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Hossa scores twice as Hawks beat Penguins 5-2

by John Kreiser
If Friday night's game is any indication, the Chicago Blackhawks are ready to defend their Stanley Cup championship.

The Hawks, dressing most of what figures to be their opening night lineup, got two goals from Marian Hossa and beat Pittsburgh 5-2 in a meeting between the last two Stanley Cup champions.

The Penguins left Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin back in Pittsburgh, which made it a little easier for the Hawks, but even the presence of the Pens' top stars might not have helped in a game the Blackhawks (2-4-0) dominated.

"We've still got a couple of games, and it's important to get better every day," said Patrick Sharp, who scored Chicago's second goal. "We've still got to build and improve in a lot of areas before next Thursday. But it's nice to win; it's nice to win at home. There were some positive things out there, some good performances from players, and that's always nice to see."

The only bad note for the Hawks was that defenseman Brian Campbell left in the second period with an undisclosed injury and didn't return.

"He's going to be re-evaluated by the doctors in the morning, and we'll have a more concise opinion on the injury," Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "It was a hit along the boards that didn't look like it was malicious and looked more innocent than anything."

Pittsburgh forward Arron Asham played just two shifts before leaving with an upper body injury.

After a scoreless first period, Fernando Pisani opened the scoring at 4:20 of the second, one-timing Dave Bolland's feed over Marc-Andre Fleury's glove. Sharp made it 2-0 at 13:47 with a power-play goal on a shot through a screen after the Penguins failed to clear the puck.

Hossa gave the Hawks a three-goal lead just 19 seconds into the third by outracing Pittsburgh defenseman Simon Despres to a loose puck on the right boards and then driving to the net to beat Brent Johnson, who played the third period. Patrick Kane scored a power-play goal at 5:56 before Alex Goligoski scored on a rebound at 10:40 to break up Corey Crawford's shutout.

Craig Adams made it 4-2 with 1:18 left, but Hossa replied with his second goal 17 seconds later.

"The first half of the game I thought we did some good things," Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said. "There were parts of our game where I thought we were at our best during the preseason so far. I think once we got behind I think we were looking a little bit to make a cuter play … it wasn’t our best last 30 minutes of hockey."

Capitals 5, Blue Jackets 3

Last season's Presidents Trophy winners look like they're ready to go. Eric Fehr scored twice as Washington beat Columbus at the Verizon Center to improve to 5-0-0 in the preseason.

Brooks Laich, Nicklas Backstrom and Alexander Semin also scored for the Caps, who can wrap up the first perfect preseason in franchise history by beating Nashville at home on Sunday afternoon. Alex Ovechkin and Mike Green each had a pair of assists.

"We can win all the preseason games in a row, and in two weeks, no one's going to know what our record was in the preseason," Caps coach Bruce Boudreau said. "We want to win the game Sunday -- you never want to lose -- but next week they'll get fired up for the real thing."

Kyle Wilson, Nick Holden and former Washington captain Chris Clark had goals for the Blue Jackets, who are 3-4-0 entering Saturday night's home game against Atlanta. After that, they fly to Europe, where play Malmo of the Swedish Elite League on Tuesday and begin the regular season with two games against San Jose in Stockholm as part of Compuware NHL Premiere.

Fehr opened the scoring 6:29 into the game and broke a 3-3 tie at 5:02 of the third period when he took a pass from Mathieu Perreault and beat Mathieu Garon. The goal came just 50 seconds after Clark tied the game.

Ovechkin, playing his second game of the preseason, and Green had assists on a goal from Backstrom that gave Washington a 3-2 lead 71 seconds into the third period. Ovechkin, who added another assist on Semin's empty-netter, was involved in a third-period skirmish with Columbus' Nick Holden and drew a double minor for roughing penalty.

"The physical play sort of woke everybody up," Boudreau said.

The Jackets' Mike Blunden was called for a four-minute high-sticking penalty just 13 seconds into the second period and Laich gave Washington a 2-0 lead 10 seconds later.

Wilson's shorthanded goal cut Washington's lead to 2-1, and Holden tied the game at 14:03 of the second.

Flyers 3, Sabres 1

The Flyers broke an 0-for-18 drought with the extra man as Nikolay Zherdev and James van Riemsdyk scored second-period power-play goals.

Blair Betts added an empty-netter for the Flyers (5-1-1) and Brian Boucher stopped 32 shots to win the opener of a home-and-home series. The teams meet again in Buffalo on Sunday to complete their preseason play.

The Flyers need Boucher to step up with starter Michael Leighton sidelined due to back problems.

"I feel more comfortable this year," Boucher said.  "You know the guys. Even though I’ve been here before there’s all new guys so it’s a different situation.  But this year I feel more comfortable knowing the guys and after what we accomplished last year we should feel good about ourselves. I’m healthy and I was banged up a bit last year but now I feel really good.  When you feel real good it translates into your play."

Zherdev trickled a shot through Ryan Miller's legs 1:14 into the second period for his fifth goal in six games. Van Riemsdyk converted the rebound of Matt Carle's shot at 7:43.

Derek Roy scored Buffalo's only goal on a 2-on-1 rush just 17 seconds into the third period.

Red Wings 7, Maple Leafs 3

The Wings put on a good show for the fans who turned out at Joe Louis Arena, thanks to new linemates Jiri Hudler and Mike Modano. Hudler scored twice and Modano had a pair of assists in their first game together with linemate Dan Cleary.

"It was good tonight. We were moving the puck and moving our legs a bit," said Modano, who signed with Detroit as a free agent after 20 years with the Dallas Stars.

Hudler got his first two goals since leaving Detroit after the 2008-09 season to play in Russia's Kontinental Hockey League last season.

"Just trying to learn each other on the ice," Hudler said. "He's been in the league for 20 years. It's not going to be hard for him to read the ice."

Hudler's power-play goal 8:45 into the game made it 2-0, and he tipped in a shot by Brian Rafalski at 7:29 of the second.

Niklas Kronwall and Johan Franzen each had a goal and an assist and Jan Mursak, Jakub Kindl, and Henrik Zetterberg also scored for Detroit (3-3-0). Phil Kessel had a goal and an assist and Tyler Bozak and Mikhail Grabovski also scored for the Maple Leafs (4-3-1).

"The Red Wings were flying. Jussi struggled a bit," Toronto coach Ron Wilson said. "When you get behind the 8-ball an open the game up to get back into the game, it's not the way you want to play the Red Wings."

Hurricanes 2, Thrashers 1 (OT)

Brandon Sutter scored his second goal of the game at 1:06 of OT to send the Hurricanes off to Europe on a winning note.

Sutter got behind Bryan Little, took a back-door pass from Erik Cole and beat Ondrej Pavelec for the winner. He also had a second-period power-play goal.

Cam Ward stopped 30 shots for the Hurricanes (3-2-0), but was beaten on Nik Antropov's snap shot from the right circle after the winless Thrashers pulled Pavelec.

It made for a successful getaway day for the Hurricanes, who played a rare weekday matinee because they were leaving for Europe after the game. They wrap up the preseason Monday in Russia against SKA St. Petersburg before opening the regular season against Minnesota next week in Helsinki, Finland.

For more on the Hurricanes, click here.

Lightning 2, Panthers 1 (OT)

Defenseman Mike Lundin's goal 3:21 into overtime gave Tampa Bay a win at Florida in the opener of a home-and-home series.

Lundin scored with the teams playing 3-on-3, giving the Lightning a 3-1-1 preseason record. Tampa Bay is 12-3-3 in preseason games during the past three years. Simon Gagne scored a second-period goal for the Lightning.

Jason Garrison banged in his own rebound with 5:25 left in regulation for Florida, which dropped its second consecutive game after winning its first three.

Goalie Mike Smith made 29 saves in his first start of the preseason for Tampa Bay since breaking his finger during practice Sept. 20. Tomas Vokoun stopped 40 shots for Florida and helped the Panthers kill off eight Tampa Bay power plays. Florida is now 32 for 32 in penalty killing this preseason.

"The penalty-killing was great, but there were way too many penalties," Florida coach Peter DeBoer said. "We can't play that way. We had no offensive rhythm -- your best offensive players are sitting there getting cold. We can't take that many penalties."

The teams meet Saturday night in Tampa in the preseason finale for both clubs.

Flames 5, Oilers 1

Calgary warmed up for this season's Battle of Alberta and improved to 6-0-0 in the preseason as Jarome Iginla scored twice in the Flames' victory at Edmonton, handing the Oilers their first loss in five games.

Iginla put the Flames ahead 2-1 with 16.8 seconds left in the second period when he got past defenseman Theo Peckham and beat Nikolai Khabibulin, who was making only his second appearance since a back injury last November ended his season.

Iginla scored again 13 seconds into the third period, and late goals by Jon Rheault and T.J. Brodie put the game away.

Edmonton actually took the lead when enforcer Steve MacIntyre tipped a shot past Henrik Karlsson. Niklas Hagman tied it with a power-play goal at 11:31.

"They had the momentum at 1-0," Iginla said. "Fortunately we were able to weather it and I felt we got stronger as the game went on. They came out with a good push early. It was the quickest game we have seen yet in the preseason."

Rookie Henrik Karlsson stopped 20 shots for the Flames, who hope he can provide some support for starter Miikka Kiprusoff this season.

"He played really well," coach Brent Sutter said. "I was a little worried in the first period and part of the second where there were some rebounds out in the slot. But from that point on he seemed to control it and got really in sync for us once our bench got short. He was stellar from that point on."

The teams meet again in Calgary on Sunday and then face off for real in their season-opener on Thursday back at Rexall Place, so Oilers coach Tom Renney wasn't concerned about the loss.

"It's exhibition game number five," he said. "We have never suggested that we didn't have a lot of work to do and some nurturing of individuals that are brand new to us. I think we have demonstrated some chemistry but it is getting tougher now.

"As a coaching staff we would have liked to see something like this happen a little earlier to be honest so we would have had more time to work with the team as reality sets in."

Canucks 4, Ducks 2

Henrik Sedin's power-play goal with 5:05 remaining in regulation broke a 2-2 tie and Ryan Kesler hit the empty net as the Canucks closed out their preseason schedule with a victory.

With Luca Sbisa in the penalty box for roughing, Daniel Sedin found his twin brother along near the right post for an easy tap-in. Kesler's empty-netter wrapped up the Canucks' third win in eight preseason games.

Mason Raymond's shorthanded goal 14:01 into the game put the Canucks ahead, but Anaheim tied in on Saku Koivu's power-play goal early in the second. Alex Edler's power-play blast beat Jonas Hiller at 7:14 to put Vancouver back in front.

"They are a good team and deep up front," Koivu said. "They have six good, mobile defensemen there. The one thing that really shows on their team is they have had a group of guys there for quite awhile. The system is very familiar for them. They play it tight and wait for opportunities. They have the skill to capitalize."

Matt Beleskey tied it again 3:55 into the third period by knocking his own rebound past Cory Schneider, but the Ducks still lost their third in a row and are 2-4-0.

"We’ve been improving," Koivu said. "We’re a lot better right now than we were 10 days ago. That is a good sign. But there are still things that we have to get better at."

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