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5 things learned from Sept. 26 preseason games

Luongo feeling good for Panthers; Golden Knights center Eakin scores first goal at T-Mobile Arena

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 Tuesday:


Luongo feels good

Florida Panthers goaltender Roberto Luongo played his first complete game of the preseason and looked sharp with 38 saves in a 4-2 win against the Tampa Bay Lightning at BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida.

"He was phenomenal," Panthers coach Bob Boughner told the Sun Sentinel. "He was phenomenal."

Luongo, 38, is 1-0-0 with a 1.32 goals-against average and .958 save percentage in two preseason games, allowing two goals against 48 shots. He missed the final 19 regular-season games last season with a lower-body injury and was cleared medically after rehabilitating a hip injury that was related to hip labrum surgery in May 2016

"I feel great," Luongo said. "I'm seeing the puck well. "Kind of puts the mental aspect of it at ease and away we go."


A Shore thing

Forward Devin Shore filled in admirably for captain Jamie Benn, who was a healthy scratch, on a line with Tyler Seguin and Alexander Radulov to help the Dallas Stars to a 4-1 win against the Minnesota Wild at American Airlines Arena.

Shore, 23, assisted on the first of Seguin's two goals, had a plus-2 rating, and drew two penalties. He has three assists, a plus-5 rating and seven shots on goal in five preseason games.

"It's no secret how talented [Seguin and Radulov] are and how hard they work," Shore told the Stars website. "I was trying to bring my compete level to match theirs and step in and try to help out and get them the puck and then go to the net because they can do some pretty special things with the puck."

It's possible Shore will begin the season at left wing alongside Martin Hanzal.

"Shore's the type of player that he's got such a tremendous work ethic and conscience he just sets the table whatever line he plays on," coach Ken Hitchcock said. "He's starting to compete in the offensive zone, getting better and better at the way we want him to which I think is a big push."


Eakin scores first goal at T-Mobile Arena

Vegas Golden Knights center Cody Eakin scored the first goal, albeit in the preseason, in the history of T-Mobile Arena before 17,101 in a 3-2 loss to the Los Angeles Kings. 

Eakin, who the Golden Knights selected in the 2017 NHL Expansion Draft from the Stars, gave Vegas a 1-0 lead 3:44 into the first period on a slap shot past goalie Jack Campbell.

"It was exciting to get the first goal," Eakin told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. "The fans were excited, and it got them going right away. It was fun to be part of.

"It didn't feel like preseason; it felt like regular season. The crowd was into it. They were having fun, and it was nice to see."

Video: LAK@VGK: Eakin blasts one-timer past Campbell


Dubois having good camp with Blue Jackets

Forward Pierre-Luc Dubois, the No. 3 pick in the 2016 NHL Draft, scored his third goal of the preseason in a 5-2 win against the St. Louis Blues at Nationwide Arena.

Dubois (6-foot-3, 209 pounds) used his size while skating toward the net and pushing in a rebound past Blues goalie Jake Allen to give Columbus a 4-1 lead 8:54 into the second period. He has three goals and seven shots on goal in four preseason games.

"[Dubois] has progressed; he was pretty shy and tired last year during [training] camp with the amount of skating and games after that," coach John Tortorella told the Blue Jackets website. "It wasn't a fair opportunity for him, at all. He's much more confident and has played in big tournaments and has carried himself really well.

"We have a pretty good idea of what we're going to do here (in setting the regular season lineup) with regard to guys who are being re-assigned and guys who will stay."


Giroux could begin season on left wing

Claude Giroux has played left wing alongside center Sean Couturier and right wing Jake Voracek on the Philadelphia Flyers' top line the past two preseason games.

That could be set in stone to begin the regular season. 

Giroux, Couturier and Voracek combined for three assists and nine shots on goal in a 4-3 overtime win against the New York Rangers at Wells Fargo Center. Giroux (6 of 10) and Couturier (9 of 12) also did well on faceoffs.

Giroux has skated at center the past seven seasons for the Flyers.

"If it makes our team better, I will gladly go on the wing and try it out, and if they want me to play defense, I'll play defense," Giroux told The Philadelphia Inquirer. "Like I said, it was a little adjustment."


Canadiens face Maple Leafs in Quebec City

The Montreal Canadiens will serve as the home team when they play the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Videotron Centre in Quebec City, Quebec, to highlight five preseason games on the schedule Wednesday.

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



[Full Preseason Schedule | Subscribe Now]


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

Sabres at Penguins, 7 p.m. (NHLN, MSG-B, NHL.TV)

Devils at Capitals, 7 p.m. (CSN-DC, MSG+, NHL.TV)

Maple Leafs vs. Canadiens in Quebec City, 7 p.m. (RDS, TSN4, NHL.TV) 

Senators at Jets, 8 p.m. (NHLN [joined in progress], TSN3, TSN5, NHL.TV)

Oilers vs. Hurricanes in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan., 9 p.m.

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