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Caps rally to beat Sabres in shootout

by John Kreiser
With most of his regulars in the lineup, Washington coach Bruce Boudreau got the kind of effort he wanted.

The Caps tied the game on Matt Hendricks' goal with 6:27 left in regulation, then won it on Nicklas Backstrom's goal in the sixth round of the shootout as they beat the Buffalo Sabres 4-3 on Friday night.

Washington is just 2-3-1 in the preseason, but the team that played Friday night looked more like the one that has Stanley Cup ambitions.

Matt Hendricks
Center - WSH
GOALS: 9 | ASST: 16 | PTS: 25
SOG: 113 | +/-: -2
"That was the first time we had most of our guys playing," Boudreau said, "and we were playing a very good Eastern Conference team and we wanted to gain confidence in ourselves. We know we’re pretty good when we play as hard as we can."

Buffalo led 3-2 after two periods, but Washington outshot Buffalo 15-3 in the third and got even when Hendricks fired the rebound of Mike Green's blast from the point past Ryan Miller. It might have been the Caps' best period during the preseason.

"I thought everybody played well in the third, from (goaltender Tomas) Vokoun right up through our [defense] and right up through the forwards," Hendricks said. "We gave Miller a lot of rubber there at the end of the game and a lot of traffic. The team is really starting to come together and I think our system work is getting better and better every day."

Thomas Vanek had a pair of goals and assisted on Jason Pominville's first-period backhander. Buffalo flies to Europe on Saturday and will begin its season against Anaheim in Helsinki on Friday.

Maple Leafs 4, Red Wings 3 | Highlights

Mike Komisarek's goal 2:21 into overtime gave the Leafs a win at Joe Louis Arena in the first of a home-and-home series.

Mike Brown added two goals and rookie defenseman Jake Gardiner had a goal and an assist for Toronto. Jonas Gustavsson stopped 26 shots.

Mike Komisarek
Defense - TOR
GOALS: 1 | ASST: 9 | PTS: 10
SOG: 48 | +/-: -8
Todd Bertuzzi, Gustav Nyquist and Johan Franzen scored for Detroit. Thomas Holmstrom had two assists and Jimmy Howard made 15 saves.

Gardner opened the scoring with the only goal of the third period, and Brown's first goal at 3:05 of the second made it 2-0. But the Wings dominated the rest of the period and pulled even on goals by Bertuzzi and Nyquist.

"I thought early they were better than us," Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "I thought they played with more energy. I thought our kids were good. I didn’t like the veterans early. I thought we took over the game in the second period, and created lots of chances.

Franzen put the Wings ahead 1:39 into the third, but Brown tied it 66 seconds later. Komisarek beat Howard from the top of the right circle for the winner.

"We can’t give up four goals on 20 shots," Babcock said. "That’s just not good enough, any way you look at it."

Leafs coach Ron Wilson was pleased but wasn't making too much of the victory.

"I think it's too early to be worrying about character and building stuff like that," he said. "Our defense did a good job, and our young guys played particularly well. I'm glad at the end that (Komisarek), who seems to have found himself, scored the winner."

Oilers 4, Wild 3 (SO)

Edmonton forced overtime on late third-period goals by Linus Omark and Ryan Jones, then won it when Anton Lander scored in the shootout. But the Oilers' biggest concern was the condition of defenseman Taylor Fedun, who was taken off the ice on a stretcher after getting his skates tangled with a stick while racing Minnesota's Eric Nystrom for a loose puck on an icing call. Fedun was taken to the hospital with what the Oilers said was a complex fracture of the lower right femur.

Nystrom was given a five-minute major penalty for boarding and a game misconduct.

"Obviously, I had no intention of ever, ever doing anything like that," he said. "I was just racing for an icing and that’s just one of those freak things that happens in those situations. That’s why people always talk about that rule.

"It was nothing malicious," he said. "I feel awful. He was really hurt."

Said Oilers coach Tom Renney: "There should be more to the penalty than what it was, but the referees called it exactly the way it should have been called. On an icing play when you have your stick in someone's feet, regardless of whether you're going for the puck or not, that's a very, very, very dangerous play. The young fellow probably lost his season, and who knows beyond that."

Edmonton was forced to play part of the second period and all of the third with only three defensemen after Ladislav Smid (right shoulder) and Taylor Chorney (right knee) also went down with injuries.

Lander, who also scored on a second-period penalty shot, had the only goal of the shootout. Devan Dubnyk made 22 saves through 65 minutes and three more in the tiebreaker. Pierre-Marc Bouchard scored in the second period, and goals early in the third by Mikko Koivu and Devin Setoguchi appeared to give Minnesota a safe lead before the Oilers rallied.

"That shows the mettle of our team," Renney said of the late comeback. "Regardless of who's here, this exhibition schedule and a game like tonight will galvanize the whole group."

Kings 3, Ducks 1

They didn't have newly signed Drew Doughty in uniform yet, but the Kings did get a big goal from a defenseman as they beat their Southern California rivals in Anaheim. Willie Mitchell scored with 5:43 remaining to break a 1-1 tie and Anze Kopitar hit the empty net for the final margin.

Willie Mitchell
Defense - LAK
GOALS: 5 | ASST: 5 | PTS: 10
SOG: 59 | +/-: 4
Doughty signed an eight-year contract earlier in the day; he's not expected to dress Saturday night in Las Vegas. He may play in Tuesday's exhibition game in Germany before the Kings open against the Rangers in Stockholm. Anaheim is also headed for Europe; the Ducks start their season in Helsinki against Buffalo.

After a Ducks turnover in the neutral zone, Mitchell ripped a slap shot from the left circle past Dan Ellis into the top far corner to break the tie.

"The one thing that Willie Mitchell can do is shoot the puck," coach Terry Murray said. "When he has some time to get it away, he can beat a goaltender. He’s done it before and he did it again tonight.”

Mike Richards raced through the middle and beat Jonas Hiller with a wrister 1:08 into the second period to open the scoring. Teemu Selanne tied it with a power-play goal midway through the period.

"We’re not very happy with the way we played," Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said. "We’ll address it and move forward. It was the last preseason game. In my mind, we didn’t play an NHL type of game. We played more of a shinny type of game. It looked like summer hockey at times. We have to be better than that."

Jonathan Bernier made 28 saves for L.A. Hiller stopped 12 of 13 shots before Ellis relieved him.

Predators 3, Jets 2 (SO) | Highlights

Nashville improved to 6-1-0 in the preseason when Cal O'Reilly scored the only goal of the shootout.

The game was tied 1-1 after two periods before Nashville's David Legwand took advantage of a slashing penalty by Jets rookie Mark Scheifele to score the go-ahead goal at 7:28 of the third period. Scheifele made up for it at 13:07 when he tied the game with his fourth goal of the preseason.

Cal O'Reilly
Center - NSH
GOALS: 6 | ASST: 12 | PTS: 18
SOG: 44 | +/-: 4
O'Reilly had the only goal of the first period. Jets captain Andrew Ladd tied it at 5:57 of the second.

"It was like a playoff game out there, it was fun to play," O'Reilly said. "The energy the crowd brings really picks up the intensity."

Winnipeg coach Claude Noel said he's pleased at the play of Scheifele, the Jets' top pick in the Entry Draft this past June, and that it's now a matter of doing a deal to get him permanently in a Jets' jersey.

"These things get worked out," he said. "I absolutely love the kid and I think our whole organization does."

"He's an excellent player ... It's his mind that's so sharp."

It was the last tune-up for the Jets before they open their season at home on Oct. 9 against Montreal -- the first NHL game in Winnipeg since April 1996.

Devils 1, Islanders 0

Johan Hedberg, shelled on Long Island last Saturday, stopped all 16 shots he faced in Newark as the Devils made David Clarkson's first-period power-play goal stand up.

"It was better than giving up six goals," Hedberg said of the 6-2 loss on Long Island. "It's more the feelings that you get back -- like I'm doing the right things on the ice, reading the plays right. I felt it's coming."

Johan Hedberg
Goalie - NJD
RECORD: 15-12-2
GAA: 2.38 | SVP: 0.912
Hedberg didn't see a shot on goal through the first 14 minutes and was rarely tested, but coach Peter DeBoer was still pleased with what he saw.

"I thought he was at the top of his game," DeBoer said of the 37-year-old, who will back up Martin Brodeur again this season. "At the morning skate he knew he was going to get some work with a young group in front of him and he came prepared to play. I thought he was great."

Clarkson beat Rick DiPietro from the slot at 11:28 on one of seven New Jersey power plays. Six came in the first two periods; the other came when top draft pick Ryan Strome drew a major penalty for boarding with 3:14 remaining.

"The guy kind of turned into me. I don't know how bad it was. I didn't mean to hit him too hard," Strome said. "I guess we'll see what happens."

The Islanders, who left most of their top forwards home, generated little offense. They've been shut out in both preseason games this week after beating Hedberg and the Devils 6-2 at home. New York also lost rookie forward Nino Niederreiter with a first-period groin injury.

The best news was that DiPietro looked good while playing the full 60 minutes.

"He made some key saves at some key moments in the game," Islanders coach Jack Capuano said. "He made some timely saves… (He let up) a power play goal from the slot, but he made some good saves for us, especially on their power play tonight."

Blue Jackets 3, Hurricanes 2

Martin St. Pierre's backhander beat Cam Ward to snap a third-period tie and give the Jackets a win in Raleigh.

For's complete game story, click here

Material from team media was used in this report
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