The Chicago Blackhawks left most of their big names home for Friday night's preseason visit to Detroit -- none of the players who took the ice for the defending Stanley Cup champs were older than 26. Detroit took the opposite stance, dressing many of its top players -- and one of the Wings' stars, Henrik Zetterberg, scored what proved to be the winning goal in a 3-2 victory at Joe Louis Arena.
After prospect Jan Mursak put the Wings in front, the veteran combination of Nicklas Lidstrom and Tomas Holmstrom made it 2-0 at 13:54 of the opening period when Holmstrom set up in front of goaltender Corey Crawford and deflected the puck into the net.
Jeremy Morin, part of the haul the Hawks received in the deal that sent playoff hero Dustin Byfuglien to Atlanta, cut the deficit to 2-1 with a power-play goal at 3:35 of the second. But just 72 seconds later, Zetterberg fired home a rebound after Crawford got his pad on Pavel Datsyuk's wide-open shot.
Chicago had just nine shots on Jimmy Howard through two periods, but Brandon Pirri scored against Joey MacDonald 40 seconds into the third. MacDonald stopped the other 10 shots he faced as the Wings atoned for a lackluster effort in Pittsburgh two nights earlier.
"It's always nice to win your home games," Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "You try to scratch and claw on the road, and I thought their lineup did a real good job of that."
The roles are likely to be reversed on Saturday, when the teams play again at the United Center. It's the Hawks' first home game since they won the Cup in Philadelphia last June.
"They brought their kid lineup in here today," Babcock said. "We'll see their real lineup tomorrow. That's what exhibitions are all about -- you get to watch the kids play under the gun.
The game marked the home debut for Mike Modano and Ruslan Salei, two veterans who joined the Wings' experienced core.
"I thought we had much better games out of Modano and Salei,'' said Babcock, whose team is 1-1 in the preseason.
Flyers 4, Maple Leafs 3 (SO)
The lack of video review in preseason games might have cost the Leafs, who thought they had won the game in overtime on a goal by Phil Kessel, only to have the goal washed out before dropping the game in a shootout.
The Flyers got goals by Nikolai Zherdev and Danny Briere in the final minutes of regulation to force overtime. But Kessel swatted at a deflected puck and appeared to deflect it past Michael Leighton with his stick. However, the referees ruled that it had gone in off Kessel's glove -- and because there's no video review in preseason, the call stood.
"I knew it was a goal, but I guess he thought I threw it in," said Kessel, who also scored in regulation. "What are you going to do? Regular season, I figure they go upstairs."
Claude Giroux and Briere scored in the shootout to give the Flyers the win. Brian Boucher played in the shootout after Leighton injured his back.
Jean-Sebastien Giguere, who looked sharp in what will likely be his lone preseason start, said the outcome should be a learning experience.
"I think the last five minutes we stopped skating," Giguere said. "We thought the game was in the bag. It's a good example for a young group -- hopefully we'll get a lesson out of this one and move forward learning something."
Penguins 5, Blue Jackets 4
Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin home, but Chris Kunitz had a goal and assist and Pittsburgh got third-period goals by Nick Johnson and newcomer Mike Comrie to win at Columbus.
Crosby skipped the game after sitting out the third period against Detroit on Wednesday night because of a sore hip flexor.
Kunitz got credit for the tying goal at 16:46 of the second period after the puck caromed off two Blue Jackets players on the power play. Johnson put the Penguins ahead at 8:13 of the third period by beating Mathieu Garon from between the circles. Comrie, a free-agent signee, put Pittsburgh ahead by two at 12:08, finishing off a nice passing play.
Arron Asham and Mike Rupp scored in the first 9:31 for Pittsburgh, which has won both of its preseason games.
Rookie Tomas Kubalik was the star for Columbus with three goals, the last with 44 seconds left. Kyle Wilson also scored for the Jackets (1-2-0).
"He had some opportunities and he's a big man that has a big reach and he hacked and whacked a couple of time for some big goals," coach Scott Arniel said. "He was good in Traverse City when we saw him up there. He's a top-six player and a guy that scored well in junior and spends time around that area, in front of the net. He can knock pucks down in front of the net."
Predators 2, Hurricanes 1
The Predators atoned for a loss to the Hurricanes in Nashville the night before thanks to goals by Jordin Tootoo and David Legwand 4:21 apart midway through the second period.
Patrick O'Sullivan scored a power-play goal 16:45 into the game for the 'Canes, who fell to 1-2 and have lost both of their games at home.
Tootoo scored the go-ahead goal with 7:54 left in the second, beating Justin Pogge. Legwand had tied it by stealing the puck from behind the net after Pogge left it for a teammate and tucking in a wraparound.
Anders Lindback stopped all 15 shot he faced for Nashville (1-1-0) after coming on midway through the second to relieve Mark Dekanich, who made six saves. Pogge stopped 25 shots for the Hurricanes.
O'Sullivan, who grew up in nearby Winston-Salem, N.C., and signed with the 'Canes as a free agent last week, put the Hurricanes up by scoring during a 5-on-3 advantage. It was his second goal in two nights.
"I'm trying to show what I can do and show a level of consistency," said O'Sullivan, who has 2 goals and an assist in Carolina's three preseason games. "I think I've played some decent games here."
Blues 5, Wild 0
Alex Steen and David Perron and a 21-save performance by Ty Conklin.
The Wild also lost goalie Josh Harding, who was playing for the first time since surgery to repair a partially torn hip labrum. He was carried off the ice after a collision midway through the first period. Harding was bowled over by Blues winger Brad Boyes, who was checked into Harding by Wild defenseman Greg Zanon. Harding went over on his back, threw off his glove and blocker and began motioning toward his hip. He was down several minutes on his back before being carried off by teammates. Matt Hackett stopped 23 of 28 shots after Harding left.
The Blues have whipped the Wild twice, winning by a combined score of 10-1 and scoring six times on the power play, including three on Friday.
"We did a lot of good things and got rewarded," Conklin said.
The Blues, with a raft of young talent, expect to make it back to the playoffs this season after coming up short in 2009-10.
"There's a lot of ability in this room," he said. "It's just a matter of doing it on the ice."
Stars 2, Avalanche 1
Kari Lehtonen got his first full season with the Stars off to a good start.
Lehtonen, acquired from Atlanta late last season, stopped 34 shots in his first preseason appearance as Dallas held off visiting Colorado.
James Neal and Steve Ott scored for Dallas, and Brad Richards had a pair of assists. But Lehtonen clearly was the star, allowing only a goal by Patrick Bordeleau at 9:15 of the third period.
"Our goalie was real good tonight," Stars coach Marc Crawford said. "I thought we did a real good job defending in the first period, and through all the power plays they ended up with, he was very strong. He made some very difficult saves look fairly routine and I think his calm and his demeanor in the net helped our defensemen and our defensive play."
Colorado got a power play with 1:36 remaining, Lehtonen stopped two shots by Brandon Yip in the final minute to secure the victory.
Lehtonen, who didn't play in the preseason opener, was glad to get the full 60 minutes.
"That's what you need to do during the season and if you play half or just two periods, you get things going and then you need to come out," Lehtonen said. "There's not that grind or that mental part of it to keep being focused. It's easy to be focused for a period, and that's what I need to get used to again."
Ducks 5, Sharks 4
Dan Sexton scored Anaheim's only even-strength goal of the night with 5 minutes left in regulation as the Ducks spoiled Antti Niemi's debut with the Sharks in a game that saw six fights and 144 penalty minutes.
San Jose outshot Anaheim 44-22, but the Ducks connected on four of 10 power plays -- including twice with a two-man advantage -- to beat the Sharks for the second time in three days. Corey Perry scored three times for Anaheim before Sexton got the game-winner after a turnover behind the net.
Joe Pavelski set up three of the Sharks' four goals. San Jose overcame deficits of 2-0, 3-2 and 4-3, pulling even at 4-4 when Torrey Mitchell scored 7:17 into the third period.
Sharks coach Todd McLellan was much happier than he was after Wednesday's 5-2 loss to the Ducks.
"I thought it was a huge difference from the Anaheim game," he said. "The Anaheim game was kind of 'Let's see how we're gonns react' and 'What is the other team going to do.' I thought both teams were ready to play tonight, and they played hard."
Five of the fights took place in a 1:55 span of playing time midway through the first period.
"That's to be expected at this time of year," McLellan said of the large number of penalty minutes. ""I liked that our guys played with more fire tonight."