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5 things learned from Sept. 24 preseason games

Crosby makes debut for Penguins at Hockeyville; Fleury strong in first game with Golden Knights

by Mike G. Morreale @mikemorrealeNHL / Staff Writer

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 Sunday:


Crosby makes debut for Penguins at Hockeyville USA 

Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby had an assist in his preseason debut, a 4-1 loss to the St. Louis Blues in the third annual Kraft Hockeyville USA game at UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex.

Crosby assisted on a goal by Jake Guentzel on a 2-on-1 to give Pittsburgh a 1-0 lead 2:05 into the first period. Guentzel leads the Penguins with six points (two goals, four assists) and is tied for the lead with Jay McClement with 26 shots in two preseason games.

Forwards Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel and defenseman Kris Letang also played their first preseason game in front of 1,500 fans at the Penguins' practice rink. Vladimir Tarasenko, Jordan Kyrou, Paul Stastny and Dmitrij Jaskin scored for the Blues, and goaltender Carter Hutton made 28 saves.

"It's fun for everybody, including the kids to see it up close," Crosby said. "We usually practice here with a few people in the building; not necessarily sold out like that. For them to be able to share that with us and for us to be able to share that with them was pretty cool."

Video: Hutton, Tarasenko lead Blues to 4-1 victory over Pens


Fleury golden for Vegas

Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury had a successful preseason debut for the Vegas Golden Knights when he made 26 saves in a 4-2 win against the Anaheim Ducks at Honda Center. 

"It felt good; I've been waiting to get some of the rust off, and the guys played really well in front of me," Fleury told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. "We have three games left. Hopefully, I can play a couple more. But that's up to the coach. There are some little things I think we still need to work on but I thought the defense helped me see the puck."

Fleury, 32, last played for the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs when he allowed four goals on nine shots in the first period before being replaced by Matt Murray in a 5-1 loss to the Ottawa Senators. 

Vegas coach Gerard Gallant was satisfied with the effort by his veteran goalie.

"[Fleury] was the difference," Gallant said. "He came up with some big saves."

Fleury won the Stanley Cup three times with the Penguins (2009, 2016, 2017) before being selected by the Golden Knights at the NHL Expansion Draft in June.

Video: Fleury makes 26 saves, wins debut with Golden Knights


Barkov, Huberdeau return for Panthers

Florida Panthers forwards Aleksander Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau each made their preseason debut in a 4-2 win at Amalie Arena. 

Barkov and Huberdeau played with Evgenii Dadonov on Florida's top line, which combined for four points (two goals, two assists). Huberdeau had two points (one goal, one assist) and was plus-1. 

Dadonov, who scored one goal, is replacing right wing Jaromir Jagr on the line. Jagr, whose 1,914 points (765 goals, 1,149 assists) are second in NHL history behind Wayne Gretzky (2,857), remains an unrestricted free agent.

Dadonov has one goal and five shots on goal in two preseason games.


Fiala scores twice for Predators

Left wing Kevin Fiala scored twice to help give the Nashville Predators a 5-3 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena. 

Fiala gave Nashville a 3-1 lead with 1:50 remaining in the second period when he turned a Blue Jackets defender around and deked Columbus goalie Sergei Bobrovsky. His second goal was into an empty net with 32 seconds left in the third. 

Fiala, who has three points (two goals, one assist) and 10 shots in three preseason games, seems to have rebounded well after breaking his left femur in Game 1 of the Western Conference Second Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs against the St. Louis Blues last season. 

"It was a great (goal)," center Filip Forsberg told the Predators website. "That's just the things that he can do. He's just so skilled and it was a beautiful goal."


Varlamov returning to form

Goaltender Semyon Varlamov, who missed eight months while recovering from hip surgery to repair a groin injury on Jan. 26, is making a nice comeback after a second strong preseason performance with 28 saves in a 5-1 win against the Minnesota Wild at Pepsi Center. 

"My body feels 100 percent," Varlamov told the Avalanche website. "That was a big question for me before the training camp; how my body would react, when I'm going to push myself, when I'm going to push the limits. The practices are different, but when you play the 60 minutes, you really need to work hard and make sure your body feels good."

Varlamov has a 1.00 goals-against average and .961 save percentage in two preseason wins. He's made 49 saves on 51 shots; allowing two power-play goals. 


PEI to host 2017 Kraft Hockeyville Canada 

The Ottawa Senators and New Jersey Devils will play a preseason game as part of the 2017 Kraft Hockeyville Canada at Credit Union Place in Summerside, Prince Edward Island (6 p.m. ET; NHLN, SN1, NHL.TV). The game will benefit Kraft Hockeyville Canada winner O'Leary, a small community in the western part of PEI. 

Fans can catch the game, along with seven others, on NHL.TV.



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Here is the full schedule for Monday (all times ET):

Devils vs. Senators at Summerside, PEI, 6 p.m. (NHLN, SN1, NHL.TV)

Blackhawks at Bruins, 7 p.m. (NESNplus, WGN, NHL.TV)

Devils at Islanders, 7 p.m. (MSG+, NHL.TV)

Flyers at Rangers, 7 p.m. (MSG, NHL.TV)

Canadiens at Maple Leafs, 7:30 p.m. (TSN4, TSN2, RDS, NHL.TV)

Penguins at Red Wings, 7:30 p.m. (FS-D, ATTSN-PT, NHL.TV)

Flames at Jets, 8 p.m. (NHLN (joined in progress), TSN3, NHL.TV)

Avalanche at Stars, 8:30 p.m.

Hurricanes at Oilers, 9 p.m. 

Ducks at Coyotes, 10 p.m.

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