red Wings 4, Ducks 0 — Mike Modano scored on his first shot with his hometown team 24 seconds after Johan Franzen’s goal early in the first period for host Detroit.
Modano, 40, signed with the Red Wings in August after the Stars decided they didn’t want him for a 21st season. The Livonia, Mich., native leads all US-born NHL players with 558 goals and 1,360 points.
Sabres 2, Senators 1 — Derek Roy scored his second goal of the game on a power play midway through the third period to lift visiting Buffalo.
Ryan Miller stopped 25 shots for the Sabres, who took their second and final lead 10:12 into the third when Roy’s shot from behind the goal line went in off goalie Pascal Leclaire.
Stars 4, Devils 3 — Loui Eriksson scored two goals, including the winner 1:36 into overtime in the season opener for both teams at Newark.
Eriksson skated the length of the ice in overtime, beating Martin Brodeur from the right circle.
Brenden Morrow and Brad Richards scored for Dallas. Travis Zajac, Zach Parise, and Jason Arnott had New Jersey’s goals.
Sharks 3, Blue Jackets 2 — Logan Couture scored on a power play midway through the third period to help San Jose beat Columbus at Stockholm in the season opener for both teams.
Antti Niemi, making his regular-season debut for San Jose after helping lead Chicago to the Stanley Cup title last season, made 30 saves. Steve Mason stopped 25 shots for Columbus.
Hurricanes 2, Wild 1 — Rookie Jeff Skinner scored the only goal of the shootout and Cam Ward was strong in net, leading Carolina past Minnesota for a sweep of the two season-opening games in Finland.
Skinner, an 18-year-old forward, also set up Carolina’s first goal from Tuomo Ruutu, which tied the game two minutes into the second period. The Wild opened the scoring 17 minutes into the first period on Andrew Brunette’s goal.