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Kadri's two goals help Leafs beat Senators 4-3

by John Kreiser /
Toronto finished last in the East in 2009-10, so there are jobs to be won during training camp. 2009 first-rounder Nazem Kadri gave management something to think about on Wednesday night.

After struggling through much of training camp, Kadri scored twice and set up Phil Kessel's game-winner with 1:50 left in regulation to give the Leafs a 4-3 victory over the Ottawa Senators.

Kadri hadn't done a lot up to this point to impress GM Brian Burke and coach Ron Wilson or convince anyone that he was ready for the NHL. But given a chance to play left wing on the top line with Kessel and Tyler Bozak, rather than as the No. 2 center, he took advantage and likely made the decision whether to send him down more difficult.

"It's about time I did something out here," Kadri said. "I capitalized on some chances and played well."

Nikolai Kulemin put the Leafs ahead at 8:08 of the first period before Kadri scored Toronto's second power-play goal of the period at 19:23. Ottawa tied it on second-period goals by Milan Michalek and Chris Campoli, then went ahead when Daniel Alfredsson beat Jean-Sebastien Giguere at 1:06 of the third.

But Kadri tied the game with 5:10 remaining in regulation by picking up his own rebound and beating Pascal Leclaire from in tight, then set up Kessel's power-play winner.

"There was some pressure because I haven't played my best, I've been struggling as you guys can see," Kadri said. "I kind of wanted to break out this game and turn things around and I feel I did that."

Wilson tried to downplay the importance of Kadri's showing.

"Let's stop with all the drama and last chance and all this other kind of crap that goes around," he said. "This is just a process we're going through. Some guys have played better than others, and they make the team based on their performance."

Senators coach Cory Clouston says his team still has plenty of room for improvement heading into a home-and-home series with the Rangers on Friday and Saturday.

"Everything needs to improve," Clouston said. "The power play wasn't very good, but everything needs to be better."

Flyers 3, Islanders 1

The Islanders became the last team to play a preseason game when they took the ice at the Wells Fargo Center, but they went home with their first loss when Jeff Carter scored two of Philadelphia's three first-period goals to beat a split squad.

James van Riemsdyk converted a feed from Mike Richards at 9:36 before Carter scored at 11:07 and again on a rebound at 19:18 against Dwayne Roloson, who finished with 33 saves.

The Flyers got forwards Ville Leino and Blair Betts into the lineup for the first time in the preseason as they work to get everyone ready for the season opener in Pittsburgh next Thursday.

"I thought they both played a good game," Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said. "Ville seemed to have the puck a lot tonight.  He made a lot of plays. I thought Blair did an excellent job, he looked like he hasn't missed a beat.  He did a great job on the penalty kill and had nice speed and energy and I thought both of them coming in to the first night, they did a good job."

Rookie Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 32 of 33 shots for the Flyers. Krys Kolanos scored during a third-period power play for the Isles' only goal.

"At the start we were a little sluggish, but I thought for the second two periods we played pretty well," forward Jon Sim told Newsday.

Flames 3, Islanders 2

The other half of the Islanders squad didn't fare any better, falling behind 3-0 against the unbeaten Flames in Saskatoon and coming up short despite a late rally.

Goalie Rick DiPietro, hoping to stay healthy for a whole season after missing most of the last two with knee and hip injuries, was beaten three times in the second period -- the last when he cleared a rebound off Ales Kotalik and into the net.

Rookie defenseman Calvin de Haan got one goal back late in the second period, and Trevor Gillies made it 3-2 at 3:30 of the third. The Isles pressed in the final minutes but couldn't get the tying goal past Leland Irving to give the Flames five wins in as many games and second in as many nights.
"It's about time I did something out here.  I capitalized on some chances and played well." -- Nazem Kadri

"Tonight was a tough game for us," Kotalik said. "Some guys played last night (at home against Phoenix) and were pretty tired. We were able to grind it out and come out hard and get the win."

The wins don't mean anything once the regular season begins, but Curtis Glencross, who scored Calgary's second goal, said getting into the habit of winning is important for a team trying to make the playoffs after coming up short last season.

"We have to go into regular season on a streak. Good habits start now," he said. "We're still getting the kinks out, but that's what preseason is all about, it's for getting the kinks out. I think people are starting to get back into the regular season mode so we're excited to get going."

The Islanders were the last team to play a preseason game, and coach Scott Gordon said the lack of game action showed.

"There's a little bit of rust," he said, "but considering we're playing a team that's been playing a few games, there's a lot more positive than negative. It's not like we need a major overhaul -- it's our first game. We weren't perfect, but they've played five games and have been far from perfect, so we're not going to complain."

Predators 4, Thrashers 3

Fortunately for the Thrashers, the preseason becomes merely a memory after this weekend. Atlanta fell to 0-4 when David Legwand scored midway through the third period to give the Predators the victory after they had blown a 3-1 lead.

Legwand's tip-in at 8:12 of the final period snapped a 3-3 tie. Martin Erat scored twice and Ryan Suter once for the Predators, 3-2-0 in the preseason.

Nashville led 3-0 in the second period before goals by Freddy Meyer and Ben Eager in a 2:52 span tied the score. The three goals, including one in the first period by Nigel Dawes, matched Atlanta's entire production in its first three preseason games.

"I would say we have made a lot of progress," said Atlanta defenseman Johnny Oduya, who scored twice. "There are still things to work on and every day we are working to get better. There are a lot of new faces and obviously the system is new to everybody. I think it feels better. It feels like we're right there. Obviously we have to get on the right side and win the games but I think if we keep working that's something that will come for sure."

Oilers 4, Coyotes 3 (SO)

Like their Alberta rivals, the Oilers are having a terrific preseason. Edmonton improved to 4-0 when Dustin Penner and Ales Hemsky scored in the shootout.

Phoenix took a 2-0 lead when Lee Stempniak and Kyle Turris scored 59 seconds apart in the first period. But Sam Gagner got one back for the Oilers late in the period during a power play, Alexandre Giroux tied it 3:15 into the second and rookie defenseman Colin McDonald gave the Oilers their first lead when he beat Ilya Bryzgalov at 7:13 of the third period.

The Oilers appeared headed for a regulation win, but Scottie Upshall tied it with 1:33 to play when he poked the puck past Martin Gerber while sliding toward the net after being hauled down by Edmonton defenseman Alex Plante on a partial breakaway.
"We did a lot of things right, just too many penalties. We're a work in progress still but I don't see any reason not to be confident we will be successful this season." -- Lee Stempniak

Penner scored in the second round of the shootout and Hemsky in the third, keeping last season's 30th-place finisher unbeaten heading into Friday's game against the Flames.

"It was good for us to get tested and pushed and at times not play very well," Oilers coach Tom Renney said. "It's important to test the resolve of your group."

It was the last game for the Coyotes before leaving for their Compuware NHL Premiere games, including a pair against Boston in Prague next weekend.

"There are things to improve but we accomplished a lot this preseason," Stempniak said after the Coyotes lost in Alberta for the second time in two nights. "We did a lot of things right, just too many penalties. We're a work in progress still but I don't see any reason not to be confident we will be successful this season. This Europe trip in exciting."

Sharks 6, Canucks 2

San Jose wrapped up its pre-European portion of the preseason by getting goals from six players to rout Vancouver in the back end of a home-and-home series.

Dany Heatley, Andreas Lilja, Joe Pavelski, Logan Couture, Jamie McGinn and John McCarthy all scored against third-stringer Eddie Lack for the Sharks, who dressed more regulars than they did in Tuesday's 4-1 loss at Vancouver. Four of the six goals came on the power play.

"We challenged our players, our whole team, to be better on special teams, and I think we saw that tonight," Sharks coach Todd McLellan said. "We had a much better power play, much more effective."

Antero Niittymaki made 19 saves, allowing only a pair of goals by newcomer Raffi Torres.

"That's one of the best teams in the league," Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said, "and that gives us an idea of where our guys are and where we need to be."

While the Canucks finish their preseason with a visit to Anaheim on Friday, the Sharks are heading for Mannheim, Germany, and an exhibition against Adler Mannheim of the DEL on Saturday. After that, they play two games against Columbus in Stockholm as part of the Compuware NHL Premiere series.

"We needed to win a game before we left, so this was a big win for us," McLellan said. "Some of the individuals who hadn't quite gotten their games in gear looked a little better tonight. It's important for us to build on it."

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