Preseason quick recaps – September 28th

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NHL.gifHere’s the recap of tonight’s preseason action. Soak it in.

Washington 3 – Boston 2

Plus: Alex Semin had a goal for Washington. Michael Neuvirth played well for the Caps in goal. Brad Marchand had a goal for Boston.

Minus: Alex Ovechkin got a bit grumpy in this one and exchanged some spirited words with Gregory Campbell. It also offered up this photo from Russian Machine Never Breaks that will surely get overanalyzed by everyone with access to a computer.

Buffalo 2 – Ottawa 1

Plus: Ryan Miller played the whole way and did well to earn the win. Jason Pominville scored the game-winner for the Sabres. Patrick Wiercioch scored Ottawa’s only goal.

Minus: Ottawa goalie Robin Lehner misplayed a puck on the small ice surface in Dundas, Ontario that lead to a Rob Niedermayer shorthanded goal. Oops. The rink was ten feet shorter in length and five feet lesser in width.

Pittsburgh 4 – Chicago 1

Plus: Evgeni Malkin played a strong game, adding a goal while Pens defenseman Paul Martin had two assists. Brent Johnson stopped 21 shots in the win. Kyle Beach continued his strong camp scoring Chicago’s lone goal.

Minus: Chicago goaltending was in rough shape tonight getting hung out to dry by their defense to the tune of 39 shots.

Columbus 3 – Minnesota 2 (F/SO)

Plus: Nikita Filatov had a strong game for the Jackets scoring in regulation and the shootout. Matt Cullen played well for the Wild scoring once.

Minus: Yes, another preseason shootout. Brutal. Just as brutal? The Wild. They rolled out what was essentially their opening night lineup against Columbus’ B/C team and still lost. Confidence is very low in Minnesota right now.

New Jersey 3 – Philadelphia 2

Plus: Ilya Kovalchuk played a great game and scored the eventual game-winning goal. Travis Zajac and Adam Mair also had goals for the Devils. Nikolai Zherdev had a goal and an assist for Philly. Martin Brodeur stopped 26 in getting the win.

Minus: Devils defenseman Bryce Salvador left the game with an injury.

Colorado 2 – Dallas 1

Plus: Paul Stastny had both Colorado goals in the win. James Neal had Dallas’ lone goal. Peter Budaj stopped just 20 shots in the win.

Minus: Dallas’ offense for generating just 21 shots on goal against a Colorado team that’s been letting teams shoot at will in the preseason.

Calgary 3 – Phoenix 1

Plus: Jarome Iginla had a goal as did Niklas Hagman. Youngster T.J. Brodie had another goal for Calgary in the preseason. He’s doing well to impress coaches. Henrik Karlsson stopped 19 shots in the win.

Minus: Olli Jokinen left the game with an injury, but according to Coach Sutter, it’s a minor thing and he’ll be all right. Crisis averted.

Vancouver 3 – San Jose 1

Plus: Solid game all around for Vancouver getting scoring from all over the place. Cory Schneider bounced back well in goal stopping 23 shots for the win.

Minus: Antti Niemi looked a bit rough out there stopping just 19 shots in the loss. Canucks rookie wonder Cody Hodgson was buried on the fourth line by the end of this one, playing just 11:33 of this game. Can’t really get a good look at a player if he’s glued to the bench.

Los Angeles 8 – Anaheim 3

Plus: How about that Kings offense? Anze Kopitar had four assists, meanwhile Jack Johnson had two goals and an assist to lead the way for the Kings. Todd Marchant had two goals for Anaheim in a losing effort.

Minus: Everything the Ducks did tonight. Perhaps part of their evil plan was to make the Kings look so good they don’t want to send anyone to the AHL and then they get busted for a roster violation. Curtis McElhinney stopped 34 of the 42 shots he saw in this one. Ouch, babe.

Bernier (upper-body injury) gives way to Gibson in Ducks net

GLENDALE, AZ - OCTOBER 01:  Goaltender Jonathan Bernier #1 of the Anaheim Ducks during the preseason NHL game against Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena on October 1, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona. The Coyotes defeated the Ducks 3-2 in overtime.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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Anaheim Ducks goalie John Gibson began Tuesday’s game on the bench, but was forced into action to begin the second period against the San Jose Sharks.

Jonathan Bernier, who got the start, left the game with an upper-body injury and was doubtful to return, the Ducks stated on Twitter.

Bernier has played in only one other game for Anaheim so far, making 42 saves on 45 shots in a loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Oct. 15.

‘Dig in there with the rest of the guys,’ says Babcock after leaving Andersen in against Bolts

OTTAWA, ON - OCTOBER 12: In his first game as a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs Frederik Andersen #31 puts his mask on against the Ottawa Senators at Canadian Tire Centre on October 12, 2016 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.  (Photo by Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photography/Getty Images)
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Frederik Andersen‘s difficult start to the season continues.

After an interesting exchange when questioned about his goaltender prior to Tuesday’s game against the visiting Tampa Bay Lightning and some guy named Steven Stamkos, Toronto Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock was once again forced to answer inquiries about the play of Andersen, who allowed seven goals on just 24 shots.

Andersen stayed in the crease for the entire game, as the Leafs lost 7-3. He certainly didn’t get much help in the defensive end from his teammates in front of him.

Stamkos started the scoring for Tampa Bay, and continued it with a rocket one-timer past Andersen, before finishing with a four-point night.

But in Toronto, the conversation about the amazing play of rookies like Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner seems to have shifted to the play of their goalie, acquired in a blockbuster deal with Anaheim, in which Toronto parted ways with a first- and second-round pick to make it happen. The Leafs then signed him to a five-year, $25 million deal.

Playing on a new team in a hockey-crazed market has likely been an adjustment. His season also started with an injury in Olympic qualifying.

Following the loss Tuesday, Babcock explained his reasoning for leaving Andersen in net for all seven Tampa Bay goals, two of which came late in the third period.

“I want him to play. He’s my guy. I want him to play,” said Babcock, as per Jonas Siegel of The Canadian Press. “So I could pull him and then say, ‘Okay I showed you!’ But what did I show him? To me, dig in there with the rest of the guys, make the next save and give us a chance to come back and win the game. You can’t do that sitting on the bench.”

The Maple Leafs face the Florida Panthers on Thursday. Florida’s goalie Roberto Luongo knows all-too-well about the pressures that come with playing the position in a Canadian market.

It is early in Andersen’s Toronto tenure.

But Babcock will likely be facing a similar line of questioning until his goalie turns it around.

Video: Flyers complete the comeback, defeat Sabres in the shootout

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The rookie got it started. The stars finished it.

The Philadelphia Flyers looked like they were headed for a second straight loss, down three goals to the Buffalo Sabres on home ice entering the third period of Tuesday’s game.

Matt Moulson had a pair of goals for Buffalo, both on the power play. He capitalized six seconds after Claude Giroux was called for hitting Zemgus Girgensons from behind the into the boards.

But the Flyers, who played Monday in Montreal, came roaring back in the third period.

Travis Konecny began the comeback, scoring his first career NHL goal. He had five assists coming into this game, but finally buried his first goal on a nifty deflection in front. The milestone moment got the Flyers on the board.

Late third-period power play goals from Brayden Schenn and Mark Streit just 1:05 apart sent this game to overtime, as Philly was able to capitalize on a pair of late Buffalo penalties.

Giroux and Jakub Voracek scored in the shootout to complete the comeback and give Philadelphia a 4-3 victory.

Meanwhile, the Sabres, without Jack Eichel and Evander Kane, are still searching for their second win of the season.

Crosby returns, and so does Penguins’ balanced attack in win

TORONTO, ON - NOVEMBER 14: Sidney Crosby #87 and Evgeni Malkin #71 of the Pittsburgh Penguins skate against the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre on November 14, 2014 in Toronto, Canada.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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PITTSBURGH — With Sidney Crosby back in the lineup for the first time this season on Tuesday night the Pittsburgh Penguins roster is starting to resemble the one that lifted the Stanley Cup four months ago.

About half way through their 3-2 win over the Florida Panthers, they finally started to look like that team on the ice, too.

Entering the game having lost three out of four (while looking quite bad and being outscored 15-7 in the process) it looked like that early season slump was going to continue on Tuesday when they faced a 2-0 deficit midway through the second period.

They looked sluggish. They couldn’t stay out of the penalty box. The Panthers were completely shutting the game down and had just put on a penalty killing clinic where they played a 40-second game of keep-away, sparking a chorus of boos from the home crowd.

And then Sidney Crosby showed up.

It was at that point that Crosby found himself wide open in the middle of the ice to accept a pass from Evgeni Malkin and rip it past Panthers goalie Jamies Reimer for his first goal of the year.

In the end, it was a typical night at the office for Crosby.

He scored a goal, was a possession-driving machine (better than 63 percent of the shot attempts with Crosby on the ice belonged to Pittsburgh) and finished with a team-leading four shots on goal and seven attempts.

But for his good as he was in his 2016-17 debut, the biggest impact his return had is it made once again made their lineup a nightmare to match up against.

The Penguins’ calling card in last year’s playoffs was their ability to play fast, and their deep, balanced attack that had four lines that could all contribute. It was a matchup problem that nobody could really handle as they kept rotating lines with Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel out one after another (not to mention a fourth line that has some scoring potential as well).

They obviously lose a lot of that advantage when Crosby is out of the lineup and teams only really have two big-time scoring threats to worry about.

On Tuesday, you could see it eventually start to become an issue for the Panthers as the Penguins received goals from three different lines in the win.

After Crosby scored to get the Penguins on the board, Carl Hagelin scored his first of the season to tie the game five minutes into the third period. Then fourth line provided the winner four minutes later when Eric Fehr finished a perfect pass from Tom Kuhnhackl.

Even with the win on Tuesday and a 4-2-1 start to the season it is still pretty clear the Penguins have some things to work through and are not quite where they need to be at this point. They have to cut down on the penalties. They really haven’t played a complete 60-minute game yet. The HBK line (which was broken up in the third period against Florida) has not really clicked the way it did in the playoffs. Kris Letang is still injured. But on Tuesday you started to see flashes of what made the team such a force in the playoffs.

With Crosby back on the ice and extending the lineup, you might start to see it happen a little more often.