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Oilers' prized youngsters lead the way vs. Coyotes

by John Kreiser

The NHL's last two No, 1 picks continue to mesh,

Taylor Hall, the top pick in 2010, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, selected first in the Entry Draft three months ago, combined for all three goals as the Edmonton Oilers rolled to a three-goal lead before holding off the Phoenix Coyotes 3-2 on Tuesday night,

Nugent-Hopkins had a power-play goal in the first period and set up two goals by Hall in the second, Linemate Jordan Eberle assisted on Hall's second goal, giving the Oilers' top trio a seven-point night,

"All three of us gelled together pretty quick and it paid off, I love playing with those guys, It's a ton of fun," Nugent-Hopkins said after his second game with Hall, "They make things easier for me because they played here last year, I'm just reading off them,"

Nugent-Hopkins opened the scoring at 17:50 of the opening period, banging in a rebound after Hall drove to the net and was stopped by Mike Smith, Nugent-Hopkins set up Hall for a high blast past Smith 1:10 into the second period, then sent him in for a shot past Smith's glove at 13:49,

"I didn't even need to call for it, He knew I was there," Hall said,

Not surprisingly, coach Tom Renney was delighted with what he saw,

"Ryan is a passer, He can certainly do that," Renney said, "The good thing about the kid is that he knows where the net is himself, They were a very effective line tonight,"

Former Oiler Ray Whitney scored late in the second period and captain Shane Doan beat Nikolai Khabibulin for a power-play goal with 5:29 left in regulation,

Penguins 3, Kings 2 (SO)

Pittsburgh and L,A, gave the sellout crowd at Kansas City's Sprint Center plenty of extra hockey for their money -- the teams were tied through 65 minutes and seven shootout rounds before Matt Niskanen beat Jonathan Bernier in round eight for the win,

"I didn’t anticipate that at all," Niskanen said with a smile when asked about being chosen for the shootout, "I knew I was probably pretty far down the list, ‘Flower’ (Marc-Andre Fleury) made a lot of saves, so it came to that, It was kind of fun,

I’m not a very good stickhandler, so I thought I’d just shoot it," Niskanen added with a grin, "And what do you know, it must have fooled him somehow,"

Jarret Stoll's goal 4:31 into the game was the only goal through two periods, Deryk Engelland and Chris Kunitz scored to give the Penguins the lead, but Kings defenseman Alex Martinez beat Marc-Andre Fleury with 6:17 left in regulation to force overtime,

After Stoll and Pittsburgh's Evgeni Malkin were the only scorers through seven rounds of the shootout, Niskanen won it by beating Bernier in the eighth round, spoiling a 39-save performance by the second-year goaltender,

"He was awesome tonight," Kings captain Dustin Brown said of Bernier, "I think he was really focused and saw the puck really well, They had some shots where they had some traffic, and he found a way to find the puck, I think that’s a sign of a goalie that’s ready to play,’’

Flames 2, Islanders 0

Henrik Karlsson stopped all 13 shots he faced as the Flames blanked an Islanders team that left most of its top guns at home,

Curtis Glencross swatted a backhander past Evgeni Nabokov for a shorthanded goal 4:10 into the second period, and newcomer Lee Stempniak finished off a perfect feed by Alex Tanguay 4:21 into the third,

Karlsson, who gave starter Miikka Kiprusoff the night off, was rarely tested -- the Isles' best chance came when Calvin de Haan rang the post on a power-play slap shot early in the third period,

"You have to stay focused, I think there was like four shots in first and like three in the second," he said,

"Some games are like that, You have to manage to play good in those kind of games,"

Flames coach Brent Sutter was pleased with what he saw after back-to-back weekend losses to the Oilers,

"I wanted to see the emotion and intensity level up," he said, "It was definitely our best preseason game, and not just because of the win,"

The best news for the Isles was the play of Nabokov, who stopped 15 of 16 shots in 40 minutes of work -- his first game action since leaving Russia early last season,

I liked him a lot," said assistant coach Dean Chynoweth, who ran the bench, "Our plan going in was just to give him two periods and then let Mikko (Koskinen) go for the third, We probably could have left him in, He’s chomping at the bit to get going, He’s been real good all camp,

Stars 4, Panthers 3 (OT)

Michael Ryder's goal 1:11 into overtime gave the Stars a win in Sunrise, Fla,, as Dallas improved to 4-1-0 in the preseason,

Florida outshot Dallas 26-3 in the third period and tied the game on late power-play goals 35 seconds apart by top draft pick Jonathan Huberdeau and Dmitri Kulikov,

"At the end of the night, we got our opportunities and we finally got rolling," Panthers coach Kevin Dineen said, "We got a couple at the end,"

But Ryder, who signed with the Stars as a free agent, beat rookie goaltender Jacob Plante for the win,

Tomas Fleischmann, one of the numerous newcomers on the Panthers' roster, had the only goal of the first period, But Dallas took a 3-1 lead in the second on goals by Tomas Vincour, Loui Eriksson and Toby Peterson,

Kari Lehtonen got plenty of work, going the distance and making 43 saves for the Stars,

"Kari was unbelievable, he’s the reason we won tonight," coach Glen Gulutzan said, "He was the difference tonight, especially when you take that many penalties, Your goalie has to be your best player and he was,"

Said Lehtonen: "That certainly was a lot of work there in the third period, We took a lot of penalties, It was good for me to play a lot of penalty-killing, especially in the preseason, It was good for me and it ended well,"

Blues 4, Wild 3

St, Louis rallied for a win in St, Louis as Matt D'Agostini tied the game with 7:30 left in regulation and Carlo Colaiacovo won it by scoring with 1:09 to play,

The Wild led 3-1 early in the second period on goals by Marek Zidlicky, Mikko Koivu and Brett Bulmer,

Newcomers Dany Heatley and Devin Setoguchi both had two assists,
Patrik Berglund got one back for the Blues at 8:45 of the second before the late comeback,

"I think we got what we deserved, to be honest with you," Wild coach Mike Yeo said, "You could see as the first period progressed, we started off doing the right things, But then it started to get away, as far as going north and playing in the offensive zone,

"Their team was able to stay with their game more consistently through the game, and when you play that way, as they did, you put yourself in position to take the game over in the third period."

Material from team media was used in this report

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