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Give him a Pat on the back

by Brian Compton /
Chicago Blackhawks' Patrick Kane celebrates after scoring what would become the shootout-winning goal against Dominik Hasek and the Red Wings.
Welcome to the National Hockey League, Patrick Kane.

The No. 1 overall pick in the 2007 Entry Draft scored the only goal in a shootout as the Chicago Blackhawks picked up their first victory of the season with a 4-3 win over the Detroit Red Wings at the United Center on Saturday night.

Kane, an American who grew up in Buffalo idolizing Hasek, beat his boyhood hero in the shootout with a backhand shot to the goalie’s glove side.

“The next thing you know, I’m going down against him in a shootout,” said Kane. “Time flies by, but it’s unbelievable I scored my first goal – and it’s not really a goal – on Dominik Hasek, the guy I used to grow up watching.”

Kane also picked up the first point of his professional career with an assist on Tuomo Ruutu’s goal midway through the second period.

Chicago rallied from a 3-1 deficit by scoring in the third period. James Wisniewski got the Blackhawks within one with a shorthanded goal 3:41 into the period before Robert Lang scored his first Chicago goal with 3:40 remaining in regulation.

The Red Wings – who got a goal and an assist from defensemen Brian Rafalski and Nicklas Lidstrom – are 18-1-4 in their last 23 games against the Blackhawks.

“What can I say … he was better than me today,” Hasek said of Kane. “He made a nice shot to the backhand. I was expecting a (different) shot and was closing the five-hole and he made the backhand shot. Still, it’s disappointing to lose when you’re up 3-1 in the third period.”

Kane was the first shooter in the breakaway round – a scenario Blackhawks coach Denis Savard had predetermined.

“He’s a special kid,” Savard said. “He’s a kid who thrives under pressure and he wants to be the guy.”

Certainly, Kane was the guy on Saturday night.

“It’s been a whirlwind couple of months,” Kane said. “It was a great night for me and I had fun out there, too.”

The Blackhawks held a pregame tribute in honor of owner William W. Wirtz, who passed away on Sept. 27.

Islanders 3, Sabres 2
Mike Comrie didn’t need very long to become a crowd favorite on Long Island.

The New York Islanders’ new No. 1 center had a pair of goals for the second straight night as the Isles completed a home-and-home sweep of the Sabres by winning their home opener at the Nassau Coliseum.

Comrie, who signed a one-year deal with New York on July 5, broke a 1-1 tie 1:47 into the third period when he took a pass from captain Bill Guerin and beat Sabres goalie Ryan Miller with a backhander for his third goal of the season. Comrie gave the Islanders a two-goal lead less than seven minutes later when he grabbed a loose puck in the slot and fired a wrist shot past Miller to make it 3-1.

“I think I’m on pace for 328 points,” Comrie joked. “Our line has been given a role to work hard and score goals. We’ve done that, but it’s two games.”

In his Islanders’ debut on Friday night, Comrie scored two goals and added two assists in a 6-4 win at Buffalo. His production has certainly provided hope for Islanders’ fans that there is life after Ryan Smyth and Jason Blake, who left via free agency. The Isles’ all-newcomer top line of Comrie, Ruslan Fedotenko and Guerin has combined for 16 points in the team’s first two games.

Defenseman Chris Campoli also scored for the second straight night for New York. Jaroslav Spacek and Jochen Hecht tallied for Buffalo.

The Islanders will look to make it three in a row on Monday, when they host the Washington Capitals in a holiday matinee. Another victory and those who picked the Isles to finish last in the Eastern Conference may begin to think twice.

“It’s been like that since I’ve been here,” said Islanders goalie Rick DiPietro, who made 30 saves. “We’ve always been picked to finish last, second to last. I think we’re doing the right things here to be successful.”

Penguins 5, Ducks 4
The weary Anaheim Ducks gave it everything they had in the final game of their season-opening five-game trip, but it still wasn’t enough against the speedy young Penguins in their home opener.

Ex-Duck Petr Sykora had two goals and Sidney Crosby earned his first point of the season as Pittsburgh held off the defending Stanley Cup champs, who played the final game of a five-game season-opening swing that began in London last weekend.

Sykora snapped a 3-3 tie with his second goal with 6:28 in regulation. Just 19 seconds later, Crosby beat defenseman Chris Pronger to the puck and sent Ryan Malone in alone for what proved to be the game-winner.

''Everyone was motivated to play these guys,'' Crosby said as the Penguins followed up a season-opening, 4-1 loss at Carolina on Friday. ''They're the champions, and we were all up for this game, playing Anaheim and it's the home opener.''

The Ducks, who are also without injured goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere and defenseman Mathieu Schneider, finished 1-3-1 on their long trip.

''We'll be better when we get our group together,'' coach Randy Carlyle said.

Maple Leafs 4, Canadiens 3, OT
Maple Leaf Nation can calm down – for now.

Tomas Kaberle scored a power-play goal 3:26 into overtime at the Air Canada Centre as the Leafs rallied from a 3-1 deficit for their first win in three games.

Toronto erased a 3-2 deficit when Alexei Ponikarovsky beat Habs goalie Cristobal Huet for his second goal of the night at 2:55 of the third period.

“Finally, Ponikarovsky exhaled. “We worked hard for it. The first two games we’ve been working hard, but we didn’t get the results we wanted.”

Goaltender Vesa Toskala, playing in his first game as a Leaf, made 25 saves. He faced just five shots in the third period before making three saves in OT.

“He’s a great goaltender – there’s no question about it,” Leafs forward Jason Blake said of Toskala. “He played outstanding tonight. He was the difference-maker and it was good to see.”

Senators 2, Rangers 0
Martin Gerber is starting to remind Ottawa fans why the Senators shelled out big money for him in the summer of 2006.

Gerber won for the third time in four nights, stopping all 35 shots he faced for his eighth career shutout as Ottawa beat the Rangers at Scotiabank Place.

The Senators gave Gerber all the support he would need in a 53-second span early in the first period. Defenseman Andrej Meszaros scored a shorthanded goal at 4:47 and Daniel Alfredsson – who picked up an assist on Meszaros’ goal – beat Henrik Lundqvist with a short wrist shot at 5:41. Alfredsson has scored in each of Ottawa’s first three games this season.

“After we scored those goals we had a little bit more control of the game, but at the beginning we were a little bit flat,” Gerber said. “They came out really hard, but by scoring those two goals we were really able to slow them down a little bit.”

The win only solidified Alfredsson’s belief that the Senators can win, regardless of whether Gerber or Ray Emery – who’s recovering from wrist surgery – is between the pipes.

“Everybody said that you can’t have two No. 1 goalies, it takes up a little cap room, but it’s a good comfort to have,” Alfredsson said. “Both of them, we know what they can do and it’s obviously nice for Marty to see him playing this well when we need him to.”

Rangers forward Sean Avery suffered a shoulder injury following a hit by Ottawa’s Chris Neil 7:23 into the game. He did not return.

Devils 4, Panthers 1
New coach Brent Sutter gave Martin Brodeur a rare night off – and was rewarded with his first NHL victory. Backup Kevin Weekes made 32 saves as the Devils spoiled Florida’s home opener at the BankAtlantic Center.

Brodeur sat out – a rarity at any time, but especially this early in the season – and Weekes stepped up by stopping 20 shots in the first period of his first game since playing for the Rangers in January, John Madden gave New Jersey a 1-0 lead 1:02 into the game, then broke a 1-1 tie with his second goal of the night 3:32 into the second period. Andrew Greene and Mike Mottau also scored for the Devils, while rookie defenseman Cory Murphy scored for Florida, which lost its second straight.

“It has been a long time,” the Devils’ backup netminder said. “But at the same time, I’m thankful for every day. Be thankful for your health, and you work hard and hopefully good things will happen.”

Sutter wasn’t interested in patting himself on the back after recording his first NHL win.

“I don’t get caught up in that as far as myself,” Sutter said. “The main thing is I want these players to have success.”

Capitals 2, Hurricanes 0
Alex Ovechkin, minus the tooth he lost to a stick on Friday night, was all smiles after scoring his first goal of the season and helping the Capitals improve to 2-0-0 for the first time in five years.

Goaltender Olaf Kolzig, who sat out the Caps’ opener in Atlanta on Friday, made 23 saves at the Verizon Center to record the shutout. The Caps made it easy for him by outshooting Carolina 14-2 in the opening period.

Ovechkin reached the 200-point mark when he scored 14:24 into the game, and Milan Jurcina gave Washington a two-goal lead five minutes into the second period by scoring on a power play. The Capitals have won their last six home openers and look primed to make a run at the playoffs with Ovechkin leading the way.

“We play better as a team,” said Ovechkin, who blocked a shot in the closing seconds to help keep the Hurricanes off the scoreboard. “We play better for each other.”

Lightning 5, Thrashers 2
Things are looking good in Tampa Bay. Brad Richards and Vaclav Prospal each scored twice as the Lightning improved to 2-0-0 for just the third time in franchise history by beating Atlanta at the St. Pete Times Forum.

Prospal is off to a hot start after a season in which he scored only 14 goals despite appearing in all 82 games. He has three goals in two games this season.

“I just didn’t want to go through what I went through last season,” Prospal said. “Everybody struggles, but it’s always easier when you get to the point in the season when you have something to look back to. Last year, from the beginning, I didn’t really have anything to look back to. For the team, for me personally, it’s always great when we get off to a good start like this.”

Vinny Lecavalier had the Lightning’s other goal, his third in two games.

“I know it’s early in the season, but I really like how all four lines are really playing with a lot of tempo,” Richards said. “I haven’t seen that in a while here.”

The Thrashers managed only 15 shots in the loss, their second in two nights. They’ve been outscored 8-3 in their first two games.

Oilers 5, Flyers 3
Last season is quickly becoming a distant memory in Edmonton, where the Oilers have won their first two games. Ex-Flyers Geoff Sanderson and Joni Pitkanen combined for three goals and Dustin Penner notched his first as an Oiler as Edmonton handed Philadelphia its first loss of the season.

Pitkanen broke a 3-3 tie with his first goal of the season – sort of – 1:10 into the third period. He got credit when Flyers’ forward Mike Knuble accidentally knocked the puck into his own net as he rushed back to help brush away a loose rebound.

Sanderson and Pitkanen arrived in Edmonton via a trade with the Flyers that sent Jason Smith and Joffrey Lupul to Philadelphia.

“I’m not going to lie to you, it’s sweet,” Sanderson said of his big night against his former club. “I’m embarrassed with the way things happened there last year. This was a nice way to start things off here in Edmonton.”

Newcomer Daniel Briere scored again for Philadelphia, his third goal in two games as a Flyer. Jeff Carter and Simon Gagne also scored for the Flyers, who opened the season with a 3-2 win at Calgary on Thursday.

“We ran into some collapses where guys looked like they weren’t used to the system or used to each other,” Briere said. “The frustrating part is we were able to bounce back in the game and then blew it in the third period. We had our chances, but it was a little disappointing.”

Predators 5, Stars 1
Someone forgot to tell the Nashville Predators they were supposed to struggle after losing a lot of their top players during the summer. The Preds made it 2-for-2 as David Legwand notched his second career hat trick and Chris Mason made 28 saves at the Sommet Center.

“The season is a marathon, but we can sprint out to the lead,” Legwand said. “It’s a long season, with another big week in front of us. I have to keep it going and the team has to keep it going.”

Mason almost had his second straight shutout until Krys Barch scored for the Stars with 6:46 remaining in regulation.

Martin Erat and J.P. Dumont also scored for the Predators. Legwand completed the hat trick with just 59 seconds left in the game.

“A lot of our offense came from good defense,” said Nashville coach Barry Trotz, whose team started last season with three straight losses. “All of those goals were transitional-type things that got us back into their zone. Solid defense leads to good offense. That is the right way to play.”

Wild 3, Blue Jackets 2
At least one thing hasn’t changed from last season: The Minnesota Wild are tough to beat at home.

The Wild improved to 2-0-0, with both wins at the Xcel Energy Center, behind third-period goals by Eric Belanger and Brent Burns. Pierre-Marc Bouchard also scored for the Wild, Brian Rolston chipped in with three assists and goalie Niklas Backstrom made 19 saves.

“We capitalized on a couple turnovers by them and that was the difference in the game,” Rolston said. “I think we caught them on a change one time, and the other time we got a real nice break off a skate.”

Defensemen Ron Hainsey and Adam Foote scored for Columbus, which once again was forced to play without center Michael Peca due to back spasms.

“I think early, the first 20 games, everyone knows how important points are, and how critical it is to get off to a good start,” Blue Jackets coach Ken Hitchcock said. “That’s why I was disappointed for us. Back-to-back we had the game that we wanted, but we made some errors and they ended up in our net.”

Bruins 3, Coyotes 1
Boston’s first win in Phoenix in 10 years came at a high price.

Patrice Bergeron and Chuck Kobasew scored in a 38-second span and Tim Thomas made 38 saves at Arena as Boston won in Phoenix for the first time since Oct. 8, 1997. But the Bruins lost their top scorer, center Marc Savard, with what was described as a “core” injury. He left in the second period and didn’t return.

"I went to take off and I felt something," the 30-year-old said. "We'll work on it and hopefully we can locate the exact spot." Bruins coach Claude Julien said Savard will be re-evaluated Sunday.

Marco Sturm also scored for the Bruins, who prevented the Coyotes from getting off to a 2-0 start for the first time in four years. Niko Kapanen scored the lone goal for Phoenix in the second period.

“I like the way we were shooting pucks to the net, but we have to capitalize on our power play," said Coyotes coach Wayne Gretzky, whose club was 0-for-4 with the man-advantage. "We've got our work cut out for us."

Canucks 4, Flames 3, OT
The Canucks played “Beat the Clock” in overtime to win in Calgary after blowing a 3-1 lead in the third period.

Daniel Sedin scored a power-play goal with five seconds remaining in OT, eight seconds after Dion Phaneuf was sent off for hooking. Sedin barely nudged the rebound of Mathias Ohlund’s shot over the goal line for Vancouver’s fourth power-play goal in eight chances.

Daymond Langkow single-handedly sent the game into overtime by scoring twice in a span of 6:17 in the final period. Langkow has four goals in Calgary’s first two games. Defenseman Cory Sarich had Calgary’s other goal, his first in 95 games.

The Canucks got a scare late in the second when Langkow was cross-checked from behind by Vancouver defenseman Aaron Miller, knocking him into star goaltender Roberto Luongo. Favoring his left knee, Luongo laid on the ice for a couple minutes while the trainer attended to him. But he stayed in the game.

Blues 5, Kings 3
Father really does know best.

Andy Murray bested son Brady as St. Louis erased a three-goal deficit by scoring four goals in the third period to win for the first time this season.

After Los Angeles got two goals from Dustin Brown and one from Mike Cammalleri to take a 3-1 lead in their home opener, Keith Tkachuk cut the deficit to one by scoring 2:38 into the third period. David Backes tied the game on a tip-in just over three minutes later, and rookie Erik Johnson’s first NHL goal with 7:17 remaining proved to be the game-winner. Jamal Mayers scored his second of the night into an empty net with 48 seconds remaining.

Brady Murray, a left wing, was scoreless with two shots on goal in 11:22 of ice time. Andy Murray, who coached the Kings for more than five years, improved to 4-0 against his former club. It marked his second return to Los Angeles since taking the Blues’ job last December. The Kings were playing for the first time since splitting a pair of games with Anaheim in London last weekend.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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