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Wings' already look to be in regular-season mode

by Adam Schwartz
As NHL opening night draws closer, 18 of the League's 30 teams are in preseason action Wednesday night.

Four early games feature Detroit facing Atlanta, New Jersey visiting the Islanders, Philadelphia hosting Washington and Montreal facing Boston.

Later, Buffalo skates into Minnesota, Toronto visits St. Louis, Dallas travels to Colorado, Vancouver hosts Calgary and Anaheim entertains Los Angeles.

Here's what to keep an eye out for:

* The Red Wings, who became the first team to win the Presidents' Trophy and Stanley Cup in the same season since the 2002 Wings accomplished it, were the only Western Conference team to have two players in the top 10 in scorers – Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg. The pair has combined for 2 goals and 2 assists in the Red Wings' first five preseason games.

* The Thrashers, which scored the fewest goals in the Southeast Division last season with 207, have scored 4 goals in two of their three preseason games. They were shut out, 4-0, Sunday against the Red Wings.

* Devils left wing Petr Vrana, who led the Lowell Devils, New Jersey's American Hockey League affiliate, with 61 points last season, has 2 goals in the club's four preseason games.

* The Islanders opened the preseason 2-1, with games in eastern Canada. Of their seven exhibition games, only one – tonight against New Jersey – will be played at Nassau Memorial Coliseum. Their three remaining games will be at New Jersey, Boston and Florida.

* Capitals left wing Michael Nylander, who missed the final 42 games and the playoffs last season, had 2 assists in Washington's 3-2 victory against the Devils on Monday.

* The Flyers, who open the regular season against the New York Rangers on Oct. 11, have yielded more than 3 goals in their five preseason games.

* The Bruins, who scored the fewest goals in the Northeast Division last season with 206, scored 8 goals in their first preseason game, but have just 9 goals total in their last four preseason games.

* The Canadiens, who have played seven preseason games already, have won five of their past six exhibition games.

* Sabres center Derek Roy, who led the team with a career-high 81 points last season, also had career-highs of 32 goals and 49 assists.

* Wild center Pierre-Marc Bouchard, who led the club with 50 assists last season, was one of just three Minnesota players who played 81 games last season; defenseman Brent Burns played all 82.

* Maple Leafs defenseman Pavel Kubina, who was second among Toronto defensemen with 40 points last season, had 67 more blocked shots than anyone on the team.

* Blues left wing Paul Kariya, who went to the Stanley Cup Final in 2003 with the Ducks, had just 65 points last season, his fewest since he had 36 points in 51 games in 2003-04. Kariya, who is signed with the Blues through the 2009-10 season, still led the Blues with 49 assists last season. 

* Dallas left wing Loui Eriksson, who has 20 goals in 128 career NHL games, has 2 goals in the Stars' four preseason games. Eriksson had 4 goals and 8 points while averaging 18:11 of ice time in 18 playoff games last season.

* Center T.J. Hensick, selected No. 88 by Colorado in the 2005 Entry Draft, had a goal and an assist in the Avalanche's 4-2 victory against the Stars last Thursday.

* Calgary prospect David Moss, who was drafted No. 220 in 2001, is having an impressive training camp, which has included a pair of goals as the Flames defeated the Oilers, 4-0, in their last preseason game.

* Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo, who was named team captain Tuesday, tied for the most losses in the League with 29 last season. Luongo, who has not had a save percentage less than .910 since his rookie season in 1999-2000, allowed his fewest goals last season (168) since the 2002-03 season when he let in just 164.

* Los Angeles prospect Wayne Simmonds, who assisted on the Kings' lone goal in a 2-1 shootout loss to the Ducks in the Kings' last preseason game, played for Canada's gold-medal winning World Junior Championship team last season.

* Ducks right wing Bobby Ryan, who was the first player drafted after Sidney Crosby in 2005, had 10 points in 23 games with Anaheim last season, but had 21 goals and 49 points in 48 games with Anaheim's AHL affiliate, the Portland Pirates.

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