3 teams that made strong statements Saturday

Ian McLaren
Marc DesRosiers / USA Today Sports

Saturday is always an adventure around the NHL, and this 12-game slate was no exception.

Three teams in particular stepped up in a big way, letting the rest of the league know it's time to take them seriously.

Kings are back

With a 6-4 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets, the Los Angeles Kings remain the lone team without a single loss in regulation.

After missing the playoffs last season, the Kings have gone 6-0-1 under new head coach John Stevens.

As a bonus, Dustin Brown and Anze Kopitar appear committed to wiping away their poor personal performances from a year ago, as evidenced by their stat lines through seven games.

Player Goals Assists Points
Kopitar 6 5 11
Brown 5 6 11

Not to be outdone, Jonathan Quick is riding a .938 save percentage after being sidelined by injury for most of last season.

Stop doubting the Senators

The Toronto Maple Leafs entered the latest installment of the Battle of Ontario as a burgeoning powerhouse, having averaged almost five goals per game to date.

It was the pesky Ottawa Senators who came out on top Saturday, however, limiting Toronto to three goals while pouring it on with six of their own.

Those who take deeper dives into advanced stats tend to cast doubt on Ottawa, especially considering the Senators ranked 31st in Corsi For in five-on-five play (43.39) heading into the game, according to Corsica. This, to be sure, is not generally seen as a recipe for success.

To the Sens' credit, though, they keep winning, and they have their all-world defenseman back in the fold to boot.

Lightning a force to be reckoned with

Much like the Kings, the Tampa Bay Lightning were hoping to bounce back after missing the 2017 postseason, and they're proving to be up to the challenge.

Tampa hosted the defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins and came out on top 7-1. It helps that Antti Niemi is well below average in net, but Tampa Bay was the better team from start to finish.

(Courtesy: HockeyStats.ca)

All eyes have been on Nikita Kucherov's blistering streak, but don't let that overshadow the magic of Steven Stamkos.

This could finally be the year for this bunch, health permitting.

(Photos courtesy: Action Images)