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Bruins edge Canadiens in Quebec City

by Brian Hunter
The Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens have taken turns knocking each other out of the Stanley Cup Playoffs the past two seasons.

Nothing was at stake in Sunday night's preseason game in Quebec City, but the Northeast Division rivals still provided the fans with an exciting finish as the Bruins received goals from Michael Ryder and Chuck Kobasew and held on for a 2-1 victory.

The Canadiens thought they had tied the game when Brian Gionta put the puck in the net off a rush with 4:30 remaining, but the play had been whistled dead on an offside pass.

"That was really cool," Bruins forward Mark Recchi said. "I got to be part of the Habs-Nordiques rivalry and that was amazing. The passion is still here, that's for sure."

Tuukka Rask finished with 25 saves as the Bruins won for the third time in four exhibition games. They were considered the home team Sunday, though the Quebec City crowd predictably seemed to favor the Habs.

"I can't say enough about the way he's playing right now," Boston coach Claude Julien said of Rask. "He played extremely well. He was just as solid as you want him to be. He kept us in the game when we needed him to and he deserves a lot of credit for this win."

Ryder, a former Canadien, opened the scoring 4:12 into the first period when his wrist shot changed directions off the knee of Montreal defenseman Ryan O'Byrne and fooled goalie Jaroslav Halak.

Kobasew netted the game-winner with 6:02 left in the second. Recchi grabbed a loose puck after Mathieu Carle sent a pass into the skates of his defense partner Josh Gorges, and Recchi found Kobasew at the right side of the net for a shot over a down-and-out Halak.

Gorges redeemed himself for the turnover by sending a shot from the point through traffic for a power-play goal in the third, but the Canadiens fell short after Gionta's goal was disallowed.

Wild 3, Blackhawks 0

Martin Havlat was a big part of the Chicago Blackhawks' revival last season. Now the skilled winger calls Minnesota home, and on Sunday night he contributed in a big way against his former team.

Havlat scored a pair of goals, his first in a Wild uniform, and another free-agent signee in Petr Sykora also tallied as Minnesota blanked Chicago 3-0 at Xcel Energy Center.

"I'm sure it's quite a relief for him," Wild coach Todd Richards said. "The thing I sense from him is he's really a good, honest guy, and he wants to come in here and do well. He wants to help the organization, he wants to help the other players. When you come in sometimes I think you put a lot of pressure on yourself, and for him to (score two goals) should feel pretty good."

Niklas Backstrom stopped all 11 shots he faced over the first two periods before Anton Khudobin made seven saves in the third to finish the shutout.

Havlat, who led the Blackhawks last season with a career-high 77 points, signed a six-year, $30 million contract with the Wild in the offseason. He converted Benoit Pouliot's feed for a tap-in 1:26 into the game for all the offense Minnesota would need, then made it a 2-0 game with a power-play goal at 13:31 of the third period.

"All five guys made good plays there and it ended up in the net after," Havlat said of the first goal. "Even the second one, a 5-on-3 on a power play, it was a great pass from Clutter (Cal Clutterbuck), so I just was trying to get in a position so it was easier to score."

Sykora, who just signed a one-year deal on Thursday, capped the scoring with 2:57 remaining. The 12-year veteran won his second Stanley Cup last season for Pittsburgh, and has scored 300 career goals while also playing for New Jersey, Anaheim, Edmonton and the New York Rangers.

"I know if I do what I need to do I will get scoring chances and I will have chances to score," Sykora said.

Blackhawks goalie Antti Niemi, bidding along with Corey Crawford to win the backup job behind Cristobal Huet, finished with 14 saves.

Flames 5, Panthers 2

Theo Fleury is proving himself to be more than a one-trick pony in his bid to come back to the NHL after a six-year absence.

Fleury, who scored the shootout winner in his first preseason game against the Islanders, tallied a goal and an assist against Florida in front of an adoring crowd at the Pengrowth Saddledome.

Fleury had the 19,289 in attendance chanting his name after he put a backhander between the pads of Panthers goalie Tomas Vokoun following a forehand deke. The goal at 7:53 of the third period capped the scoring and came just 25 seconds after an Olli Jokinen power-play goal.

"I looked up and I couldn't believe it was just me and Vokoun. A little forehand, backhand and five-hole," Fleury said. "When you play with great linemates it is easy to play. I thought our line did a good job of playing the system. We turned over a lot of pucks and got some chances."

Seeing time on a line with Daymond Langkow and Curtis Glencross, the 41-year-old Fleury set up Langkow's goal with 4:56 left in the second period to give the Flames a 3-1 lead.

"You can tell there is chemistry. They are obviously two top players and they have to be top players," Calgary coach Brent Sutter said.

Glencross finished with a power-play goal and three assists, Jokinen had a three-point night in his first game against his old team and Jarome Iginla recorded a goal and an assist for the Flames. Miikka Kiprusoff stopped 11 of 12 shots over the first two periods, and Leland Irving made 13 saves in the third.

"We took away the center of the ice and caused some turnovers and took advantage," Glencross said.

David Booth and Stephen Weiss scored the Florida goals. Vokoun finished with 31 saves.

Islanders 3, Oilers 1

Top draft pick John Tavares is on the scoreboard, and New York won its second game in Saskatoon in as many nights, topping Edmonton at Credit Union Centre.

Tavares, taken No. 1 by the Islanders back in June, assisted on a Matt Moulson goal midway through the second period that made it a 3-0 game.

"It's nice to get it," said Tavares, who was held scoreless in his only other preseason game, a 3-2 Edmonton win. "I knew my opportunities were going to come. Obviously it's nice once you start to produce some offense."

Tavares later had a breakaway but was stopped by Oilers goalie Devan Dubnyk.

"I just wanted to make sure I got a good shot off," he said. "I tried to catch (Dubnyk) off guard going far side, but he made a good save. Hopefully I can get my first one soon."

Radek Martinek and Josh Bailey put the Islanders ahead 2-0 with first-period goals. Martinek rifled a shot from just beyond the hash marks past Dubnyk, and Bailey would convert on the rebound of a Blake Comeau shot.

Martin Biron stopped 23 shots and had a shutout going until Patrick O'Sullivan took advantage of a defensive miscue to score the Oilers' lone goal.

"I thought it was a consistent 60-minute effort by our players right from the get go (tonight)," Islanders coach Scott Gordon said. "It didn't matter who was in the lineup (Saturday or Sunday), both groups executed perfectly. The fact that we can mix it up and get the same response from every player is excellent."

Avalanche 2, Blues 1 (OT)

Milan Hejduk scored 48 seconds into the extra period as Colorado rallied at Pepsi Center to defeat St. Louis.

More important than the result to the Blues was the power-play goal by defenseman Erik Johnson to open the scoring with 6:28 left in the first period. Johnson, the first pick in the 2006 Entry Draft, registered 33 points during a solid rookie season in 2007-08 but missed all of last season after tearing knee ligaments in a golf cart mishap.

T.J. Galiardi evened the score 3:09 into the third for the Avalanche and goaltender Peter Budaj finished with 24 saves.

Ty Conklin made 33 saves for the Blues, including a stop on an early breakaway by Hejduk -- but the sniper got revenge with the overtime goal.

Material from wire services and team online media was used in this report.

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