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5 things learned from Oct. 1 preseason games

P.K. Subban make good impression with Predators, Taylor Hall scores first goal for Devils

by Pat Pickens @Pat_Pickens / Staff Writer

Now that the 15-day, 106-game 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. 12.

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

P.K. is powerful: Defenseman P.K. Subban make his Nashville Predators debut at Bridgestone Arena, and it was the first preseason sellout in Predators history.

Subban did not disappoint. He had a goal and an assist in 22:18 of ice time, helped Nashville score three power-play goals and was the second star in the Predators' 4-3 win against the Tampa Bay Lightning. 

"Coming into this game, I just didn't want to hurt my team," Subban said after the game. "It's our first game in our building this year, and even though it's exhibition games, it means a lot for us to get this win just for our confidence and our guys."

Subban, acquired June 29 in a trade with the Montreal Canadiens for Shea Weber, battled an upper-body injury during training camp before returning to the ice Friday. 

Hall delivers: Taylor Hall was traded to the New Jersey Devils the same day Subban went to Nashville. On the same day Subban scored in his Predators debut, Hall scored his first goal for New Jersey.

Hall's power-play goal at 12:39 of the second period put the Devils ahead for good in their 5-4 win against the New York Rangers at Prudential Center. He had an assist on Beau Bennett's first-period goal and five shots on goal in 16:59 of ice time.

The Devils traded defenseman Adam Larsson to the Edmonton Oilers for Hall to help them improve upon their NHL-low 182 goals last season, and Hall can also help New Jersey score at even strength, where it had 126 goals. The Devils scored six goals in four preseason games, but that changed Saturday thanks to Hall's two points.

"It was nice to see some goals go in," Hall told NJ Advance Media. "You don't want to waste them before the season starts, but it was a game where there [were] high scoring chances on both sides."

Video: NYR@NJD: Hall kicks puck to stick, finishes for lead

Doan is home: Shane Doan waited until July 11 to re-sign with the Arizona Coyotes for his 21st season with the franchise. But he proved again against the Anaheim Ducks why he continues to be a valuable asset to Arizona's rebuild.

Doan led the Coyotes with six shots on goal, had the primary assist on Dylan Strome's game-tying goal and scored the game-winner in overtime of Arizona's 3-2 victory at Gila River Arena. 

Arizona added veterans including forward Ryan White, and defensemen Alex Goligoski and Luke Schenn, to help mentor some of its younger players. But Doan had 28 goals last season and still plays an important role for the Coyotes.

Motte earns a spot?: The Chicago Blackhawks have relied on young players to step in and fill roles in the past, particularly on their third and fourth lines. Tyler Motte may be another player who is finding a way to crack Chicago's veteran-laden lineup.

Playing on Chicago's third line, Motte scored twice and was the first star in its 4-0 win against the St. Louis Blues at United Center. Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville had some high praise for the 21-year-old after their first win of the preseason.

"He's special," Quenneville told the Chicago Tribune. "He did a lot of good things. We moved him up a couple of spots in the lines … he cashed in and did some really good things."

When Marian Hossa played for Team Europe at the World Cup of Hockey 2016, Motte had a chance to show his skills and hasn't disappointed. He played 2:11 of shorthanded time to help the Blackhawks kill four Blues power plays, including a two-minute, 5-on-3 in the second period.

A fourth-round pick (No. 121) of the Blackhawks at the 2013 NHL Draft, Motte scored 32 goals for the University of Michigan last season and was one of 10 finalists for the 2016 Hobey Baker Award. He had 105 points in 107 games in three seasons at Michigan, then signed a three-year, entry-level contract with the Blackhawks on April 6. 

He immediately impressed with Rockford of the American Hockey League, scoring five points in five regular-season games, and two goals in three Calder Cup playoff games. He's turning heads so far during Blackhawks training camp.

More World Cup attendees return: After a flood of World Cup players returned to action Friday, more made their preseason debuts during the seven games Saturday.

Forwards Patrick Kane, who played for Team USA, and Artemi Panarin (Team Russia) returned to the Blackhawks, and Panarin scored Chicago's first goal of the preseason. Forward J.T. Miller, who played for Team North America, had an assist for the Rangers, and Team USA forward Kyle Palmieri had two assists for the Devils. 

Goalie Braden Holtby, who played for Team Canada, saw his first action for the Washington Capitals in their 2-1 win against the New York Islanders in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Goalie Ben Bishop returned from Team USA to make 22 saves for the Lightning, and fellow Team USA goalie Cory Schneider was slated to start for the Devils before being scratched because of soreness.

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