Ovechkin didn't turn on the red light in his 2010-11 debut, but he did have a couple of assists and banged a few bodies on Tuesday night as the Washington Capitals beat the Boston Bruins 3-2 at Verizon Center. Ovechkin set up a first-period goal by Mathieu Perreault and assisted on Alexander Semin's go-ahead goal at 19:14 of the second.
"I just gave them the puck and they scored the goals," he said. "It was easy."
Ovechkin finished with three shots and delivered several big checks. With 3:03 left in the game, he got into a shoving match after being run into the boards headfirst by Gregory Campbell. Ovechkin retaliated by slashing Campbell with a one-handed stick swing, and both players received minor penalties.
"That check at the end made us nervous," coach Bruce Boudreau said. "Ovi's the leader and he plays the way he does. If he doesn't duck his head, he could have been seriously hurt. I don't blame him for going back at him."
Cory Eakin's wrister at 5:27 of the third period made it 3-1 and proved to be the winner when Brad Marchand scored at 11:56. Michal Neuvirth stopped 20 of 22 shots for the Caps, who are unbeaten in their three preseason games.
All in all, not a bad debut for Washington's captain -- but Boudreau admitted Ovi isn't ready for opening night just yet.
"It was his first game. He was just getting his feet wet," Boudreau said. "He didn't play anywhere near the way he can play."
Penguins 4, Blackhawks 1
Forgive Pittsburgh fans for wishing their team could bank up some of their preseason wins to save for the regular season. Evgeni Malkin scored as the Penguins made it 4-for-4 by winning a meeting between the last two Stanley Cup champions.
"I think since the first day of camp we have stressed that we have to create a new identity here," center Max Talbot said. "It's not something where you get a new building and you just start winning games. If we would have started 0-3 we might have wondered about winning here. But even more importantly have been the details of the game and getting the guys to do the right thing."
Malkin opened the scoring 12:21 into the game, Dustin Jeffrey scored 3:46 into the second and third-period goals by Nick Johnson and Mark Letestu -- both of which deflected into the net off Chicago defenseman Brent Seabrook -- put the game away. The Sidney Crosby-less Penguins outshot a Chicago lineup that didn't include Jonathan Toews, Marian Hossa and Duncan Keith 39-22. Rookie Kyle Beach had the only goal for the Hawks.
Letestu is among a number of young forwards trying to win jobs on a team that's got some vacancies on the wing.
"I worked hard this summer just to have this camp like this," Letestu said. "The praise is nice, but it's only as good as your last game. I got a little bit of work left to do in the preseason, but so far so good."
Blue Jackets 3, Wild 2 (SO)
A preseason shootout win isn't a big thing for the Jackets -- the fact that 2008 first-rounder Nikita Filatov scored during regulation and again in the shootout mattered much more.
Filatov and Nick Holden scored third-period goals after Matt Cullen and Eric Nystrom scored in the second for the Wild, (0-3-2). He and Kristian Huselius scored in the shootout after Mikko Koivu connected on the first shot for Minnesota.
"We need everyone firing on all cylinders and I think we got more contributions tonight from players whose games in the first four games weren’t great," Wild coach Todd Richards said. "I am coming out of tonight with some positives but obviously we have a lot of work in front of us."
Filatov spent most of last season on loan to a Russian team and is trying to win a job under new coach Scott Arniel, who was impressed with the 20-year-old's goal.
"He can hit those one-timers pretty good," Arniel said. "I was complaining to (Assistant Coach) Bob (Boughner) that he was drifting deeper and deeper into the corner. He had the perfect angle and it was a heck of a shot and a good fake by Anton (Stralman) too. It's a great shot."
Avalanche 2, Stars 1
Paul Stastny scored two goals and Peter Budaj made them stand up as the Avs beat the visiting Stars.
Avs coach Joe Sacco was pleased with the way his team shut down the Stars.
"Tonight we only gave up 20 shots, and they only had about 15 shots until the last few minutes," he said. "One of our trademarks has to be that we're a team that's on the attack, a team that's putting shots to the net, and I thought we did that."
Flames 3, Coyotes 1
Jarome Iginla scored 17 seconds into the game and Niklas Hagman had a goal and an assist as the Flames beat Phoenix in Calgary to improve to 4-0-0.
Iginla knocked in Olli Jokinen's rebound before many of the fans in the Pengrowth Saddledome had sat down. Shane Doan tied it at 5:36 off a feed by Wojtek Wolski after a turnover by Jay Bouwmeester, but Hagman beat Jason LaBarbera 1:20 into the second period to put the Flames ahead to star.
Rookie defenseman T.J. Brodie added his third goal in two games to give the Flames some third-period insurance.
Rookie goaltender Henrik Karlsson stopped 19 of 20 shots for Calgary. LaBarbera allowed three goals on
"It was really nice to be out there on the ice and play for the home fans for the first time," said Karlsson, who was acquired from San Jose during the summer and figures to back up Miikka Kiprusoff. "I was a little bit nervous before the game but really happy that we could win and put on a good performance."
The lone sour note for the Flames was losing Jokinen midway through the second period with an apparent pulled muscle in his back. The Flames are already without centers Matt Stajan (separated shoulder) and Daymond Langkow (neck).
"He’ll be fine," coach Brent Sutter said. "It's mild and we didn't want to mess with it."
Canucks 3, Sharks 1
Vancouver looked sharp in front of the home folks, getting goals by Mikael Samuelsson and Mason Raymond in the first 11:02 to beat the Sharks in the opener of a home-and-home series.
The Canucks looked much sharper than they did two nights earlier in an embarrassing 8-2 loss to Edmonton.
Antti Niemi less than six minutes later. Jeff Tambellini scored midway through the second period before Dany Heatley beat Cory Schneider for San Jose's lone goal at 16:19 of the period. Heatley's linemate Joe Thornton was among the front-liners who stayed home and will dress for the rematch in San Jose on Wednesday.
Niemi finished with 19 saves in his first full game for the Sharks since signing with San Jose as a free agent after leading Chicago to the Stanley Cup last spring.
Kings 8, Ducks 3
The Kings rode a four-goal first period to a demolition of their Southern California rivals, as Jack Johnson scored twice and Anze Kopitar added four assists.
Johnson set up Dustin Brown's game-opening goal at 7:32 of the opening period and capped the outburst exactly 10 minutes later by scoring to make it 4-0. In all, the Kings outshot Anaheim 23-7 in the first 20 minutes.
"We got off to a good start, and things went well for us. It's something to build on," Brown said. "I think that's probably the first game where we've had a pretty full lineup. We were missing a couple players, but we're starting to get dialed in a little bit more, each and every game, and tonight we played pretty well."
After Anaheim's Todd Marchant scored early in the second period, the Kings got a late power-play goal by Michal Handzus before Johnson capped a three-goal burst in the third period. Dan Sexton and Marchant scored in the final three minutes for the Ducks.
Material from wire services and team media was used in this report.