Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Update on Jordan Staal

Gaborik, Kopitar in sync, Kings hold off Coyotes

The unbridled chemistry between Marian Gaborik and Anze Kopitar carried over from the playoffs to Monday’s preseason opener at STAPLES Center, as the two veterans spark-plugged the Kings to a 4-3 victory over the Arizona Coyotes Monday night at STAPLES Center.

The rest of the split-squad roster held their own throughout most of the contest, but Arizona hounded for three third period goals to extend the game to OT, and eventually a shootout.

Andy Andreoff, the Kings’ third-round selection in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, and who is fighting for a spot on the Kings' roster, opened the scoring, beating Arizona’s Devan Dubnyk on what was a pass-attempt from behind the net, giving the Kings their first lead of the night just over two minutes into play.

Anze Kopitar and Marian Gaborik would connect for the next two Kings goals, including a give-and-go beauty early in the third period. They led the way with two points apiece, Kopitar dishing the primary assist on both of Gaborik’s markers.

Martin Jones played a perfect 31:13 in the crease for the Kings, stopping all nine Arizona shots he faced.

The Coyotes eventually found the net in the third period, and often. They fired away for 15 shots in the final frame, and beat Kings goaltender Jeff Deslauriers three times, including the game-tying goal during a 5-on-3 power play with 1:23 remaining in regulation.

After a scoreless OT period, the game extended to a shootout.

Anze Kopitar struck first for the Kings, Deslauriers stopped three of Arizona’s four attempts, and Nick Shore – another third-round selection for the Kings from the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, tallied the game's deciding goal.

Both clubs registered 26 shots respectively.

The split-squad roster that traveled to Glendale fell to the Coyotes 5-4 in a shootout at Gila River Arena shortly prior to the ending of Monday night’s bout at STAPLES Center.

Kings Hold off Coyotes in Split-Squad Game

Nick Shore scored the clincher in the shootout and the Los Angeles Kings avoided a letdown in the other half of the split-squad matchup against the Arizona Coyotes with a 4-3 win.

The Coyotes rallied from a 3-1 deficit in the third period to force overtime at Staples Center.

The Kings took a two-goal lead when Marian Gaborik scored 4:11 into the third, but Phil Lane scored at 10:44 and Michael Stone tied it with 1:23 remaining via the power play.

Gaborik had two goals for the Kings and Andy Andreoff scored. Martin Jones stopped all nine shots he faced before being relieved by Jeff Deslauriers, who made 14 saves. Anze Kopitar had two assists.

Justin Hodgman scored 1:59 into the third period for the Coyotes and had an assist on Lane's goal.

Coyotes goalie Devan Dubnyk stopped 23 of 26 shots.

Samuelsson, Domi Lead Coyotes Past Kings

Prospects Henrik Samuelsson and Max Domi scored in the shootout to lead the Arizona Coyotes past the Los Angeles Kings, 5-4, in a preseason game at Gila River Arena on Monday night.

Samuelsson had a goal and two assists in regulation; Martin Hanzal had two goals and an assist and Domi had three assists.

The Coyotes trailed, 3-1, after one period but scored the next three goals. LA's Mike Richards knotted the score at 4 with a power-play goal at 14:15 of the third period.

Samuelsson and Domi were the only two shooters in the shootout for Arizona, and goalie Mike Smith, who finished with 29 saves, stopped both shots he faced.

"It was a big win," said Domi, the team's first-round draft pick in 2013. "We came out a little sluggish but we rallied back and the whole team worked hard every shift and did the little things right, so it was a good game and great team effort overall."

Domi said he suspected he'd be asked to shoot in the shootout after Head Coach Dave Tippett sent Samuelsson to shoot first.

"I think I almost toe-picked on the way in," Domi said.

Samuelsson, also a first-round draft pick (2012), liked the chemistry he felt playing on a line with Hanzal and Domi.

"They’re both pretty easy players to play with, so I just tried to make myself open and it seemed to work," Samuelsson said.

Sam Gagner also scored for Arizona.

"I thought obviously Domi and Samuelsson (played well) because they were on the scoreboard, but I thought Tobias Rieder was pretty good and I thought (Tyler) Gaudet was real solid in his role," Tippett said. "(Jordan) Szwarz did a good job for us, so those players like that, that I was watching a lot closer tonight, we had real strong efforts out of a lot of them."

He added, "Gaudet is a good example of that where he’s a strong checking center. He’s a guy that you don’t notice a lot of things out there, but if you had an overhead camera and you said ‘hey this is what you expect from your center man, this is where he’s supposed to be,’ he’s in that spot a lot of times."

Richards scored two goals and Tanner Pearson had a goal and two assists for Los Angeles. Patrik Bartosak stopped 18 of 21 shots; Jean-Francois Berube made 15 saves.

Samuelsson, Domi propel Coyotes past Kings

Henrik Samuelsson and Max Domi scored in the shootout to lead the Arizona Coyotes past the Los Angeles Kings 5-4 at Gila River Arena.

Samuelsson had a goal and two assists in regulation; Martin Hanzal had two goals and an assist and Domi had three assists. Sam Gagner also scored for Arizona and Mike Smith finished with 29 saves.

Mike Richards scored two goals and Tanner Pearson had a goal and two assists for Los Angeles. Patrik Bartosak stopped 18 of 21 shots; Jean-Francois Berube made 15 saves.

Enroth, Sabres shut out Hurricanes

Jhonas Enroth made 35 saves, including 17 in the third period, and the Buffalo Sabres shut out the Carolina Hurricanes 2-0 at First Niagara Center on Tuesday.

Drew Stafford and Tyler Ennis scored 6:16 apart in the second period and assisted on each other's goals. Matt Moulson had two assists.

Hurricanes center Jordan Staal sustained a lower-body injury in the third period when he took a hit from Sabres defenseman Josh Gorges. Staal did not return to the game and was on crutches afterward.

Anton Khudobin stopped all nine shots he faced for Carolina. Drew MacIntyre made 10 saves

Canes Blanked by Sabres

Though tonight was the Carolina Hurricanes’ second preseason game, it was still the first game action for many in the team’s lineup tonight. Carolina was ultimately shut out 2-0 by the Buffalo Sabres, who iced a rather experienced roster.

-- The unfortunate story of the night was the Canes losing Jordan Staal, who was seen on crutches, late in the third period to a lower-body injury. Staal got tangled up with Josh Gorges and went down in a lot of pain. He had to be helped off the ice, and Canes head coach Bill Peters had no further update on Staal after the game. "I'm concerned, for sure," he said.

Staal was one of just two Hurricanes (the other being Ron Hainsey) who played in all 82 regular-season games in 2013-14. He also played in all 48 games during the shortened season in 2012-13.

-- Similar to Cam Ward in the preseason opener, Anton Khudobin played half of tonight’s game, 30:08 to be exact. He stopped all nine shots he faced, including seven in the first period and a bit of a barrage to open the game.

Drew MacIntyre, who is slated to start Wednesday night in New York, made 10 saves on 12 shots.

-- A couple of bad breaks changed the tide of the game in the second period. After being outshot in the first period, the Canes had the Sabres on their heels for the first half of the middle frame. Then, Drew Stafford scored on a breakaway and Tyler Ennis threw a puck into the slot that bounced off Jordan Staal and in. Despite pulling ahead in the shot count after 40 minutes, the Canes headed to the locker room down a pair.

-- John-Michael Liles took a puck to what looked to be the face in the first period, but he returned to the ice just minutes after skating off to the room. Justin Shugg was slow to get up after a hit in the neutral zone, but he also returned a short while later.

Assistant coach Rod Brind’Amour wasn’t so lucky. He took a puck to the head during warm-ups and required a few stitches. But, he’s a hockey player, and he was behind the bench for the game.

NHL Recap for September 22, 2014

Heatley Scores Early, Andersen Shuts Down Avs in 4-0 Victory at Honda Center

Dany Heatley didn’t wait long to endear himself to the Anaheim faithful, scoring less than a minute into his preseason Ducks debut in sparking his new team to a 4-0 victory over Colorado at Honda Center.
The Ducks played split squad preseason games for the first time in franchise history, with half the roster taking on the Colorado Avalanche at Honda Center while the other half faced the Avs just over 1,000 miles away at Pepsi Center in Denver (in a game that started an hour prior to the home tilt).

Heatley scored just 48 seconds into the game, and Anaheim added tallies from Rickard Rakell, Ben Lovejoy and Brendan Bell. Frederik Andersen went the whole way, recording 27 saves in the shutout.

"It was about getting back into the game," Andersen said. "It wasn’t really about the result; it was more about doing the right things and having a good compete level. Sometimes it wasn’t pretty hockey, but it was a good start. They had some good looks on the power play, but we were able to hold them to not scoring. It was a good start, but we need to keep getting better. We out-battled them today."

Meanwhile in Denver, 33-year-old Brad Winchester had a pair of goals as the Ducks scored four unanswered in rolling to a 5-2 victory.

The 33-year-old Heatley, the former 50-goal-scorer who signed with the Ducks in July, is getting some early time on the top line with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry. He scored his first goal as a Duck (albeit a preseason one) when he went to a knee to punch in his own rebound in the game’s opening minute.

"It didn’t take him long," said Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau. "That’s good for Dany’s confidence. Those guys - Heatley, Perry and Getzlaf - they’ve gone through the first [preseason] games for a lot of years now. I’m sure it wasn’t like a Stanley Cup Final game for them. But they did what they had to do. They were very positive on the bench. It was good."

Rakell, a 2010 first-round pick of Anaheim, made it a 2-0 game 5:52 into the first when he pounced on a bad Colorado turnover and shuttled the puck by recovering goalie Reto Berra.

Lovejoy gave Anaheim a 3-0 cushion 12 minutes into the middle stanza, taking in a Nate Thompson pass before slinging a shot home from just above the circles in the slot.

"It was fun to be back out there," Lovejoy said. "I thought we played a very good game tonight. Our forecheck was some of the best we’ve ever done. We were hungry, we were on every puck and we were in their face. I know we weren’t playing against [Matt] Duchene and [Nathan] MacKinnon, but for the first night, I thought we played very well."

Just a few minutes into the third, Bell hammered a one-timer from above the right circle after getting a feed from Getzlaf. Bell, a 31-year-old defenseman, is also getting a pro tryout from Anaheim. He has not played in the NHL since 2012 with the Rangers, spending the past two seasons in the Swiss League and the Swedish Elite League.

The Ducks will be back in action tomorrow evening (this time just playing one game for the night) against the Arizona Coyotes at Honda Center.

"The first game is usually so sloppy," Boudreau said. "Let’s face it – that wasn’t the Colorado Avalanche that we played tonight. That was the [American Hockey League’s] Lake Erie Monsters with a couple guys thrown in. It’ll step up. Real contests will be against San Jose and LA twice."

Avalanche Falls 4-0 In Anaheim

Frederik Andersen stopped all 27 shots he faced and the Anaheim Ducks shut out the Colorado Avalanche 4-0 in the other half of a split-squad matchup at Honda Center.

One hour before puck drop in Anaheim, the Avs and Ducks took to the ice at Pepsi Center in Denver for the first half of the home-and-away series. Anaheim won that game 5-2 after scoring four third-period goals.

Ben Lovejoy had a goal and an assist and Dany Heatley, Rickard Rakell and Brendan Bell scored for the Ducks. Ryan Getzlaf had two assists.

Reto Berra stopped 26 of 30 shots for the Avalanche.

Colorado's next preseason games are back-to-back contests against the Montreal Canadiens. The Avs will play the Canadiens in Montreal on Thursday at 5:30 p.m. before playing them in Quebec City on Sept. 26.

Ducks Score Four Times in Third to Top Avs

Brad Winchester scored two goals and Louis Leblanc had two assists in the Anaheim Ducks' 5-2 win against the Colorado Avalanche at Pepsi Center.

It was a the preseason opener for both clubs, and the first of a home-and-away split-squad series. One hour after puck drop in Denver, the second game between the Avalanche and the Ducks got under way in Anaheim.

Andrew Cogliano and Patrick Maroon also scored for the Ducks and Jason LaBarbera stopped 19 of 21 shots. Igor Bobkov made five saves. Jakob Silfverberg scored an empty-net goal at 18:27 of the third period.

Alex Tanguay and Zach Redmond scored for Colorado, while Andrew Agozzino had two assists.

Colorado netminder Calvin Pickard played the entire game and made 23 saves.

Ducks Score Four Unanswered to Take Down Avs 5-2 in Denver

Though half the roster was back at home in Anaheim, the Ducks brought plenty of scoring with them to Denver in a 5-2 split squad victory over the Avalanche.
Anaheim played split squad preseason games for the first time in franchise history, with half the roster taking on the Avalanche at Honda Center while the other half faced the Avs just over 1,000 miles away at Pepsi Center in Denver (in a game that started an hour prior to the home tilt).

Back in Anaheim, the Ducks got an early Dany Heatley goal and a Frederik Andersen shutout in downing the Avs 4-0.

Veteran Brad Winchester had a pair of goals as the Ducks scored four unanswered in the third period to roll to a 5-2 victory.

The 33-year-old Winchester, who played 19 games with the Ducks during the 2010-11 season, is in camp on a pro tryout basis and gave the Ducks a 1-0 lead 6:11 into the first in Denver when he buried a rebound off a shot from Brandon Yip (also getting a pro tryout in this camp).

After the Avs bounced back with a pair of goals, Winchester tied the game 2:39 into the third with assists from youngsters Max Friberg and Louis Leblanc.

Andrew Cogliano gave Anaheim the lead halfway through the period, wristing home a shot off a Mark Fistric helper. Patrick Maroon made it 4-2 Ducks when he scored from in deep with 8:25 left, and Jakob Silfverberg polished it off with a late emptynetter.

Jason LaBarbera and Igor Bobkov split time in net for the Ducks in Denver, with LaBarbera saving 19 of 21 Colorado shots and Bobkov stopping the only five shots he faced.

The Ducks will be back in action tomorrow evening (this time just playing one game for the night) against the Arizona Coyotes at Honda Center.

Stars score three in third to defeat Blues

Curtis McKenzie, Jordie Benn and Jason Dickinson scored in the third period and the Dallas Stars rallied for a 4-3 win against the St. Louis Blues at American Airlines Center.

Vernon Fiddler scored in the first period for Dallas and Kari Lehtonen made 11 saves before being relieved by Anders Lindback, who stopped 18 of 20 shots.

Ryan Whitney and Patrik Berglund had goals in the second period for St. Louis and Ian Cole made it a one-goal game at 18:31 of the third. Niklas Lundstrom allowed three goals on 10 shots; Brian Elliott made 11 saves.

Stars score three in third to beat Blues

Coach Ken Hitchcock will be the first to say a scoring Patrik Berglund will make the Blues a better hockey team in 2014-15.

Berglund, who signed a three-year contract days before the NHL Draft this past summer, came to training camp determined to make himself an offensive force.

It's one preseason game, but it's evident Berglund looks stronger, leaner and is skating with a purpose.

Berglund had a goal and an assist but the Dallas Stars rallied from a one-goal deficit in the third period by scoring three goals in a 4-3 victory against the Blues on Monday night at American Airlines Center.

Berglund played 20:46, which is among the top ice times he's received in a Blues uniform. There was a reason, and he passed a solid test.

"We played him a lot; he played in a lot of situations," Hitchcock said. "... He's an offensive threat because he had energy. If we would have played him 20 minutes last year, he would have struggled. He didn't lose his energy in the end."

"It's the first game; you for sure want to have a good game," Berglund said. "I just kind of want to get the feel for it."

The 6-foot-3, 217-pound Berglund is coming off a 14-goal, 32-point regular season a year ago, his sixth NHL season. When Hitchcock saw Berglund return from his summer offseason in Sweden, he noticed a different physical specimen after the team and Berglund talked about a change of course for an off-season conditioning program.

"A little leaner? He's a lot leaner,"Hitchcock insisted.

"At the end of the year, we had some defined goals that we wanted him to obtain and he wanted to obtain," Hitchcock added. "The visual alone is ... impressive. He looks like a guy that's put in a tremendous amount of work to make himself quicker and lighter, stronger. ... Just from a visual standpoint, it's pretty impressive.

"A chip on your shoulder's one thing, but the team made a pretty big commitment. They signed him to a three-year deal. So he's made a commitment to the team, the team's made a commitment to him. Now it's what type of player do you want to be. You're always curious when a guy first shows up. Bergie's a player that we need to have a really good year from him. First impressions mean a lot. When you show up physically looking like this, it's an awfully big first step. This is a guy that is not going to allow fitness to get in the way of anything. It's pretty dramatic when you look at it."

Berglund's breakaway goal Monday with 2:18 left in the second period, a shot in which he fired a wrister from between the hash marks, beat Anders Lindback to give the Blues a 2-1 lead.

Ryan Whitney earlier in the period tied the game 1-1 with a power play goal after getting the puck from Berglund at the blueline and throwing a wrist shot past Stars starting goalie Kari Lehtonen. Whitney, in St. Louis for the second straight training camp on a professional tryout, used Steve Ott in the slot as a screen and scored 5:06 into the period.

"We need to get him back to being a scoring player," Hitchcock said of Berglund. "We need him at the net, around the net, heavy on the forecheck. We need that back again. We need him to be a scoring player again. He's got the ability ... on his worst season, he gets 20 goals. We need that dynamic from him again.

"I think he felt at the end of the year that he had to bring way more quickness and agility into the game. He's obviously lightened up. He's got way more quickness and mobility back from everything he did, (including) diet. This is an all-encompassing thing that he's done during the offseason. This is not just training. This is fitness, this is nutrition, this is basically a lifestyle. Pretty impressive."

Vernon Fiddler netted the first goal of the game, taking a cross-ice shot-pass from Jyrki Lokipakka and sliding the puck into an open side by starting goalie Brian Elliott 7:16 into the first period.

The Blues generated a few scoring chances, with Dmitrij Jaskin making a strong power move to the net but sliding a quick shot wide of the net. Jaskin had a strong opening 20 minutes.

Niklas Lundstrom replaced Elliott, who stopped 11 shots, for the third period and Lundstrom didn't fare well. He allowed three goals to Curtis McKenzie, Jordie Benn and Jason Dickinson on the first six shots he faced.

Ian Cole's blast from inside the blue line at the left point beat Linda with 1:29 remaining but the Blues, who out shot the Stars 33-25, couldn't come up with the equalizer. But not without some tense moments after pulling Lundstrom with a sixth attacker.

Among the younger players, Hitchcock was most impressed with Jaskin and 2014 first round pick Robby Fabbri, who made his NHL debut.

"I thought Jaskin played really hard," Hitchcock said. "He's a really competitive guy, hard on the puck. He's a heavy player.

"I thought Robby was really an effective player. Based on tonight's performance, he probably deserves a little bit longer stay. He's got speed, he's got hockey sense, he's got strength on the puck. For a small guy, he's really strong on the puck."

The Blues play their preseason home opener Thursday at 7 p.m. against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Alexander Steen, Paul Stastny, David Backes, T.J Oshie, Alex Pietrangelo and Jay Bouwmeester will all make their preseason debuts, according to Hitchcock. Jake Allen gets the start in goal.

Goals by Byfuglien, Little send Jets past Wild

Dustin Byfuglien and Bryan Little scored and Ondrej Pavelec stopped all 15 shots he faced to lead the Winnipeg Jets to a 2-1 win against the Minnesota Wild at MTS Centre.

Andrew Ladd had two assists for Winnipeg; Michael Hutchinson made 12 saves.

Tyler Graovac scored for Minnesota at 19:46 of the third period. Niklas Backstrom stopped all 12 shots he faced; Ilya Bryzgalov allowed two goals on six shots.

Wild Drops First Preseason Game In Winnipeg

In a preseason game billed as being one for the “kids,” the lone Minnesota Wild player born in the 70s stole the show.

Niklas Backstrom made an outstanding return to the net, making 12 saves in 31:19 in his first appearance since Jan. 20. The Wild ultimately lost 2-1 on a a pair of goals after Backstrom had been replaced, but the 36-year old netminder served notice that any Wild goaltending talk starts with the 2007-08 Vezina Trophy finalist.

His positioning so good that he’s not often spectacular, Backstrom’s highlight-reel save came in the first period, showing great lateral movement to rob Mathieu Perreault, who scored a goal with five seconds left in OT against Backstrom in Oct. 2013 with Anaheim. Lateral movement is huge, of course, for a goaltender coming off a couple seasons of lower body injuries.

"It's early in camp," Backstrom said. "It's fun to play. I still have a ways to go."

Onto the kids— a lineup so young that third-year forward Charlie Coyle wore an “A” along with veteran defenseman Keith Ballard. Tyler Graovac, a 2011 draft pick who scored 13 goals for Iowa last season, got a goal in the closing minute.The lineup was far from intimidated against a Jets team that dressed most of their regulars in an arena that was in its mid-season boisterous form.

The top line of Coyle, Jason Zucker and Nino Niederreiter was sharp and fast, drawing a couple of power plays with their speed. Zucker took a hard hit into the boards by Chris Thorburn late in the second period but shook it off to return a shift later. He set up Charlie Coyle who hit the post midway through the third.

Michael Keranen is a guy who’s flown under the radar a bit the last week. Signed from the Finnish Elite League, where he was one of the top scorers, is super skilled. He showed good chemistry with Jordan Schroeder, who is as fast as advertised, and Tyler Graovac. Graovac scored the Wild’s goal with 13.6 seconds remaining after more than two minutes with the extra attacker.

The Wild was physical when it needed to be, too. Stu Bickel, in a dogfight to make this team as a seventh defenseman, might have bolstered his chances with a couple of fights. His latter one was versus Anthony Peluso, who tried to fight Curt Gogol, but the pair dropped their helmets and the linesmen stepped in.

"He's making a statement and showing us he wants to be here," Wild Head Coach Mike Yeo said about Bickel.

The young D played well, too. Christian Folin showed the ability to jump up into the play and has a blast from the point, while Gustav Olofsson moves the puck really well.

The Wild plays at Pittsburgh on Thursday— more veterans expected to dress— while returning to Xcel Energy Center on Saturday for the first preseason game, a rematch versus the Jets.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Red Wings escapes Pittsburgh with a win

Pavel Datsyuk's power-play goal at 16:05 of the second period broke a tie and the Detroit Red Wings edged the Pittsburgh Penguins 2-1 at Consol Energy Center.

Tomas Tatar also scored on the power play for the Red Wings and Jimmy Howard stopped 25 of 26 shots. Petr Mrazek stopped all 10 shots he faced.

Beau Bennett scored for Pittsburgh and Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 18 of 20 shots. Matthew Murray made seven saves.

Datsyuk's goal, assist help Red Wings top Penguins

Pavel Datsyuk's power-play goal at 16:05 of the second period broke a tie and the Detroit Red Wings edged the Pittsburgh Penguins 2-1 at Consol Energy Center.

Tomas Tatar also scored on the power play for the Red Wings and Jimmy Howard stopped 25 of 26 shots. Petr Mrazek stopped all 10 shots he faced.

Beau Bennett scored for Pittsburgh and Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 18 of 20 shots. Matthew Murray made seven saves.

Flyers ride power play to win against Capitals

The Philadelphia Flyers scored four power-play goals in a 5-4 win against the Washington Capitals at Wells Fargo Center.

Mark Streit had a goal and three assists and Jakub Voracek had a goal and two assists for the Flyers, who scored five consecutive goals after the Capitals built a 2-0 lead.

Eric Fehr and Troy Brouwer each had a goal and an assist for Washington.

FLYERS OVERPOWER CAPS, 5-4

A steady stream of trips to the penalty box undid the Capitals in Philadelphia on Monday night against the Flyers. Washington took an early 2-0 lead in the game, but six straight Philadelphia power plays resulted in five unanswered Flyers goals – four of them on the power play – in a span of less than 21 minutes. The Caps rallied late, but ultimately suffered a 5-4 setback at the hands of their Metropolitan Division rivals.



“In the second period there were just too many penalties and too many unneeded penalties,” laments Caps coach Barry Trotz. “If they happen like that [during the season] a lot of guys won’t be playing. It was a few ‘me’ penalties. So we talked about it after the second period.”



The first frame was filled with action. Washington’s Evgeny Kuznetsov had a prime scoring chance on the game’s first shift, thanks to a nifty backhand pass from behind the net from Troy Brouwer. Kuznetsov tried to squeeze the shot through on the short side, but rang iron instead.



Philadelphia received the game’s first extra-man opportunity when Garrett Mitchell was sent off for cross-checking at 2:22, coinciding with a pair of five-minute fighting majors doled out to Washington’s Liam O’Brien and Philly’s Derek Mathers. The Caps killed off the Mitchell minor without incident



Washington winger Eric Fehr drew a tripping call on the Flyers’ Vincent Lecavalier at 5:52, and the Caps cashed in with the precision of a hired assassin. Brouwer won the right dot draw back to John Carlson immediately following the penalty, and Carlson put it on a tee for Fehr, who opened up and fired a one-timer that sailed past Philadelphia goaltender Ray Emery before Lecavalier could even warm the penalty bench seat. The Caps needed all of three seconds worth of power play time to light the lamp.



“I’ve been practicing it for two years,” says Fehr, of his power play bomb. “I don’t see myself getting a lot of [power play] time this year with the guys we have. But it’s nice to get an opportunity in preseason to try it and I definitely gave it my best shot.”



Shortly after the midpoint of the first, the Caps doubled their lead. Mitchell rolled the puck around the end boards, and Caps blueliner John Erskine crept in from the left point and pushed a shot toward the net. With O’Brien screening Emery, the shot sailed cleanly past the Flyers’ goalie for a 2-0 Washington lead at 12:34.



Mitchell was assessed a boarding call on Schenn in the final minute of the period, and the two forwards dropped the gloves as well. Philly halved Washington’s lead on that man-advantage opportunity on a goal from Jakub Voracek. Caps goalie Justin Peters made the save on Mark Streit’s slapper from the point, but the rebound caromed to Voracek. Peters was in position for the shot, but it glanced off the skate of Caps defenseman Steve Oleksy and past the Washington goaltender to make it a 2-1 game at 19:36.



The Caps limited the Flyers to five shots on net in the first, and only one of those came at even strength.



A lack of discipline led to Washington’s downfall in the middle frame. Kuznetsov was sent off for hooking at 10:03 of the second, just as goaltender Philipp Grubauer was about to enter the game in relief of Peters. Trotz wisely kept Peters in the crease for the shorthanded situation, but the Caps weren’t able to deliver a kill that would have protected their lead. A failed clear in the waning seconds of the minor enabled Streit to launch a shot from the point that flew over Peters’ right shoulder to make it a 2-2 game at 11:56. Grubauer came on in relief of Peters at that juncture.



Philadelphia took a 3-2 lead at 14:26 of the second on an even-strength strike from former Caps winger Andrew Gordon, a shot that squirted through Grubauer’s pads.



Less than a minute after the Gordon goal, Caps forward Chris Brown went off for roughing, and then Fehr was sent off for the same infraction just over a half-minute later, giving the Flyers a lengthy two-man advantage. Philly cashed in; Schenn deflected a Jones shot past Grubauer to make it a 4-2 game at 16:12 of the second.



Dane Byers was whistled for roughing at the 20-minute mark of the second, a call that was coincidental to a pair of fighting majors assessed to Oleksy and Jones.



Once again, the Flyers’ power play was up to the task. Seconds after Grubauer made a nice left toe save on Lecavalier, Streit fired a point shot and Lecavalier tipped it past the Caps goalie for Philadelphia’s fifth unanswered goal of the game, just 34 seconds into the final frame.



Washington got its first power play in nearly 40 minutes of action at 8:38 of the third when Gordon was sent off for hi-sticking. Once again, the Caps were economical with the extra man, scoring just 22 seconds after the penalty. Fehr rolled the puck behind the Flyers’ net, and Marcus Johansson received it at the right half wall. Johansson fed Brouwer in the diamond spot, and the latter fired it home to cut the Philly lead to 5-3 with exactly nine minutes left.



Less than four minutes later, the Caps pulled to within one. Oleksy’s shot from the point glanced off the glove of Flyers’ goalie Rob Zepp and went behind the net. Michael Latta collected the puck and curled around to the front, firing a shot high to the short side just before Zepp could get over and seal off the opening.



“I got a good bounce off the net,” says Latta of his goal. “I just came around the net, and I had no other options so I just sort of stuffed one right in.”



The Caps had some chances to draw even in the waning minutes; Johansson’s shot off the rush grazed iron behind Zepp. But Washington’s late rally wasn’t enough to overcome its second-period sins.



“We had some bad penalties and it cost us,” says Fehr. “We haven’t gone over too much in the PK and they really moved the puck around us well and found some holes. Obviously we are going to work on the PK and the PP, but it’s most important that we stay out of the box.”

Maple Leafs rally past Flyers split-squad

Nazem Kadri had a goal and an assist to help the Toronto Maple Leafs erase a two-goal deficit en route to a 3-2 shootout win against the Philadelphia Flyers in London, Ontario.

Leafs Open Preseason With Shootout Win Over Flyers

Nazem Kadri wanted to make sure his hometown fans went home happy on Monday night.

Kadri had a goal and an assist in regulation time as the Toronto Maple Leafs edged the Philadelphia Flyers 3-2 in the shootout in an NHL pre-season game in London, Ont.

"I'm from here and I just don't want to disappoint, I guess,'' said Kadri, who had 20 goals and 30 assists last season. "Production will be hugely important for me this year. I'm an offensive player. My goal is also to become a player who is the whole package. I think I was better on the draws today and working coming back in my own end.''

David Booth was the lone scorer in the shootout. Booth, who had nine goals and 19 points with Vancouver last season, joined the Leafs in the off-season on a one-year deal signed in July.

Matt Read and Michael Raffl built a 2-0 lead for the Flyers, who were the home team in this contest for line changes.

Kadri's goal late in the second period shifted the momentum for Toronto. He then set up Tom Nilsson for the tying goal 1:39 into the third period. Kadri sent a cross-ice pass to defenceman Nilsson breaking off the point and a one-timer beat Flyers goalie Anthony Stolarz.

Stolarz is no stranger to London either, having played for the Ontario Hockey League's London Knights before Philadelphia selected him in the second round of the 2012 draft.

Stolarz stopped 29 of 31 shots over 65 minutes.

Starter Christopher Gibson stopped 11 of 12 in 31 minutes for Toronto, while Cal Heeter allowed a goal early in his second-half duty but recovered to be the winning goalie with 11 saves also on a dozen shots, plus three more saves in the shootout.

"I think I came in a little cold. I was pretty flat-footed on that first goal (by Raffl),'' admitted Heeter, who played in the Flyers system last year, including one appearance with Philadelphia and 44 more with the American Hockey League's Adirondack Phantoms.

"I competed and battled well,'' said Heeter, who wore Flyers pads. "It wasn't the smoothest or best game I've played. I was a little choppy at times with my movement and on some rebounds.''

It would appear Heeter, Gibson, Antoine Bibeau and Garret Sparks will battle for the two positions with the Toronto Marlies, with Jonathan Bernier and James Reimer owning the Leafs crease.

Nick Cousins, who had 11 goals and 18 assists last season for the Phantoms, hopes to earn a full-time promotion as he contributed assists on both Philadelphia goals.

Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle saw Toronto's first pre-season game as a chance to assess his team's new defensive systems.

"It's all about how well we did on working on the three things we are asking our players to concentrate on,'' said Carlyle. "We're working on defensive zone coverage, fore-checking systems, and play in the neutral zone.

Carlyle said it was a chance for his new coaching staff to integrate with the Leafs' players.

"We really are not doing a lot of things drastically different, but we are working on some ideas with our new group of coaches here,'' said Carlyle, referring to new assistants Steve Spott and Peter Horachek.

The two teams will meet again on Tuesday at Toronto's Air Canada Centre at 7 p.m. ET.

The Flyers' other split squad edged the Washington Capitals 5-4 in Philadelphia on Monday.

Rangers Drop Pre-Season Opener, 5-4, To The Devils

Following the Rangers' first scrimmage of training camp Sunday afternoon head coach Alain Vigneault stated that the real evaluation process would begin Monday night when the team opened its pre-season schedule against the New Jersey Devils at Madison Square Garden.

The head coach was presented a mixed bag during the Rangers' 5-4 loss to the Devils.

J.T. Miller, who has had a very impressive start to training camp, continued his strong play by assisting on both Ranger goals, which were scored in the first period by Carl Hagelin and newcomer Ryan Malone after the Blueshirts had spotted the Devils a 2-0 advantage.

Miller sprung Hagelin up left wing with a pass and the speedy Swede snuck a shot off Devils goalie Scott Clemmensen and over the goal line at 4:23 for the Rangers' first goal of the pre-season. He then earned another primary assist with a neat chip into the low slot where Malone hammered a power play goal past Clemmensen at 9:42. The 21 year-old former first-round pick generated several other scoring chances while centering Hagelin and Ryan Bourque, and played a physical game, as well, in his quest to earn a spot on the opening-night roster--a case that seems more solid by the day.

"J.T had some good moments," offered Vigneault. "You can see his skillset, and he battled hard on the puck."

Malone, the 34 year-old veteran signed last week as a free agent, is also battling to make the team; and he made a strong first impression with his power play goal and physical play throughout, especially on the forecheck. The six-time 20-goal scorer nearly scored again in the second period on a neat spinning shot from the high slot that was kicked away by Clemmensen. Malone finished with four of the Rangers' 24 shots on goal, a team high.

"You can't really judge yourself on points," stated Malone after the game. "You have to make sure you are constantly making plays, playing in the defensive zone, making forechecks, and making sure all the little parts of ther game are taken care of. It was a pretty good start tonight."

Added Marty St. Louis, who was a teammate of Malone's in Tampa Bay, "It was nice to see him have a good first game under his belt. These are good building blocks for him."

Another newcomer, center Chris Mueller, earned the secondary assist on Malone's power play goal, while Dan Boyle, Tanner Glass, and Matthew Lombardi were among the veterans who wore the Blueshirt for the first time on Monday.

Young Boston College standout Kevin Hayes, Chicago's 2010 first rounder who signed with the Rangers as a free agent this summer, centered a line with Chris Kreider and Danny Kristo to somewhat mixed results. That threesome was on ice for each of New Jersey's first two goals as the Devils jumped out to a 2-0 lead just 3:29 into the game. Hayes and Kreider also both took penalties in the offensive zone on separate occasions during the second period.

However Kristo made a pretty pass to set up a scoring chance for defenseman Matt Hunwick midway through the third period, too--with Hunwick's shot ringing off the iron behind goaltender Keith Kinkaid. Then Kristo sent Kreider in alone on Kinkaid and the left winger ripped a shot that beat the Devils goalie short side with five minutes remaining in regulation to bring the Rangers to within 4-3.

"
It was a tough start
," said Kristo. "But it was nice that Ryan Malone told me on the bench that it's a pair of deflections and that's just hockey. It calmed me down because I was nervous at the start. Even though, obviously, it's in the back of your head, I thought we got better as the game went on. And obviously it was nice to be rewarded with a goal there at the end."

Jesper Fast drew the Rangers even just two and a half minutes later, ripping a slap shot from the slot past Kinkaid, tying the score 4-4 with 2:30 left to play.

However Adam Henrique settled things with a long slap shot goal past Cam Talbot with 51.7 seconds remaining to hand the Rangers the 5-4 defeat.

Henrik Lundqvist started in goal for New York and allowed goals on the first two shots recorded against him--both on deflections. He stopped the next 11 shots he faced before giving way to Talbot 9:29 into the second period. Talbot made a pair of strong saves right off the bat, but was beaten by a Michael Ryder deflection--his second goal of the night--at 16:14 of the second, and the Devils regained the lead.

"It was a tough start, two deflections like that, but it's just a good feeling to be out there again," Lundqvist said in the postgame dressing room. "I did enjoy myself, being out there and playing the first half of the game. It was a good first step."

Three Rangers wore an "A" on their Blueshirt for the pre-season opener Monday, including Marc Staal who was an alternate captain a year ago. He was joined by Hagelin and St. Louis in wearing an "A" Monday night. The team is expected to name its full time captains after training camp and before the regular season begins.

Henrique's late goal seals preseason win over Rangers

When it comes to timely goals against the Rangers, Adam Henrique just finds a way.

His tally on Monday night wasn't quite as big as the one that eliminated the rival Blueshirts from the 2012 Eastern Conference, but he'll take it.

Henrique struck for the go-ahead goal with 51.7 seconds left in regulation at Madison Square Garden, breaking a 4-4 tie and sending the Devils to a 5-4 win in their exhibition opener. He also registered an assist as his line with Michael Ryder (2g-1a) and Reid Boucher (1g-1a) combined for four goals and three helpers.

Eric Gelinas' 5-on-3 power-play goal gave the Devils a 4-2 lead midway through the third. Chris Kreider scored with five minutes to go for the Rangers, who tied the game at 4 on Jesper Fast's strike with 2:30 remaining.

Henrique helped New Jersey avoid overtime with a shot through Cam Talbot from the high slot.

Scott Clemmensen and Keith Kinkaid split the Devils' goaltending duties. Clemmensen stopped eight of 10 shots in 29:29, while Kinkaid posted 12 saves on 14 shots in 30:31 to earn the win. Henrik Lundqvist (11 saves on 13 shots) split with Talbot (16 saves on 19 shots).

Boucher was credited with his first of the preseason in the opening minute to get things off to a quick start. What should have been Henrique's goal – Boucher's centering feed was redirected by Henrique in front of Lundqvist – gave the Devils a 1-0 lead 59 seconds into the game.

Ryder doubled the Devils’ advantage with a netfront redirection of Gelinas’ shot from the left point at 3:29.

The Rangers got on the board when Carl Hagelin’s shot from the bottom of the left circle found an opening through Clemmensen at 4:43. After Hagelin got around Mike Komisarek, Clemmensen got a piece of it with his glove, but not enough to keep it out of the net.

Danny Kristo's hooking penalty at 6:07 sent the Devils to their first power play of the night, though they would fail to cash in. They opened the man advantage with Dainius Zubrus - Patrik Elias - Martin Havlat, with tryout Tomas Kaberle and prospect Damon Severson on the back end.

The second unit was Boucher-Henrique-Ryder with Gelinas and Adam Larsson.

Severson was in the box for interfering with Tanner Glass when the Rangers evened the score at 2. JT Miller found Ryan Malone at the bottom of the right circle for a one-timer at 9:42.

Dan Boyle shoved Ruslan Fedotenko from behind at 18:05 and was called for interference, setting up New Jersey’s second man advantage. Five seconds carried over to the middle frame.

An uncovered Elias nearly made it a 3-2 game early in the second, when Lundqvist gloved his redirection of a point shot by Komisarek.

Gelinas was called for hooking Malone at 3:04, but the Devils’ PK didn’t surrender a shot on the ensuing kill.

Both teams changed goalies at the 9:29 mark of the second.

The Devils went to their third power play of the game when Kevin Hayes held up Dan Kelly in the offensive zone at 11:22. Kinkaid had to come up with a big save on a speeding Marty St. Louis just after the penalty expired, getting across to deny a blast from the bottom of the left circle at 13:43.

Ryder's second of the game restored the Devils' lead, 3-2. He drove to the front of the net for a backhand redirection of a Boucher pass from the right circle at 16:14.

Contact with Kinkaid sent Kreider to the box at 17:43 for New Jersey's fourth power play of the contest. The advantage was wiped out 20 seconds later when Elias was whistled for roughing in the Rangers' crease.

After outshooting the Rangers, 13-4, in the second, the Devils took a 3-2 lead into the third. Through 40 minutes, the Devils' PP was 0-for-4 with four shots in 6:21.

A crisp three-way passing play between Elias, Zubrus and Havlat led to a Havlat backhand scoring chance and drew a Kreider hooking call at 3:21. But the remaining 51 seconds of the advantage were wiped out when Henrique took out Ryan Bourque near center ice and was called for interference at 4:30.

Jordin Tootoo's minor for an illegal check to the head on Michael Kostka handed the Rangers their fifth power play at 7:09. New York's Matt Hunwick crept to the left circle and ripped a shot off the left post as the penalty expired.

Matthew Lombardi went off for tripping at 9:49, giving New Jersey its sixth power-play opportunity. It became a 24-second 5-on-3 after Hagelin slashed Zubrus at 11:25. This time, the Devils broke through with Elias feeding Gelinas for a rocket from the top of the right circle at 11:39.

Gelinas' first of the preseason from Elias and Havlat put the visitors back on top by a pair, 4-2.

Kreider struck shortside on Kinkaid from the left circle with 5:00 to go in the third, trimming the New Jersey lead to 4-3. It was 4-4 after an uncovered Fast collected a Glass pass in the slot and put it in off the right post with 2:30 to go in the third.

Kinkaid protected the tie with a big left pad save on Kristo at the top of the crease with 2:10 to go.

Kreider went down easy to draw an interference call on Jacob Josefson with 6.1 seconds left, but the Devils held on for the victory.

New Jersey finished 1-for-7 with the man advantage and 5-for-6 on the penalty kill.

Islanders sweep split-squad games vs. Senators

Cal Clutterbuck scored the game-winner in the fifth round of the shootout and the New York Islanders swept their doubleheader with the Ottawa Senators in St. John's.

Mikhail Grabovski and Josh Bailey helped New York erase an early 2-0 deficit. Jaroslav Halak stopped 10 of 12 shots before being replaced by Kevin Poulin.

Clarke MacArthur and Curtis Lazar scored power-play goals for Ottawa in the first period. Craig Anderson started in goal; Robin Lehner took over halfway through the game.

Islanders sweep split-squad games vs. Senators

Cal Clutterbuck scored the game-winner in the fifth round of the shootout and the New York Islanders swept their doubleheader with the Ottawa Senators in St. John's.

Mikhail Grabovski and Josh Bailey helped New York erase an early 2-0 deficit. Jaroslav Halak stopped 10 of 12 shots before being replaced by Kevin Poulin.

Clarke MacArthur and Curtis Lazar scored power-play goals for Ottawa in the first period. Craig Anderson started in goal; Robin Lehner took over halfway through the game.

Islanders 3, Senators 2

Jack Skille was looking to make an impact at the onset of Islanders camp and got off on the right foot Monday, propelling the Islanders to a 3-2 win over the Ottawa Senators at Mile One Centre in St. John’s, Newfoundland.

Skille scored the game-winner with 1:27 to play, leading the Islanders past the Senators in the first of two split-squad games. The July 1 signing found room in the slot, took a feed from Casey Cizikas and made no mistake, beating Andrew Hammond up high.

“It was a great play by Casey there and fortunately it went in,” Skille said. “I liked my line [with Cizikas and Harry Zolnierczyk] and we were rolling pretty good there. When you’re doing that, the momentum swings in your favor.”

Moments earlier goaltender David Leggio made a game-saving glove save with 1:54 to play, maintaining the 2-2 tie and setting up Skille to score the winner. The Islanders goaltender made 10-of-11 saves in his half of the contest [he split the game with Chad Johnson], but none bigger than his block with just under two minutes to play.

“He stepped in and did a really good job,” Skille said of Leggio. “That save got us up on the bench and it was huge for the team.”

Brock Nelson led the Islanders with two points (1G, 1A) Monday afternoon. Nelson opened the scoring with a power-play goal 46 seconds into the game, curling off the goal line and sliding the puck through Hammond. Ryan Strome and Anders Lee assisted on Nelson’s goal and the trio served as the Islanders top PP unit in the afternoon contest.

“It was a good game all things considered,” Nelson said. “It was a tough travel day, but it was a good game for us. There are a lot of positives to take out of this game. The guys stuck with it until the end.”

The 1-0 lead lasted just over four minutes, as Alex Chiasson tied the score at the five-minute mark. The teams traded chances and penalties for the rest of the opening frame, but headed to the intermission tied 1-1.

Another new Islander scored in his preseason debut, as Sebastian Collberg put the Islanders ahead 2-1 in the second period. The 20-year-old Swede redirected a Kevin Czuczman shot [the puck also glanced off of Nelson] for his first point with the Islanders.

“It’s a good start,” Collberg said. “It was a pretty hard game, especially for my first game in a long time and after surgery. But I felt better and better as the game went on.”

Johnson was steady in his preseason debut, stopping 12-of-13 shots the first half of the game.

Isles edge Senators on Skille's late goal

Jack Skille scored with 1:27 remaining in regulation to give the New York Islanders a 3-2 victory against the Ottawa Senators in the first of two split-squad games at Mile One Centre in St. John's, Newfoundland.

Skille, signed by the Islanders on July 1, took a feed from Casey Cizikas and beat Andrew Hammond with a high shot from the slot to break a 2-2 tie.

Brock Nelson had a power-play goal and an assist on Sebastian Collberg's goal for the Islanders. Alex Chiasson and Cole Schneider scored for the Senators.

NHL Scores for September 21, 2014

A lack of offence doomed the Oilers as they fall to the Flames 1-0

Goaltender Viktor Fasth kept the Oilers in the game for the first two periods but a goal by T.J. Brodie lifted the Flames to a 1-0 pre-season win in Calgary.

The Oilers managed just one shot in the opening 20 minutes, while the Flames peppered Fasth with 14. The Oilers netminder stood strong, turning away every last one to allow his team to enter the locker room with a scoreless tie.

“I felt a bit rusty in the beginning,” said Fasth, who made 19 saves on 20 shots for the game. “I think I fell there on the first save I did, I fell backwards and I was lucky to get my pad on it. But after that I kind of felt that I was growing into the game and I felt better and better as time went on.”

With Matt Hendricks in the box for slashing, the Flames broke the scoring open at 2:06 of the second period. T.J. Brodie scored top-shelf on a slap shot from the top of the circle. He was assisted by Max Reinhart and Mark Giordano.

The Oilers had their best scoring opportunity of the opening 40 minutes at the 14:33 mark of the second period. Nail Yakupov missed Teddy Purcell with a pass on a 2-on-1 rush.

“It’s just tough getting back into game mode like just stopping on pucks and doing the little things,” Oilers centre Boyd Gordon said. “But as a team, we need to be harder to play against and that’s something we really are trying to strive for and hit home here. I think the more games you play the sharper you get. This is just the first game of seven so we’ll just take the positives and move on.”

The Oilers trailed in shots 20-7 at the end of two periods.

Both teams swapped their goalies heading into the third period, with Laurent Brossoit going in for Edmonton and Brad Thiessen replacing Jonas Hiller for Calgary.

“Viktor was outstanding and I thought Brossoit came in and did a pretty nice job. They were definitely good tonight,” Oilers bench boss Todd Nelson said.

Brossoit made eight saves on eight shots.

With 1:31 remaining in the final frame, Corban Knight snuck a shot in under the crossbar for a goal. But after review, the score was waved off by the referee.

An inability to net the equalizer doomed the Oilers in this pre-season Battle of Alberta.

Flames blank Oilers in Calgary

For a first spin on Scotiabank Saddledome ice, Calgary Flames coach Bob Hartley didn’t mind what he saw in Sunday’s 1-0 win in split-squad action over the Edmonton Oilers.

Hartley didn’t mind what he didn’t see, either.

“I certainly liked the effort,” he said. “I think from Day One, we saw the commitment to conditioning and I love our start. I felt like we could’ve scored three, four goals in the first period then we kept working. It seemed like the Oilers were playing tighter in their zone and there were less chances, but I don’t think we gave very much. I liked what we did in Game One.”

Hartley had to wait to see his team reap the benefits of a strong start, though. Despite firing 14 shots on Oilers starter Viktor Fasth in the opening 20 minutes, the Flames managed to get on the board in the second.

Just seven seconds into Matt Hendricks slashing minor, TJ Brodie corralled a pass from Max Reinhart and ripped a shot over the shoulder of Fasth to put the Flames up 1-0 at 2:06.

“I was trying to get it high and blocker side,” Brodie said. “I don’t think he saw it. We had good net presence there.

“It’s always a good feeling when you see it go in. It’s just something I want to work on this year is shooting more, getting shots through. Watching [Mark Giordano] last year, if he got the puck in the slot it was usually in the net or a good scoring chance. I felt like a lot of the time I passed those up and passed the puck off. Hopefully that will help contribute more offensively and create more chances.”

It was good to see Brodie find the back of the net early in preseason, Hartley admitted.

“I think there’s only TJ in the entire building here that still doesn’t know how good he can be if he starts shooting the puck,” he said. “Hopefully tonight it’s a good little reminder for TJ. This guy can produce lots of offense for us and he can help us a lot on the power play. His mobility, his vision, his shot can certainly be big factors for us.”

After allowing just one shot in the first, Calgary continued to be stingy in their own end in allowing just seven shots on Jonas Hiller in the middle frame. Edmonton’s best chance came with Jesse Joensuu barreling down his off wing in the dying seconds of the period before firing a shot that Hiller shouldered away.

Hiller gave way to Brad Thiessen in the third period. Both goalies made eight saves to preserve the tandem-shutout.

“I don’t complain about not having enough workload,” Hiller said. “We played it pretty well. We played it really solid. I saw a lot of good things for being that early in the season. It was pretty organized. There are things you can do better but it’s definitely a good starting point.

“We didn’t give up too many good scoring chances. That makes it definitely easier to play as a goalie.”

Corban Knight thought he had put the Flames up by two with 1:31 remaining. Garnet Hathaway forced a turnover at the Oilers blue line after launching into Boyd Gordon, leaving the puck for a streaking Knight. On his off-wing, Knight beat Laurent Brossoit but hit the crossbar to keep Edmonton to within one.

But with Brossoit on the bench in favour of the extra attacker, the Oilers couldn’t draw even to split the simultaneous split-squad games after winning in Edmonton 3-1.

Though they outshot the Oilers 14-1, the Flames couldn’t exit the opening period with the lead.

Joe Colborne came close to putting Calgary up midway through the first after backing off the goal line and feeding a crease-mouth pass to Devin Setoguchi, who was denied by Fasth. The closing minute of the period almost yielded results, too, but Sean Monahan couldn’t connect on Ryan Culkin’s feed. Monahan returned the favour to Culkin, who beat Fasth but hit the post.

Oilers score early and hold on to defeat the Flames 3-1 at Rexall Place

The Edmonton Oilers struck early and managed to hold off the Calgary Flames in a 3-1 win at Rexall Place on Sunday night on the strength of goals from Marco Roy, Justin Schultz and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.

The game was the first for Leon Draisaitl as an Oiler on Rexall Place ice.

"I was a little bit nervous, to be honest, at the beginning. That's a little bit normal," Draisaitl began. "I think I did okay. It's still early in the season. Once I feel more comfortable, I'll be better for sure."

Draisaitl was named the game's third star. He had an assist, was +2 and three shots on goal in 15:42 of icetime. On his first shift, he assisted on Roy's goal.

"It's always nice to be in on a goal in your first shift," Draisaitl stated.

Roy’s goal came only 1:28 into the opening frame. He took the puck in the slot and fired it five-hole past Flames starting goaltender Joni Ortio to get the Oilers on the board early.

"I was feeling really good after the goal," said Roy. "Leon had some great vision, he saw me off the rush."

4:37 into the first, the Oilers took a penalty for having too many men on the ice. Calgary struck on that power play in mere seconds to tie the game up. Curtis Glencross redirected a point shot from Kris Russell to make it 1-1.

Edmonton regained the lead at the 8:47 mark of the first. Schultz skated into the zone and slipped the puck in between the post and Ortio's pad from a tough angle to get the Oilers back in the lead.

A holding penalty to Ladislav Smid gave the Oilers their first power play of the game late in the opening frame but they were unable to convert.

Shots on goal after one were 10-7 for the Flames.

A Keith Aulie penalty late in the first gave Calgary a power play to start the second. The Flames were unable to score on either that man advantage or the subsequent one by Taylor Hall at the 3:43 mark.

Smid took his second penalty of the game with 13:52 to go in the period and Oilers converted 14 seconds later.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins wired a shot from the right circle past Ortio to give the Oilers a two-goal lead. Brad Hunt and Schultz got the assists.

Bill Arnold received two minutes for tripping with 2:17 left in the second, giving the Oilers another man advantage.

Edmonton’s best chance on that power play came when Greg Chase redirected the puck at the right side of the net but it rang off the post. Ortio was sharp moments later on a pad stop off Nugent-Hopkins to keep it a two-goal deficit for the visitors.

Shots on goal after two were 15-14 for Calgary, though the Oilers ended up outshooting the Flames 24-22 overall.

Flames suffer setback in Edmonton

The Calgary Flames fell 3-1 in their pre-season battle with the Oilers in Edmonton.

Joni Ortio went the distance in net for the Flames, making 21 saves.

The Oilers opened the scoring at 1:28 of the opening stanza when Marco Roy took a pass from Leon Draisaitl and slipped it under Ortio's pads.

Calgary responded with a goal just over three minutes later, taking advantage of a too-many-men call on the Oilers. Curtis Glencross got his stick on Kris Russell's point shot, redirecting it over Ben Scrivens. Dennis Wideman was credited with the secondary assist on the tally.

Justin Schultz made it 2-1 Edmonton before the first period came to a close.

The Oilers added to their total at 6:22 with a Ryan Nugent-Hopkins power play goal.

The Flames had two golden opportunities to beat an out-of-position Scrivens in the middle frame, both of which came off of Glencross' stick. The winger perched himself on the left side of the net but sent the puck wide on his pair of chances.

Neither team could find the back of the net in the third stanza. Final shots on net sat at 24-22 in favour of the Oilers.

Heatherington lifts Columbus past St. Louis in OT

THE RUNDOWN
After a strong showing at the NHL Prospects Tournament in Traverse City, it was time to see what some of the Blue Jackets' top prospects were all about in an NHL game. The youngsters did not disappoint tonight.

The Jackets got scoring from three rookies, including Dillon Heatherington’s overtime winner, in a 4-3 win over the St. Louis Blues. Heatherington ended the game on a quick drive from the right point that squeaked through Blues goaltender Matt Climie to send the fans home happy.

It didn’t take long for the youngsters to make their mark in this one, as Kerby Rychel scored his first goal of the preseason on his first shift at Nationwide Arena. Rychel intercepted the breakout pass form Blues’ defenseman Chris Butler high in the St. Louis zone. Rychel took a step to the middle of the ice and fired a wrister between the legs of goaltender Jake Allen just 2:02 into the first period.

"There was a bit of nerves going into the game, but it was nice to get on the board early and get things rolling," said Rychel.

The Blues responded midway through the first on the powerplay when Jori Lehtera shoveled a puck on goal that caromed off Heatherington and behind Curtis McElhinney to tie the game.

The Jackets found their legs in the second and had some good bounces of their own. Dalton Prout’s slap-pass to the back post ticked off of Boone Jenner in the slot and landed right on the blade of Alexander Wennberg, who tapped it into a wide open net. Jenner netted a rebound between the circles in the period’s final minute to give the Jackets a 3-1 lead after 40 minutes of play.

Vladmir Tarasenko pulled the Blues within a goal early in the third when his wrist shot beat Oscar Dansk, the first shot Dansk saw after relieving McElhinney. The Blues tied the game and forced overtime midway through the third period when Sebastian Wannstrom banked a rebound off of Dansk and into the net.

Dansk settled in as the period progressed, making several key saves to push the game to overtime.
when Heatherington would end it for Columbus.

"I thought we got better as a team," said head coach Todd Richards. "Our guys in general, and our three young guys got better as the game wore on, but there's still things they have to learn. That's true for our whole team."

PIVOTAL MOMENT
Richards said after the morning skate that he still needed to see more of Wennberg, but already recognized him to be a sound positional player. That described Wennberg pretty well in this game, and 5:54 left in the second, the puck found Wennberg in the right place. Prout's back-door feed on the powerplay ticked off the skate of Jenner in front and slid right to open ice where Wennberg was lurking to tap it into an open net. It was the night in a nutshell for Wennberg, who did not dominate with flash, but was in the right position for most of the game. The goal sparked one of the better possession stretches for Columbus that lasted until the second intermission and included the Jenner goal.

THREE STARS
1) Boone Jenner

Jenner netted a goal and an assist in the contest, but missed the third period with what Richards described as “soreness." Richards stressed the situation was very minor and mostly a precaution. Jenner was one of the better players for the Jackets playing center tonight between Rychel and Jared Boll, after spending last season exclusively on left wing.

2) Curtis McElhinney

McElhinney was rock-solid for the Jackets, making 23 saves through two periods. Teams learning new systems in the preseason can expect to face defensive breakdowns, and the Jackets were outshot 14-5 in the first period. McElhinney was nearly flawless, only allowing a goal that caromed in off of his own defenseman.

3) Dillon Heatherington

A kid scoring an overtime winner in an NHL game is usually pretty star-worthy. It’s Heatherington’s second NHL camp, and he made an impact on the scoresheet in a big way in game number one. of 2014-15 (preseason).

UP NEXT
vs. Pittsburgh
Tuesday, 7p.m.
Nationwide Arena

Blue Jackets 4, Blues 3 (OT)

Blues coach Ken Hitchcock didn't waste time getting those players he wants to get a good look at into preseason game action.

Jori Lehtera, Peter Mueller, Nate Prosser, and Chris Butler are all players the Blues coach has been anxious to observe and see where they could possibly fit in when the team has to finalize a 23-man roster ahead of the Oct. 9 opener against the New York Rangers.

Lehtera, Mueller and Vladimir Tarasenko saw ample ice time, and the Blues rallied from a two-goal third period deficit before falling to the Columbus Blue Jackets, 4-3 in overtime, in the first preseason game Sunday night at Nationwide Arena.

"We started them all in the offensive zone," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. "If you looked at their shifts, I don't even know until the puck went in that they didn't even have many D-zone shifts. We used them 5-on-5, power play. We wanted to take a look at that and look at it from there."

Lehtera, the Blues' third round pick in 2008 who signed a two-year contract in the offseason, stepped into the ice for his first NHL game as if he has been here all along. He looked sharp, made crisp passes, smart decisions and seemed to be in sync with Tarasenko, his linemate when the two played in the Kontinental Hockey League together at Sibir Novosibirsk.

"I was OK," Lehtera said. "But I feel like I can play here. ... i feel it was very hard, (especially) the third period.

"There were some good moments, but we didn't concentrate at times like we should."

Paajarvi, who said on Friday after the first day of on-ice training camp activities that he added eight pounds of muscle, skated fast and furious, especially in the first period.

Hitchcock seemed very impressed with the Blues' defensive pairing of Prosser (formerly of the Minnesota Wild) and Petteri Lindbohm.

"He was really competitive; him and Lindbohm were outstanding," Hitchcock said. "They were competition as (heck), really good."

Down 3-1 entering the third period, Tarasenko scored 40 seconds in as he beat new goalie Oscar Dansk (who replaced starter Curtis McElhinney after two periods) by cutting in and firing a shot high into the goal.

Wannstrom tied it with a bank shot from theside of the net at 9:48 after Chris Porter's slap shot was stopped initially by Dansk, but he lost track of the rebound.

"We came out and we battled back in the third period," said defenseman Barrett Jackman, who had an assist. "We got some more pucks to the net and won some more battles."

Kerby Rychel gave the Jackets a 1-0 lead 2:02 into the first period when he beat Jake Allen five-hole following a Chris Butler turnover along the left boards.

The Blues got the equalizer when Lehtera, from his knees, corraled Prosser's left point shot and banked the puck in off Jackets defenseman Dillon Heatherington at 13:53 of the first.

"I tried to pass to Vlad backdoor," Lehtera said. "It was all open there but I scored."

The Blues outshot the Jackets 14-5, with half of them coming from Paajarvi (four) and Prosser (three).

The Blues never sustained much offensive zone pressure in the second period despite outshooting Columbus 10-6. The Jackets scored the lone two goals, as Alexander Wennberg's power play goal gave them a 2-1 lead at 14:06.

Boone Jenner, who picked up an assist on Wennberg's goal, scored with 18.6 seconds left in the second to make it 3-1 when he flipped a rebound from the slot through Allen's left side after the Blues' netminder gave up a juicy rebound of a David Savard point shot.

Allen's night was finished after two period. He stopped eight of 11 shots.

Heather into redeemed himself when his slap shot from the right point beat Matt Climie, who stopped nine shots, 2:36 into overtime.

The Blues, who out shot the Jackets 40-21 for the game, will go back on the road Monday night and face the Dallas Stars at 7:30 p.m.

CAPS EDGE SABRES, 1-0

Two days after they broke the seal on their 2014 training camp, the Washington Capitals opened their eight-game exhibition slate on Sunday afternoon against the Buffalo Sabres. The Caps skated off with a 1-0 win over Buffalo.



Shortly after the team completed its first practice on Friday, Caps coach Barry Trotz mentioned that he wasn’t expecting much in the way of structure in Sunday’s preseason opener at Verizon Center, but he was hoping his new team would play with “attitude.”



Hours before the game, Trotz was asked how he wanted that attitude to manifest itself on the ice.



“Just play fast,” replied the Caps’ bench boss. “I don’t know how the ice is going to be; it looks like it’s probably green ice right now. That means the puck is going to be bouncing all over. You’ve got to just manage the puck; let’s move north, let’s do the things that we need to do, manage the situation and don’t let the situation manage you.”



The Caps managed to do all of that for the most part, and they were able to make Andre Burakovsky’s first-period goal stand up.



Washington got off to a strong start territorially and in terms of possession, and that helped them draw the game’s first penalty, a hooking call on Buffalo blueliner Chad Ruhwedel at 3:19 of the first.



Buffalo’s Luke Adam went off for hi-sticking at 8:22, giving the Caps a second man-advantage, but that one was short-circuited halfway through. After Washington turned the puck over in the neutral zone on its way up the ice, Caps captain Alex Ovechkin sped back on the backcheck to prevent speedy Sabres forward Torrey Mitchell from getting a clear breakaway on Washington goaltender Pheonix Copley. Ovechkin slashed Mitchell, though, putting the teams at four skaters a side for the next minute.



Less than two minutes after the two clubs resumed playing five-on-five hockey, the Capitals scored the only goal they would need. Joel Ward shoveled the puck along the right wing wall to linemate Jason Chimera, who was stationed behind the Buffalo net. Chimera fought off his check and threaded a pass to the slot for Burakovsky. The 19-year-old forward settled the disc and rifled a shot that beat Buffalo goaltender Nathan Lieuwen, putting the Caps on top 1-0 at 13:14 of the first period.



“It was nice to score the first goal,” says Burakovsky. “I got a great pass from [Jason] Chimera and I just took a wrister and it went in. I was kind of shocked, but it feels really good to have the first goal. And after that goal, I think I could relax a little bit more in the game, feel more comfortable out there and just keep playing hard.”



Seeing the first preseason action of his NHL career, Copley made six stops against the Sabres in the first period.



“It’s cool to get in a game like that and get the experience in,” says Copley. “When I go out there, I just try and stop the puck. Wherever they put me, that’s when I know what I have to do. There is nothing I can do about where they put me. The only thing I can do is go out there and try and stop the puck, so that’s what I focus on.”



Braden Holtby took over in goal for Copley in the second period, and Holtby’s first stop was a good one. He denied Adam from the slot after Caps defenseman Madison Bowey made an errant pass in his own end just after the three-minute mark of the second.



Washington was able to kill off its first – and as it turned out, its only – full two-minute shorthanded situation without incident in the second period when Ward went off for hi-sticking at 7:41 of the middle session.



The Capitals held a territorial advantage over the game’s first 40 minutes, leading the Sabres by a 35-23 margin in shots attempted. Buffalo was able to establish more of an offensive zone presence and threat in the third, outshooting the Caps 12-7 and owning a 21-17 edge in shot attempts. Holtby and company kept the Sabres at bay, enabling the Caps to emerge victorious in the first of their eight preseason outings this fall.



Trotz knew his team would be a little short on legs in the third period, given the arduousness of the first two days of camp that preceded Sunday’s game. He was happy his team was able to author a quick start, take an early lead and maintain it the rest of the way.



“I liked our start,” says Trotz. “We talked about having a good start. One of the things was last year there were a lot of complaints that they didn’t get off to great starts, so I tried to focus on that. I thought when we were fresh in the first period, we were really good.”

Capitals edge Sabres in preseason opener

Andre Burakovsky scored the only goal of the game in the first period and Braden Holtby made 19 saves to lead the Washington Capitals past the Buffalo Sabres at Verizon Center.

Burakovsky's goal came 13:14 into the game when he took a nice pass from Jason Chimera and ripped a shot past Sabres goalie Nathan Lieuwen (24 saves).

Pheonix Copley played the first period for Washington and made six saves.

Canes Drop Preseason Opener to Columbus

The Carolina Hurricanes opened the preseason by dropping a 4-3 decision to the Columbus Blue Jackets. Andrej Sekera, Riley Nash and Chris Terry netted goals for Carolina, two of which were scored on the power play. Overall, it was a mixed bag of execution on the ice, but ultimately, it was the first preseason game on the third day of training camp.

“You have two practices, and you can’t cover everything. It’s not realistic. If you look at the things we worked on, the execution was good,” Jeff Skinner, It could have been better in some places, but they got a breakaway goal and a couple wide-open shots from the slot. Those are things we can tighten up on. Overall, I think we had some good looks.”

-- The Hurricanes converted at a 40 percent clip on the power play. Of course, it’s just one game, but it’s a positive sign to see the team taking a step in the right direction after finishing 28th in the league last season on the man advantage.

The success has to be attributed somewhat to assistant coach Rod Brind’Amour’s dedicated power play work during the first two days of training camp. He’s kept the instruction simple so far, but the simplicity is what led to the execution.

“It was really good. I thought our power play was good,” head coach Bill Peters said. “You can’t give them everything in two days. It’s too much too soon, and then you overload guys and they’re paralyzed out there when they think.”

“You can get caught up in thinking too much when you run through so many things over the last two days,” Skinner said. “At the end of the day, you have to go out there and react.”

-- Some young kids got to see a fair bit of ice time today, and that’s to be expected throughout the preseason as the evaluation process continues.

Defenseman Haydn Fleury, 18, and forward Sergey Tolchinsky, 19, both saw over 15 minutes of ice time. Tolchinsky notched an assist on Terry’s power-play goal, as he fed the goal-scorer with a beauty of a cross-ice pass.

“They got some good ice time, and I think they had their eyes opened at times, too,” Peters said. “That’s part of being a kid and growing.”

-- Alex Nedeljkovic, 18, got his first NHL action in net, as well. He relieved Ward just past the 10-minute mark of the second period, as was planned. He only faced six shots, making five saves, but it was quite the experience for a kid drafted this summer that just got back to on-ice action within the last few weeks.

“It felt good. I felt pretty comfortable. The guys have treated me well and made me a part of the team, so it was a pretty easy transition,” he said. “Everything is a lot faster, and everyone is a lot bigger.”

-- Cam Ward started the game, making 10 saves on 13 shots. Peters noted that the Hurricanes didn’t surrender much in the way of quantity but suffered when it came to quality.

“I thought Wardo was good,” Peters said. “On the goals we gave up, there’s nothing those goaltenders can do. We’ve got to be better defensively.”

-- Sekera’s power play goal was a top-shelf slap shot from the top of the near circle. He’s picking up right where he left off in what was a career season for him, which is a good sign for the Canes’ blue line.

-- The Canes will be back on the ice on Monday morning for two group sessions. Then, it’s up to Buffalo and New York for a pair of midweek preseason games.

“The guys stayed with it. They believed,” Peters said. “Our veterans kept pushing, and we played everybody. We continued to play everybody to get a fair evaluation and good viewing on these guys.”

Blue Jackets 4, Hurricanes 3

FIRST PERIOD
Here are the lines and pairs the Blue Jackets worked with today in Raleigh:

Foligno-Letestu-Atkinson

Craig-Chaput-Tropp

Hoeffel-Tynan-Vogelhuber

Tyrell-Gibbons-Bjorkstrand

Erixon-Wisniewski

St. Denis-Goloubef

Weber-Larkin

Forsberg in goal.

It was a frantic start as you might expect, with both teams playing their first game of the exhibition season and a collection of youth and veterans on both lineups. Carolina was on the front foot early, getting the game’s first four shots and really testing Forsberg out of the gate.

As the Blue Jackets got settled into the game, we got a clearer picture of the lines and pairs. The Foligno-Letestu-Atkinson line was Columbus’ de facto No. 1 line this afternoon, and the defense tandem of Erixon-Wisniewski saw a lot of ice time together after spending the first two training camp practices as a unit.

Carolina scored first, getting a goal from Andrej Sekera on a delayed penalty call. The Blue Jackets were looking at a 90-second 5-on-3 before the goal, but they got back to even strength down only one goal, and they seemed to build from there.

A few shifts later, Mark Letestu hit Cam Atkinson with a 100-foot stretch pass and sent him in on a clear-cut breakaway. Atkinson made a quick head fake and snapped a high shot over Cam Ward’s glove to even things up at 14:41 of the first.

"I thought we played really hard," Foligno told BlueJackets.com. "I really liked our energy, and we had a lot of young guys in our lineup that I thought played pretty well. I thought we deserved to win and I'm happy that we did."

Three minutes after that, Nick Foligno slammed home a centering pass from - guess who? - Letestu to convert a power play goal, giving Columbus its first lead with 2:45 left in the opening period.

All in all, not a bad opening period for the visitors and they headed to the second period with a lead.

SECOND PERIOD
Another eventful period for Forsberg, but he’s been terrific this afternoon.

He made 12 saves in second period, yielding only a point-blank goal to Carolina’s Riley Nash four minutes into the period. Forsberg, in a battle with Oscar Dansk for that coveted No. 1 job in Springfield, has made a strong statement today with 22 saves through two periods.

"He battles, he battles hard," Blue Jackets associate coach Craig Hartsburg said. "He's a young goalie that's only going to get better and better because of that."

Oh, right, the second period.

Mike Hoeffel, who’s attending Blue Jackets training camp on a tryout, scored a nice goal early in the second period (3:37 mark) on a set up from Dublin, Ohio’s Trent Vogelhuber. Nash answered for Carolina on the next shift to bring it within 3-2 at 4:12.

But this Foligno-Letestu-Atkinson line is impressive and they struck again later in the period.

Carolina made a goaltending change halfway through, replacing Ward (pre-planned) with youngster Alex Nedeljkovic, who just got back from a solid performance at the Traverse City prospects tournament.

His first shot was a bang-bang pass from Foligno to Atkinson that was the Blue Jackets’ fourth goal of the afternoon.

"They scored some big goals for us," Hartsburg said. "They made good plays to score, and did some good things in the offensive zone."

THIRD PERIOD
Not much going on for either side early in the third period. A lot of chip and chasing with the Hurricanes trying to get something going in the offensive zone.

During the first media timeout, you could see acting head coach Craig Hartsburg emphatically reminding his players to keep their feet moving and maintain the pace they set in the first two periods. The Blue Jackets starting sitting back midway through the third and their forecheck lost its structure, and as a result, the Canes were able to generate some momentum from it.

Chris Terry scored on a nice one-timer with 7:52 to play to pull the Hurricanes within a goal, and Sergei Tolchinsky made it happen with a great pass across. Forsberg really had no chance to make the save - it was that good of a feed.

The Blue Jackets held on the final minutes to win their exhibition opener 4-3 in Raleigh.

"I thought our compete level, our battle level, our work was good," Hartsburg said, "but it was obviously pretty sloppy at times with lots of turnovers, but that's to be expected, really."

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Gates' 3 TD catches carry Bolts to 30-21 upset

Philip Rivers has been throwing passes to Antonio Gates for nine seasons now, so games like Sunday's are bound to happen.

It wasn't quite like sandlot ball, but with these two guys, it might as well have been.

Gates had three touchdown catches, including a spectacular, one-handed grab, and the Chargers controlled the tempo to keep Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch off the field to beat the Seahawks 30-21 on Sunday.

The 34-year-old Gates scored on catches of 8, 8 and 21 yards.

"He doesn't surprise me, but I will say all three touchdown catches, for the most part, didn't come up exactly like they were drawn up," Rivers said. "They're a little bit backyard. We ended up close to the spots we were trying to do, but just a little bit different based on technique. They were obviously huge plays."

Gates' 21-yarder was epic, as the star tight end split two defenders and extended for Rivers' pass, reaching out with his left hand to gather it in. Flat on his back in the end zone, he held up the ball to show the referee. That gave San Diego a 27-14 lead late in the third quarter.

"Philip trusts in me to make plays," Gates said. "I knew it was man coverage. The rest was history. I stuck out my hand and was able to make a one-handed grab. It just shows tremendous confidence in what the call was from the offensive coordinator on down to the quarterback."

Gates missed most of the Chargers' offseason workouts to be with his 22-year-old sister, Pamela, who died on July 23 after battling lupus for three years.

"Obviously I dealt with issues all offseason, but I'm not the only player on this team that's had issues," Gates said. "Just the fact that we continue to believe that we can achieve what we set aside to accomplish. This speaks volumes to what the locker room is about, and what we believe we can go out and do on Sundays."

Rivers has thrown 65 touchdown passes to Gates, the most in NFL history between a quarterback and a tight end.

"He definitely capitalized on every opportunity he had and he showed why he is an All-Pro tight end," Seattle safety Kam Chancellor said.

"I hadn't seen him from the early days, but I can tell you he is a good tight end," Chancellor added. "First thing is he had a good quarterback. A quarterback that looks for him that knows him. They have that bond, that quarterback-tight end bond. And he is very crafty. He is a crafty tight end."

The three touchdown receptions tied Gates' career high. Rivers was 28 of 37 for 284 yards.

Seattle (1-1) was efficient when it had the ball, but it just didn't have it enough as the Chargers (1-1) dominated time of possession and wore out the Seahawks' vaunted defense on a steamy afternoon at Qualcomm Stadium.

"They did a real good job on third down when they had the ball," Wilson said. "They just sustained drives and kept us off the field offensively."

After Gates' third scoring catch, Wilson moved the Seahawks 70 yards, capping the drive with a 14-yard touchdown throw to Marshawn Lynch to pull to 27-21.

Seattle turned the ball over on downs on its 10 in the closing minutes and San Diego's Nick Novak kicked his third field goal, from 28 yards, with 16 seconds left.

Percy Harvin gave the Chargers a big gift when he fumbled the kickoff at the 28 after Novak's 43-yard field goal gave the Chargers a 13-7 lead with 4:40 to go before halftime.

After consecutive 10-yard penalties gave the Chargers a first-and-goal from the 23, Rivers completed a 15-yard screen pass to Eddie Royal before evading pressure and hitting Gates for their second scoring hookup of the quarter.

Wilson wasted no time in leading the Seahawks 61 yards in five plays, hitting Robert Turbin on a 3-yard TD pass to pull to 20-14. Turbin also had a 32-yard catch and a 10-yard run on the drive.

San Diego running back Ryan Mathews was carted off the field with an apparent right knee injury early in the fourth quarter. Chargers coach Mike McCoy said the team was still evaluating Mathews' injury.

Dwight Freeney sacked Wilson to force the Seahawks to punt on their first drive. Novak kicked a 50-yard field goal for San Diego.

The Seahawks came back with a three-play, 60-yard drive capped when Harvin took a pitch from Wilson, got the edge and ran 51 yards down the left sideline for a 7-3 lead. But Harvin had stepped on the sideline during the run and the NFL said after the game the score was "incorrectly confirmed." The league said the ball should have been spotted at the 21-yard line.

NOTES: San Diego had the ball for 42:15 compared to 17:45 for Seattle, and gained 26 first downs to 14 for the Seahawks. ... Chargers LT King Dunlap left the game in the third quarter but returned.

Seahawks stuck by bolts

Philip Rivers has been throwing passes to Antonio Gates for nine seasons now, so games like Sunday's are bound to happen.
It wasn't quite like sandlot ball, but with these two guys, it might as well have been.
Gates had three touchdown catches, including a spectacular, one-handed grab, and the Chargers controlled the tempo to keep Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch off the field to beat the Seahawks 30-21 on Sunday.
The 34-year-old Gates scored on catches of 8, 8 and 21 yards.
"He doesn't surprise me, but I will say all three touchdown catches, for the most part, didn't come up exactly like they were drawn up," Rivers said. "They're a little bit backyard. We ended up close to the spots we were trying to do, but just a little bit different based on technique. They were obviously huge plays."
Gates' 21-yarder was epic, as the star tight end split two defenders and extended for Rivers' pass, reaching out with his left hand to gather it in. Flat on his back in the end zone, he held up the ball to show the referee. That gave San Diego a 27-14 lead late in the third quarter.
"Philip trusts in me to make plays," Gates said. "I knew it was man coverage. The rest was history. I stuck out my hand and was able to make a one-handed grab. It just shows tremendous confidence in what the call was from the offensive coordinator on down to the quarterback."
Gates missed most of the Chargers' offseason workouts to be with his 22-year-old sister, Pamela, who died on July 23 after battling lupus for three years.
"Obviously I dealt with issues all offseason, but I'm not the only player on this team that's had issues," Gates said. "Just the fact that we continue to believe that we can achieve what we set aside to accomplish. This speaks volumes to what the locker room is about, and what we believe we can go out and do on Sundays."
Rivers has thrown 65 touchdown passes to Gates, the most in NFL history between a quarterback and a tight end.
"He definitely capitalized on every opportunity he had and he showed why he is an All-Pro tight end," Seattle safety Kam Chancellor said.
"I hadn't seen him from the early days, but I can tell you he is a good tight end," Chancellor added. "First thing is he had a good quarterback. A quarterback that looks for him that knows him. They have that bond, that quarterback-tight end bond. And he is very crafty. He is a crafty tight end."
The three touchdown receptions tied Gates' career high. Rivers was 28 of 37 for 284 yards.
Seattle (1-1) was efficient when it had the ball, but it just didn't have it enough as the Chargers (1-1) dominated time of possession and wore out the Seahawks' vaunted defense on a steamy afternoon at Qualcomm Stadium.
"They did a real good job on third down when they had the ball," Wilson said. "They just sustained drives and kept us off the field offensively."
After Gates' third scoring catch, Wilson moved the Seahawks 70 yards, capping the drive with a 14-yard touchdown throw to Marshawn Lynch to pull to 27-21.
Seattle turned the ball over on downs on its 10 in the closing minutes and San Diego's Nick Novak kicked his third field goal, from 28 yards, with 16 seconds left.
Percy Harvin gave the Chargers a big gift when he fumbled the kickoff at the 28 after Novak's 43-yard field goal gave the Chargers a 13-7 lead with 4:40 to go before halftime.
After consecutive 10-yard penalties gave the Chargers a first-and-goal from the 23, Rivers completed a 15-yard screen pass to Eddie Royal before evading pressure and hitting Gates for their second scoring hookup of the quarter.
Wilson wasted no time in leading the Seahawks 61 yards in five plays, hitting Robert Turbin on a 3-yard TD pass to pull to 20-14. Turbin also had a 32-yard catch and a 10-yard run on the drive.
San Diego running back Ryan Mathews was carted off the field with an apparent right knee injury early in the fourth quarter. Chargers coach Mike McCoy said the team was still evaluating Mathews' injury.
Dwight Freeney sacked Wilson to force the Seahawks to punt on their first drive. Novak kicked a 50-yard field goal for San Diego.
The Seahawks came back with a three-play, 60-yard drive capped when Harvin took a pitch from Wilson, got the edge and ran 51 yards down the left sideline for a 7-3 lead. But Harvin had stepped on the sideline during the run and the NFL said after the game the score was "incorrectly confirmed." The league said the ball should have been spotted at the 21-yard line.
NOTES: San Diego had the ball for 42:15 compared to 17:45 for Seattle, and gained 26 first downs to 14 for the Seahawks. ... Chargers LT King Dunlap left the game in the third quarter but returned.

Bucs fall short to Rams

Greg Zuerlein kicked a 38-yard field goal with less than a minute remaining to lift the injury-riddled St. Louis Rams to a 19-17 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday.

Austin Davis, who began the season No. 3 on the Rams depth chart, made his first career start and completed 22-of-29 passes for 235 yards. The former walk-on at Southern Miss led a 12-play drive in the final minutes that led to Zuerlein's game-winning kick. Davis made a number of impressive throws on the drive, none bigger than his 27-yard toss to Austin Pettis on third down.

Tampa Bay got the ball back with 38 seconds and quickly moved down the field. Josh McCown completed a 19-yard pass underneath to Bobby Rainey, then went up top to rookie Mike Evans for 29 yards. Out of timeouts, the Bucs hurried to the line of scrimmage, but with eight seconds left, Evans was unable to walk off the field on his own power after taking a crushing blow following his catch. According to league rules, there was a 10 second runoff and the game was over.

McCown threw for 179 yards and an interception while adding two rushing scores on his only two carries for Tampa Bay (0-2), which started 0-2 for the second straight season. Rainey started in place of an injured Doug Martin and ran 22 times for 144 yards.

"It's unfortunate we didn't handle the situation as well as we needed to there at the end," Bucs head coach Lovie Smith said.

Zuerlein went 4-for-4 on field goals for the Rams (1-1), who bounced back after getting blown out in Week 1 by the Vikings.

Davis became the first Rams quarterback to win his first career start since Scott Covington on Dec. 30, 2002.

"I felt a peace out there. I felt at home, and it had a lot to do with the guys I was around and how well we played," Davis said.

Tampa Bay took the opening kickoff and looked like a well-oiled machine on its first drive, marching 77 yards for a score. Rainey carried five times for 26 yards and McCown put the finishing touches on the 10-play drive with a short touchdown run.

The Rams responded with a touchdown drive of their own. Consecutive receptions by Brian Quick for 14 and 16 yards and an 18-yard carry by Tavon Austin led to Zac Stacy's 2-yard touchdown carry.

McCown led another extended drive, leading the Bucs inside the Rams 10 before his pass intended for Vincent Jackson was picked off by Rodney McLeod, ending the scoring threat.

Then came the lightning. Storms in the area caused a prolonged delay in the game. When it finally returned, Zuerlein kicked a 36-yard field goal to send the Rams into halftime with a 10-7 lead.

The Bucs set up at their own 40 following Stacy's fumble on the first drive of the second half. McCown completed three passes to Jackson for 44 yards on the drive and ran it in from a yard out to make it 14-10.

The Rams took more than 6 1/2 minutes off the clock on their next touch, which ended in a 35-yard field goal by Zuerlein.

Zuerlein kicked another field goal -- this time from 46 yards out -- early in the fourth quarter to put the Rams in front. Tampa came back and moved into scoring position thanks to Rainey's 31-yard scamper, and Patrick Murray made it 17-16 with his 36-yard kick. Murray had a field goal blocked by E.J. Gaines earlier in the half.

Game Notes

Davis completed passes to eight different receivers ... McCown's last game with two rushing touchdowns came in Week 15, 2004, as a member of the Cardinals ... Buccaneers defensive tackle Gerald McCoy left the game with a hand injury ... This was Rainey's third career game rushing for 100-plus yards ... Hall-of-Fame linebacker Derrick Brooks was inducted into the Buccaneers Ring of Honor at halftime.

Rams rally to knock off Bucs 19-17

Quarterback Austin Davis, making his first NFL start in place of the injured Shaun Hill, played efficient, turnover-free football. But it took injured Tampa Bay wide receiver Mike Evans to allow the Rams to escape with a 19-17 victory — their first of the season.

A 27-yard completion from Josh McCown to Evans on the final series of the game gave the Bucs a first down at the St. Louis 32, within range of a field goal attempt by Tampa to win the game.

But because Evans was injured and Tampa had no timeouts left, there was a 10-second runoff _ by rule. (It's designed to keep trailing teams from faking injury to stop the clock.)

There were only 8 seconds left on the clock at the time. So the game ended right there: Rams 19, Bucs 17.

Greg Zuerlein's game-winning field goal came from 38 yards out with 38 seconds left.

For the second time in as many games, the Rams won the coin toss and deferred to the second half, which meant their defense took the field first.

Maybe the Rams should re-think that next week. Because for the second week in a row, the opposing team scored off the opening kickoff. Last week, it was Minnesota with a field goal on its first drive.

This week, Tampa Bay scored a touchdown off the opening kickoff, on a five-yard scramble by Josh McCown with 8:56 to go in the first quarter. The Rams were gracious on defense, getting called offsides on two of the game's first four plays.

The first penalty (against William Hayes) was declined because running back Bobby Rainey, starting in place of the injured Doug Martin, ran for 24 yards around right end.

And then, on second-and-6 from the Rams 40, Michael Brockers was called for offsides. This proved very costly because it looked like James Laurinaitis recovered a fumble by McCown and returned it 66 yards for a Rams touchdown.

Instead of a Rams TD, it was second-and-1, Bucs, from the St. Louis 35. Rainey was stopped by Eugene Sims for no gain on third-and-1 from the 35. But Sims brought Rainey down with a horse-collar tackle drawing the flag.

So instead of a fourth-down choice from the 35 between kicking a field goal and going it for it, the Bucs had a first down at the St. Louis 20 after the 15-yard penalty.

The Bucs were in the end zone six plays later.

The Rams came right back on their first possession, marching 80 yards on 10 plays for a game-tying touchdown. Back-to-back receptions by Brian Quick accounted for 30 of those 80 yards, and Tavon Austin tacked on 18 with an end-around that advanced the ball to the Tampa 18.

The next three plays were carries by Zac Stacy, with the third going for two yards and a game-tying touchdown behind a heavy formation that included backup center Tim Barnes as an eligible extra blocker.

Tampa Bay was in scoring position on its next series, advancing all the way to the St. Louis 9. But McCown, under pressure from Laurinaitis, made a horrible decision in throwing towards the end zone instead of throwing it away.

Rams free safety Rodney McLeod scooped up the low throw for an interception _ the third of his NFL career _ and the Rams took over at their 2 with 11:14 to go in the second quarter.

Five minutes later, the lightning came and the game was delayed. On the last play before the delay, Austin suffered a knee injury trying to make a catch on an Austin Davis pass that fell incomplete.

Austin warmed up with the team after the weather delay, but when play resumed he was watching with his right knee wrapped and his helmet off on the sideline.

A blocked punt by safety T.J. McDonald gave the Rams possession at the Tampa Bay 28 with 3:19 left to go in the half. By the drive stalled when Davis couldn't handle a shotgun snap from center Scott Wells on third-and-5 from the Bucs' 12. After the six-yard loss Greg Zuerlein kicked a 36-yard field goal to give the Rams a 10-7 lead _ their first lead of the season.

That lead disappeared in the third quarter after a Zac Stacy fumble in Tampa territory on the opening drive of the second half. Safety Dahon Goldson recovered on the Bucs 40 and in the end zone seven plays later on a one-yard run by QB McCown. Wide receiver Vincent Jackson had catches of 20 and 18 yards on the play.

But the Rams added a pair of Zuerlein field goals to take a 16-14 lead 6 minutes into the fourth quarter. But as was frequently the case Sunday, the Rams couldn't stand prosperity. A roughing the passer penalty against Jo-Lonn Dunbar on Tampa's next drive prevented the Bucs' from punting.

A 31-yard run by Rainey put the Bucs in position for a 36-yard field goal by rookie Patrick Murray, giving Tampa a 17-16 lead with just over 5 minutes to play. It was Murray's first NFL field goal.