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5 things learned from Oct. 5 preseason games

Matthew Tkachuk impresses Flames, Matt Duchene makes preseason debut with Avalanche

by Mike G. Morreale / Staff Writer

Now that the 15-day, 106-game preseason schedule has begun, it's time to take a closer look at the players, teams and stories that are making headlines in the weeks leading up to the start of the regular season Oct. 12.

Here are five things we learned from the preseason games Wednesday:

Tkachuk stars for Flames: Rookie left wing Matthew Tkachuk, taken with the No. 6 pick in the 2016 NHL Draft by the Calgary Flames, is making a good case for remaining on the opening-night roster.

Tkachuk continued a strong training camp when he scored in regulation and had the shootout winner in a 2-1 victory against the Arizona Coyotes at Scotiabank Saddledome.

"The goal is to get better every single day," Tkachuk told the Flames website. "If I'm fortunate enough to stay I just want to help this team win. Obviously, you want to stay. You want to be on this team. I just want to keep getting better every day. As long as I'm getting better every day there's no worries."

Tkachuk, who had four shots on goal in 16:47 of ice time, has scored two goals in four preseason games.

"Right from the moment he's got here he's played hard every shift, every game," Flames coach Glen Gulutzan said of Tkachuk, the son of U.S. Hockey Hall of Famer Keith Tkachuk. "He's certainly making it hard. You can see the talent in Matthew. He's a real good kid. He's a tenacious worker. He's serious about the game. Obviously it comes through the bloodlines. He's making it real tough."

International flair: Carolina Hurricanes coach Bill Peters has liked the chemistry between Sebastian Aho, Teuvo Teravainen and Elias Lindholm during the preseason.

Lindholm scored in a 3-2 win against the Buffalo Sabres at Essar Centre in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.

"They seem like they're getting some chemistry developed," Peters told the Hurricanes website. "They were very good on the power play. That's something we'll keep together for the foreseeable future and see if it can grow."

Finland-born Teravainen and Aho, who represented his country at the World Cup of Hockey 2016, and Sweden-born Lindholm have generated quality scoring chances during their time together.

"They're three real smart players, and when they get working down low, you can see it's tough for D-men to contain them because they're so shifty and so smart," center Jeff Skinner said. "It's pretty exciting to see them, individually and a line, grow throughout the next few days in camp and in the season. It's nice to have that threat, and I'm looking forward to watching them."

Duchene debuts for unbeaten Avalanche: Colorado Avalanche center Matt Duchene made his preseason debut on a line with Nathan MacKinnon and Gabriel Landeskog in a 1-0 road win against the Dallas Stars.

Duchene, who played for Team Canada in the World Cup of Hockey 2016, took two shots in 19:41 of ice time. That included 7:27 on the power play.

Andreas Martinsen scored in the first period and Calvin Pickard made 28 saves to help Colorado to a 5-0-0 record. The Avalanche, the only unbeaten team in preseason, have outscored opponents 14-4 and are 21-for-21 on the penalty-kill.

Colorado concludes its exhibition schedule against the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday in the Frozen Fury matchup at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Buzzing Bertuzzi: Rookie left wing Tyler Bertuzzi of the Detroit Red Wings had a goal and an assist in a 5-2 win at the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Bertuzzi also had two hits in 13:56. He played 2:21 on the power play.

He has had a good training camp after opening some eyes at the Traverse City prospects tournament in September by scoring four goals and finishing with five points, a plus-1 rating and 17 shots on goal in four games.

Bertuzzi, who had 12 goals, 30 points and 133 penalty minutes in 71 games in Grand Rapids of the American Hockey League last season, might get an opportunity with the Red Wings if he can display a more complete game. He was chosen in the second round (No. 58) of the 2013 NHL Draft.

"I think you need to be an overall player, you can't just be one way," he said after the Traverse City tournament. "You've got to have bits and pieces of a lot of different things. I'm coming into training camp this year with one goal and that's to make the NHL. I will do whatever it takes."

Bernier backstops Anaheim: Goaltender Jonathan Bernier made 22 saves to give the Anaheim Ducks their first win of the preseason, a 2-0 victory against the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center.

Anaheim forwards Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf and Ryan Kesler made their preseason debuts. Perry scored in the second period to give the Ducks their first preseason win (1-4-1).

The Ducks acquired goalie Bernier from the Toronto Maple Leafs on July 8 in a trade for a conditional draft pick. Bernier was 12-21-3 with three shutouts, a 2.88 goals-against average and a .908 save percentage in 38 games with Toronto last season. He is 88-88-23 with a 2.67 GAA, a .915 save percentage and 12 shutouts in the NHL.

Bernier was selected by the Los Angeles Kings in the first round (No. 11) of the 2006 NHL Draft and has played eight seasons with the Kings and Maple Leafs.

The Ducks and Sharks will close out the preseason on Sunday at Honda Center.

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