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preseason

5 things learned from Sept. 23 preseason games

Price pulled as precaution; Rask looks sharp in debut

by Adam Kimelman @NHLAdamK / NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

Now that the 16-day, 107-game NHL preseason schedule has begun, it's time to take a closer look at the players, teams and stories that are making headlines in the weeks leading up to the start of the regular season Oct. 2.

Here are five things we learned from the preseason games Monday:

 

Price pulled as precaution

Carey Price was scratched in a 3-0 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs at Bell Centre because of a bruised left hand.

Montreal coach Claude Julien said removing Price, who was expected to start, from the lineup was a precautionary measure and that the 32-year-old goalie could be back on the ice before the end of the week. 

"When he went to see the doctor, the doctor said for precautionary reasons we're going to keep him out for a few days," said Julien, who would not say when Price was injured.

Charlie Lindgren started for the Canadiens and made 22 saves.

 

Rask feels good in preseason debut

Tuukka Rask made his preseason debut for the Boston Bruins in a 4-3 overtime win against the Philadelphia Flyers at TD Garden, making 16 saves on 17 shots in two periods.

It was Rask's first game since losing to the St. Louis Blues in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final on June 12. Although the shortened offseason cut into his workout regimen, Rask said there was an advantage to playing again so soon.

"It's only a couple months since we last played, might be beneficial," he said. "Like today, it was pretty easy to jump in, see the puck, make the reads. Hopefully that continues."

Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said it was Rask's decision to play just the first two periods.

"It was up to him," Cassidy said. "It was going to be his workload depending on the game, how he felt. He just felt after two periods he had got his work in and felt that was enough for tonight."

Rask is expected to start the Bruins' preseason finale against the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday.

Video: Rask, Price earn No. 44 and No. 43 on Top 50 Players

 

Dobson continues to impress for Islanders

Noah Dobson had another strong game for the New York Islanders as he attempts to crack the opening-night roster.

The 19-year-old defenseman, who the Islanders selected with the No. 12 pick in the 2018 NHL Draft, had three shots on goal in 22:54 of ice time while also impressing defensively in a 3-2 overtime win against the Detroit Red Wings.

"He's poised beyond his years," New York coach Barry Trotz told the Islanders website. "His awareness is exceptional. Every game he looks more and more comfortable. I've used him with three different partners to see what partner could work with him if it gets to that point. It gives the veteran guys the opportunity to see how well they can work with the young guys."

 

Bjornfot has a fan in Doughty

Tobias Bjornfot has played well enough that he could possibly be with the Los Angeles Kings when they open the regular season at the Edmonton Oilers on Oct. 5.

The 18-year-old defenseman, who was selected by Los Angeles in the first round (No. 22) in the 2019 NHL Draft, was paired with Drew Doughty in a 3-0 win against the Anaheim Ducks at Staples Center and had three shots on goal, three hits and was plus-1 in 18:10 of ice time.

"I felt very good out there, and to play with Drew Doughty, they say he's a good person and a good hockey player, too, so I felt comfortable out there," Bjornfot told LAKingsInsider.com. "He makes it easy, he talks a lot, so it's easy to make the play, and he's a great hockey player, too."

Doughty knows what it's like for an 18-year-old defenseman to play in the NHL; he played 81 games with the Kings in the 2008-09 season after being selected with the No. 2 pick in the 2008 NHL Draft. 

"You don't see many defenseman at his age with that type of poise," Doughty said. "You'll see one guy a year come in and have that poise. He's toe-dragging guys out there, he's making plays back and forth to me on the blue line. Defensively, he's in the right spot. It's only [preseason], so that level of play isn't close to what it is in the regular season, but there's no about it in my mind he's going to be a [heck] of a player."

Doughty, Alec Martinez and Derek Forbort are expected to be the core of the Kings defensemen group. Joakim Ryan and Ben Hutton were signed as free agents, but there are other spots available. 

"They might want to send him (back to Sweden) because he's so young, but it's not because of how he plays," Doughty said. "He's played amazing. I think me and him work amazing together."

 

Canucks' potent power play

The Vancouver Canucks went 4-for-7 on the power play in a 6-4 win against the Ottawa Senators at Abbotsford Centre in Abbotsford, British Columbia.

Defenseman Alexander Edler played the point in the 1-3-1 formation, with forwards Elias Pettersson and Brock Boeser on the wings, Josh Leivo in the slot, and J.T. Miller in front of the net. 

Pettersson scored two power-play goals and Miller scored one. 

Last season, the Canucks were tied for 22nd in the NHL at 17.1 percent with the man advantage, but Pettersson is confident that number will go up this season.

"Last season, we made it too hard for ourselves," he said. "Now we move the puck to an open guy, we shoot when we should shoot the puck, don't hesitate so much. It's only one game, but it's a good start. ... We have five guys that can score. Not only targets from me and [Boeser] or Edler, we have good players down low that can make plays. Five of us are a threat out there and can score."

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