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5 things learned from Sept. 23 preseason games

Red Wings christen new arena with win; Williams filling key roles with Hurricanes

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Now that the 16-day, 109-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 on Oct. 4.

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

 

Red Wings open new arena with win

The Detroit Red Wings opened their new home with the kind of performance their fans hope to see more of.

Forwards Frans Nielsen and Martin Frk each scored two goals and the Red Wings defeated the Boston Bruins 5-1 on Saturday at Little Caesars Arena. It was Detroit's first preseason win after losing its first three games, all on the road.

Though the building was not completely full, Little Caesars Arena was extremely loud - just as the Red Wings had stressed to the architects when the building was being designed.

Video: BOS@DET: Frk notches his second goal of the game

"It was cool," coach Jeff Blashill told the Red Wings website. "When I stand on the bench, when you go to a watch a new rink, sometimes they look cavernous, big, almost look like soccer stadiums but this thing feels like they're on top of you.

"And the other thing I'd say is I think it's going to be a really, really loud building. Even at the end when the fans were cheering it was really loud. You put more people in the stands and it's going to be a real loud building."

The Red Wings play their first regular-season game in their new home against the Minnesota Wild on July 1.

 

Williams scores for Hurricanes in return to Washington

Forward Justin Williams is expected to fill a lot of roles with the Carolina Hurricanes after signing as a free agent this summer. He's a three-time Stanley Cup winner who's being relied upon to add a winning presence to a team that hasn't made the Stanley Cup Playoffs since 2009. But he's also adding some punch to the Hurricanes' power play.

Williams scored a man-advantage goal Saturday to help Carolina defeat the Washington Capitals 4-1 at Capital One Arena, and has power-play goals in back-to-back games.

"There's been a lot of [power plays], so that's worked. We're shooting pucks. We're still getting a feel for everyone," Williams told the Hurricanes website. "We've been able to break in nicely and I feel we've had a lot of good opportunities."

The Hurricanes signed Williams on July 1 after he spent the past two seasons with Washington. Coach Bill Peters is already delighted with what the 36-year-old brings.

"He's going to be an asset in all areas," Peters said. "He's a guy who knows how to play. He makes a lot of subtle little plays 5-on-5, he's good on the bench and good in the room and you know what he's all about."

 

Brown continuing push to make Senators

Forward Logan Brown, the Ottawa Senators' first-round pick (No. 11) in the 2016 NHL Draft, continues to push for a spot on the opening-night roster. Brown helped his cause by scoring two goals and assisting on another in aa 5-1 victory against the Montreal Canadiens at Canadian Tire Centre.

"It feels good, definitely, to keep the confidence up," the 19-year-old said, according to the Ottawa Citizen. "I had a really good opportunity with my linemates. I just tried to make the most of it and have fun out there. It ended up being a good night."

Video: MTL@OTT: Brown tips in his second goal of the game

Coach Guy Boucher said the Senators' young players will force the team to make some tough decisions.

"You've got guys that were pushing last year that have worked really hard and are pushing really hard," he said. "Then you've got young guys who are way above where we thought they would be. It's a credit to our scouts. It's becoming quite exciting."

 

Granlund in midseason form for Wild

Forward Mikael Granlund, the Minnesota Wild's top scorer last season with 69 points, picked up where he left off last season by scoring one goal and assisting on another in a 2-1 win against the Colorado Avalanche at Xcel Energy Center.

It was Granlund's first appearance after sitting out Minnesota's first two preseason games. He said he still felt rusty, even if the scoresheet said otherwise.

"Your timing is off, everything is off," Granlund said of seeing his first game action, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. "When you get a couple games in, you start feeling better. So now that was the first one and let's move on."

 

Korpisalo bounces back for Blue Jackets

Backup goaltender Joonas Korpisalo made 52 saves and helped the Columbus Blue Jackets hold off the Chicago Blackhawks 3-2 at United Center. Korpisalo's performance came four nights after he allowed all five goals in a 5-2 loss to the Blackhawks in Columbus.

The Blue Jackets, playing against a lineup that included many of Chicago's regulars, were outshot 54-21.

"Korpisalo stood on his head," defenseman Ryan Murray told the Blue Jackets website. "He was phenomenal."

 

Crosby in lineup for Penguins at Hockeyville USA game

Sidney Crosby will play when the Pittsburgh Penguins face the St. Louis Blues in the Hockeyville USA game at UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex in Cranberry, Pennsylvania (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN). The lineup released by the Penguins also includes forwards Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel, defenseman Kris Letang and goaltender Matt Murray.

 

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Here is the full schedule for Sunday (all times ET)

Predators at Blue Jackets, 3 p.m.
Panthers at Lightning, 4 p.m.
Wild at Avalanche, 5 p.m.
Golden Knights at Ducks, 8 p.m. (NHL.TV, PRIME)
Blues vs. Penguins, 8 p.m. ET (NBCSN)

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