Alex Ovechkin, Connor Hellebuyck, Seattle Kraken among NHL's slow starters this season

Winnipeg Jets goaltender Laurent Brossoit is making a planned start Thursday night against the Vegas Golden Knights.

While Brossoit is facing the team that he helped lead to its first Stanley Cup title, the move also gives No. 1 goalie Connor Hellebuyck time off after a slow start to the season.

Hellebuyck, a Vezina Trophy winner in 2019-20 and a finalist last season, is 1-2 with a 4.38 goals-against average and .843 save percentage.

Hellebuyck, who was given a seven-year extension on the eve of the season, gave up four or more goals in his three games, including five Tuesday against the Los Angeles Kings. But he gave up five or more goals six times last season and finished with 2.49, .920 numbers and a third-place finish in Vezina votes.

Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck has given up four or more goals in his three starts this season.
Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck has given up four or more goals in his three starts this season.

He was beaten cleanly on one shot Tuesday, but two of the Kings' goals were the result of turnovers near the net.

"I think we let (Hellebuyck) down (Tuesday) night, but regardless (Brossoit) was going in (Thursday) night," Jets coach Rick Bowness told reporters.

The NHL season is in its second week. Here are the teams and players off to slow starts:

Washington Capitals' Alex Ovechkin

This was supposed to be the season that he pulled closer to No. 1 all-time goal scorer Wayne Gretzky (894), but Ovechkin remains at 822 after three goal-less games under new coach Spencer Carbery.

He has no shots on goal in his last two games, the first time in his career that has happened.

But Ovechkin, 38, also didn't a have a goal in his first three games last season. He finished with 42 to pass Gordie Howe for second overall in career goals and set the NHL record for most 40-goal seasons.

Seattle Kraken

The third-year team is winless (0-3-1) heading into Thursday’s game after finishing last season with 100 points and a first-round upset of the Colorado Avalanche.

Last year’s team won with the league’s fourth-best offense, balanced scoring and goaltending that did just enough.

This year, the goaltending save percentages are much better, but the scoring is absent. The Kraken have just three goals and only six players have a point. Rookie of the year Matty Beniers has no points and has a minus 5 plus-minus rating.

The Kraken moved on from 21-goal scorer Daniel Sprong during the offseason. Also hurting Seattle is that opponents won't be taken by surprise as they were last season when the Kraken improved by 40 points in their second season.

Tampa Bay Lightning

Their start was always going to be rough because of Andrei Vasilevskiy’s back surgery and the team has had two good goaltending performances and two so-so ones.

But the 1-2-1 Lightning are also hurt by Steven Stamkos missing two games with a lower-body injury. The power play isn’t as effective without his one-timer as an option. But Stamkos was on the ice Thursday morning and will return as the Lightning begin a five-game homestand.

The salary cap-strapped Lightning also are missing Alex Killorn, Ross Colton, Corey Perry and Pat Maroon from last season's team.

Tampa Bay is 0-2-1 in its last three games, with the losses coming against division rivals.

New Jersey Devils

The 1-1-1 Devils' slow starts are in the games themselves. They've given up the first goal every time. They fell behind the Arizona Coyotes 2-0 in their second game before rallying to gain a point. They fell behind 4-0 to the Florida Panthers but couldn't make up the difference in a 4-3 loss.

Coach Lindy Ruff blames undisciplined penalties and lack of desperation and benched Timo Meier after he took two tripping penalties against the Panthers.

"If they’re not coming out, we’re going to shorten the bench right away," Ruff told reporters. "The desperation has to be there. We have the obligation, to a man, to be ready to play."

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: NHL standings, stats: Concern for teams, players off to slow starts?