Ovechkin scores two as Capitals beat Flyers

Saturday, 09.28.2013 / 1:52 AM

Alex Ovechkin earned his night away from hockey.

Ovechkin will miss the Washington Capitals' final preseason game on Saturday in order to take part in the start of the Olympic torch relay in Greece. The first Russian to carry the torch flew off on a high note by scoring twice as the Capitals beat the Philadelphia Flyers 6-3 Friday night at Verizon Center.

The Capitals blew a 3-0 lead as the Flyers got goals by Claude Giroux, Scott Hartnell and Wayne Simmonds in a span of less than five minutes late in the second period. But Eric Fehr's second goal of the night and fourth in the past two games broke the tie 1:35 into the third period. Ovechkin added a power-play goal less than three minutes later, and Mathieu Perreault hit the empty net.

"Going to Greece boys!!! Can't wait!!! See u soon!" Ovechkin said on his Twitter account afterward.

The game featured five fights as well as a five-minute major and game misconduct to Philadelphia's Zac Rinaldo for elbowing Mikhail Grabovski.

Washington finishes its preseason schedule Saturday night in Chicago without Ovechkin, but he'll be in the lineup Tuesday when the Capitals are back at the United Center for their season opener against the defending Stanley Cup champions.

"They weren't missing too many guys, but they played last night so maybe they were a little tired," Capitals coach Adam Oates said when asked if the win was a barometer of his team's readiness. "We had a lot of guys play well. We're just continuing the process of trying to get ready for Tuesday.

"All in all, the guys know what they have to do and we're going in the right direction."

The Flyers open their season at home against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday night after winning only one preseason game in seven tries.

"We didn't play bad," captain Claude Giroux said. "When we were playing the way we wanted to, we were great. We're a dangerous team and we need to believe that -- the sooner the better."

New York Islanders 6, Nashville Predators 4

John Tavares scored twice in the first period and Travis Hamonic and Matt Moulson each assisted on three goals as the Islanders built up a five-goal lead and held off the Predators in their lone preseason game at Nassau Coliseum.

Tavares, wearing the "C" at the Coliseum for the first time, scored 1:25 into the game and fired home a rebound at 13:38 to put the Islanders ahead to stay. Lubomir Visnovsky, Colin McDonald and Josh Bailey also scored for the Islanders, who conclude their preseason on the road against the Ottawa Senators on Sunday.

The Islanders had been shut out in back-to-back games before scoring six times on Friday.

"I don't think we thought about it too much," Tavares said. "We had a good week of practice. Physically the guys were recharged and excited to get out there tonight, to play at home. We did some good things, but we can still be a lot better."

Craig Smith scored twice for the Predators, who trailed 6-1 before beating Evgeni Nabokov (23 saves) in the final 8 1/2 minutes. Nashville, which didn't arrive on Long Island until a couple of hours before game time due to a flight delay, opens its season on the road against the St. Louis Blues on Thursday.

Carolina Hurricanes 1, Buffalo Sabres 0

The Hurricanes won their third in a row as Cam Ward stopped 18 shots and Patrick Dwyer scored shorthanded for the game's only goal at PNC Arena.

Ward allowed one goal in beating the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Sabres on back-to-back nights. Dwyer scored the game's only goal when he beat Ryan Miller with a sharp-angled wrist shot 2:39 into the second period with Carolina rookie defenseman Ryan Murphy in the penalty box.

"That's three games in a row that we're really pleased with that commitment that the guys are starting to make and understanding that if you do it, you can get success," Carolina coach Kirk Muller said.

Sabres coach Ron Rolston said his team wasn't at its best.

"I thought we were a little flat tonight, especially the first period," Rolston said. "We didn't do what we needed to do on the road and I thought we picked it up for a little better third period, but we just didn't have it."

Both teams are off until they open their seasons against the Detroit Red Wings -- Buffalo at Detroit on Wednesday; Carolina is home to the Red Wings two nights later.

Detroit Red Wings 5, Toronto Maple Leafs 2

Detroit's power play scored three times and Jimmy Howard made 17 saves at Joe Louis Arena to lead the Red Wings to victory in the first of a home-and-home series.

Henrik Zetterberg's man-advantage goal at 19:18 of the second period broke a 2-2 tie. Daniel Alfredsson and Johan Franzen scored power-play goals in the third period against Jonathan Bernier, who faced 37 shots.

"I thought we got better and better as the game went on and created some chances," said Alfredsson, who had missed Detroit's four previous games with a sore groin. "I had some very good looks where I didn't bury it, but it feels good when you have the puck and you're playing on the offensive side more. It gives you more energy, and I thought we had fun out there."

Nazem Kadri and Joffrey Lupul had goals for Toronto, which hosts the Red Wings on Saturday night.

"They kind of took over the game in the second period on us," Toronto coach Randy Carlyle said. "We were standing around watching them skate.

Dallas Stars 4, Edmonton Oilers 0

The Stars had little trouble beating the Oilers in Oklahoma City, home of Edmonton's AHL team, as Dan Ellis made 20 saves.

Austin Smith scored in the first period and Luke Gazdic made it 2-0 with the only goal of the second period. Vernon Fiddler added a third-period goal before Brett Ritchie hit the empty net with 7:26 remaining.

New coach Dallas Eakins wasn't happy with what he saw from the Oilers.

"It's good to let our team know that our diapers do stink... Sometimes it's good to get a kick in the butt," he said

"It's definitely a wake-up call as far as what we need to do before Tuesday," said Oilers forward Jordan Eberle, whose team begins its regular season at home against the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday.

Dallas is off until Thursday when it opens at home against the Florida Panthers.

St. Louis Blues 4, Minnesota Wild 1

The Blues got all their goals in the third period to beat the Wild at Scottrade Center in the preseason finale for both teams.

T.J. Oshie and Patrik Berglund scored 52 seconds apart to turn a 1-0 deficit into a 2-1 lead. David Backes and Chris Stewart chipped in with insurance goals. Alex Pietrangelo had two assists.

"This really from start to end was more our game," coach Ken Hitchcock said. "We looked organized on the ice, we had good spacing. We played a very strong game."

Jared Spurgeon's goal midway through the first period was the only one of the Wild's 19 shots to beat Jaroslav Halak.

Both teams open at home on Thursday: St. Louis hosts the Nashville Predators, while the Los Angeles Kings visit the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.

Boston Bruins 5, Winnipeg Jets 0

One night after needing overtime to beat the Jets in Winnipeg, the Bruins routed them in Saskatoon.

Carl Sodenberg's goal 26 seconds into the game got Boston off and running. Johnny Boychuk made it 2-0 before the end of the first period, Jordan Caron scored in the second and third-period goals by Nick Johnson and Patrice Bergeron completed the rout in front of a crowd of 12,500 that was heavily pro-Bruins.

Tuukka Rask had to make only 20 saves for the shutout as the Jets generated little offense.

"I can't say I really enjoyed it," Jets coach Claude Noel told the Winnipeg Sun when asked about his club's 1-4-3 preseason mark. "You start off the first shift and it's in our net. We made some mistakes and they jumped them. It wasn't about that. Our players have to look in the mirror with how we're going to prepare ourselves for the regular season. We've got a lot of work to do, let's put it that way."

The Bruins open their season Thursday night at home against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Winnipeg begins Tuesday night on the road against the Edmonton Oilers.

Phoenix Coyotes 2, San Jose Sharks 1

Oliver Ekman-Larsson's power-play goal with 2:28 remaining in regulation gave the Coyotes a victory at Jobing.com Arena in the final preseason game for both teams.

With Scott Hannan off for elbowing, Ekman-Larsson's wrister beat Alex Stalock to snap a 1-1 tie. Radim Vrbata's second-period goal gave the Coyotes the lead before Bracken Kearns beat former San Jose goaltender Thomas Greiss at 5:28 of the third period to get San Jose even.

"I thought it was a good evaluation game. There was good pace to the game," Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said. "They play hard and they play honest, so to have any success, you'd better play that way yourself. There weren't a lot of great plays made in the game, but there were a lot of solid plays."

Greiss stopped 25 shots and Stalock made 24 saves as both teams rested their starting goaltenders.

"It was a good night for us to evaluate players," San Jose coach Todd McLellan said. "It was a tight game, with not a lot of space."

Both teams start their season at home on Thursday. The Coyotes open against the New York Rangers; the Sharks host the Vancouver Canucks.

Los Angeles Kings 4, New York Rangers 1

The Kings breezed to victory in the first half of their annual Frozen Fury weekend in Las Vegas as the Rangers ended a week out West with four losses in as many games.

Anze Kopitar beat Henrik Lundqvist 15 seconds after the opening faceoff and the Kings never looked back. Jeff Carter added a power-play goal at 11:39 before J.T. Miller beat Jonathan Quick to get one back for the Rangers, who were shut out by the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday.

Mike Richards' wrister beat Lundqvist for a power-play goal at 17:27, and Trevor Lewis scored his first of the preseason at 16:15.

L.A. outshot the Rangers 33-23. The Kings face the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday in Las Vegas.

The Rangers will return to New York for a brief break before heading to Glendale, Ariz., and their season-opener against the Phoenix Coyotes on Thursday. It's the first of nine in a row on the road while the renovation of Madison Square Garden is completed.

"We didn't get the results we wanted [in the preseason]," said Lundqvist, who gave up nine goals in five periods in the losses to the Canucks and Kings, "but now we get home, regroup and we are excited to get going."

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