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Unbeaten Coyotes edge out winless Penguins


This is about as far away from the script as you can get.

Granted, we’re not even a full week into the season, but the Arizona Coyotes — a team many are predicting to finish in the NHL basement — followed up their commanding win against the Los Angeles Kings with a 2-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins Saturday night.

Mike Smith has thus far managed to put his shaky 2014-15 campaign behind him by stopping 67 of 69 shots against those two fierce franchises. While the 33-year-old goaltender might not be enough to keep the Coyotes afloat in the long-term, a strong season from Smith would be a big deal for the franchise as they’re committed to him at a roughly $5.7 million annual cap hit through 2018-19.

Meanwhile, Phil Kessel provided the lone goal for the Penguins tonight. With that, Pittsburgh’s star-studded offense has started the season by collecting just one goal over two contests against Arizona and Dallas.

The Coyotes relied on youth to power their attack as 22-year-old sophomore Tobias Rieder and 23-year-old rookie Jordan Martinook were the only players that managed to get the best of Marc-Andre Fleury. The Penguins’ netminder had an otherwise strong night with 37 saves.

Pittsburgh will try to rebound Tuesday in its home opener against Montreal. Arizona only had two three-game winning streaks in all of 2014-15, but it can get its first of this campaign with a victory against Anaheim on Wednesday.

Kane, Panarin lead Blackhawks past Islanders

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CHICAGO (AP) Patrick Kane and rookie Artemi Panarin each had a goal and two assists, and the Chicago Blackhawks beat the New York Islanders 4-1 on Saturday night.

Defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk added his first career NHL goal as the Blackhawks cruised to their first home win of the season. Chicago also beat New York 3-2 in overtime on Friday night, spoiling the Islanders’ Brooklyn debut.

Scott Darling made 28 saves for the reigning Stanley Cup champions in his first start of the season. He was working on a shutout before Cal Clutterbuck got a short-handed goal with 1:05 left in the third.

Jean-Francois Berube had 30 stops for New York in his NHL debut. No. 1 goalie Jaroslav Halak remains out with an upper-body injury, and the 24-year-old Berube was claimed off waivers from the Kings last Tuesday.

Kane, who had two goals in the victory at New York on Friday night, assisted on van Riemsdyk’s opening score in the first period, and set up Panarin at 5:53 of the second. Kane then tipped a pass from van Riemsdyk by Berube for a 3-0 lead.

Chicago defenseman Brent Seabrook added a 5-on-3 power-play goal late in the third period. It was his first of the season.

Darling, from suburban Lemont, Illinois, got the start after No. 1 goalie Corey Crawford played in each of the Blackhawks’ first two games.

Chicago jumped in front when van Riemsdyk glided down the slot and backhanded in a loose puck at 4:07 of the first. Kane set up the chance with a wrist shot from just inside the blue line.

And there was no question about this goal for van Riemsdyk.

It looked as if the defenseman had his first NHL goal last season in a 5-2 win over San Jose on Nov. 9, 2014. But the league ruled the next day that van Riemsdyk’s slap shot had been deflected in by teammate Kris Versteeg.

NOTES: Berube was drafted 95th overall by the Kings in 2009. … After a solid start as a rookie last year, van Riemsdyk’s left kneecap was shattered on Nov. 16. He returned for four games of the Stanley Cup Final. … In addition to Halak, F Steve Bernier and rookie D Ryan Pulock were scratches for the Islanders. … D David Rundblad and RW Kyle Baun sat out again for the Blackhawks.

Video: Kessel scores his first goal with Penguins


After being shutout in their season opener, the Pittsburgh Penguins got on the board early in the second period of tonight’s game against the Arizona Coyotes. Appropriately, it was Phil Kessel that struck first.

Rather than being the result of a fancy play with Sidney Crosby, Kessel scored by knocking the puck away from Coyotes captain Shane Doan and then firing a wrister past Mike Smith.

Acquired from the Toronto Maple Leafs over the summer in a blockbuster trade, the expectation is that uniting one of the best snipers in the game with arguably the league’s best forward in Sidney Crosby will make them one of the most dangerous duos. That made the Penguins’ inability to score in its opener against Dallas on Thursday all the more jarring, even though they obviously can’t be judged based solely off of a single game.

Kessel’s goal didn’t immediately reverse Pittsburgh’s fortunes though though. While he was able to tie the game, Arizona’s Jordan Martinook retook the lead just 1:12 minutes later and that 2-1 edge persisted until the second intermission.

Lundqvist stops 37, including a stunner, for third win in four days


This time, Henrik Lundqvist isn’t struggling out of the gate.

Playing for the third time in four days, the New York Rangers goaltender turned aside 37 of 39 shots to earn a 5-2 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Along the way he made a stunning, diving save to rob Blue Jackets forward Ryan Johansen of a goal, as you can see above. He now has a 2.00 GAA and .943 save percentage in three starts.

His performance has been in stark contrast to the 2014-15 campaign when he already had two six-goal showings by the time he had played in three games and 2013-14 when he surrendered 15 goals in his first four contests.

“Last thing (Rangers coach Alain Vigneault) told me before I went back to Sweden was, ‘You have to be better when we start.’ That stayed with me the entire summer,” Lundqvist told The Record’s Andrew Gross.

His efforts have been to the benefit of the Rangers as they’ve escaped their rough start to the season unscathed. They can now afford to take a short breather before hosting the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday.

Related: Video: Rookie Lindberg stays red hot with two goals in under four minutes

Mrazek saves 44, setting up Wings’ comeback win over Canes

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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) Teemu Pulkkinen insists he got lucky with his first goal, then again with his second. The Detroit Red Wings weren’t about to argue with the results.

Pulkkinen scored two goals in the third period, lifting Detroit past the Carolina Hurricanes 4-3 on Saturday night.

The Red Wings scored three goals in the third to erase a 2-1 deficit, with Pulkkinen tying it with 15:21 left and then adding the go-ahead goal with 13:24 remaining.

“I just need a couple lucky ones,” Pulkkinen said, “and then it’s way easier.”

Henrik Zetterberg had an early goal and assisted on Justin Abdelkater’s insurance goal with 3:35 to play.

Turns out they needed it, after Justin Faulk made it a one-goal game by scoring with 2.1 seconds left.

Nathan Gerbe and Victor Rask had goals for Carolina, which scored on consecutive shots in the final 5 minutes of the second.

“We played hard,” Carolina captain Eric Staal said. “We played well. You’re not going to fault anything, I don’t think, with our game. I thought we played hard, to a man, and didn’t get the result, but that effort’s going to be there all year.”

Cam Ward made 15 saves for the Hurricanes while Petr Mrazek turned aside the first 32 shots he faced and finished with 43 saves.

“Mrazek played unbelievable the whole game, not just the first period when he basically kept us by himself in the game,” Zetterberg said.

Pulkkinen tied it at 2 after he slipped through the slot and crashed the net. Then he outfought Carolina’s John-Michael Liles in front of Ward and redirected Tomas Tatar‘s shot to put the Red Wings back up.

“I think (the first goal) was a lucky bounce – it just came to me, I barely hit it and it went into the net,” said Pulkkinen, who had an AHL-best 34 goals in just 46 games last season with Grand Rapids. “And I think the second one was a lucky one, too.”

Said Zetterberg: “He knows where to be, and he knows how to score goals. It’s nice to have that in this game.”

Abdelkater then made it 4-2 with his fourth goal in just over 24 hours. He opened his season with a hat trick in a 4-0 win over Toronto on Friday night.

Carolina, which finished with a 46-19 shots advantage, generated plenty of scoring chances – but just couldn’t solve Mrazek until late in the second.

Rask finally broke through, batting in a rebound behind the Detroit goalie’s back with 4:48 left in the second for the first goal of the season allowed by the Red Wings.

Gerbe then gave the Hurricanes their first lead of the season when he parked in front of the net, took a slick feed from Ryan Murphy as the defenseman charged down the boards and slipped the puck past Mrazek with 56.5 seconds left.

Zetterberg broke a scoreless tie at 8:27 of the second on just Detroit’s sixth shot. He took a feed from Dylan Larkin, snaked around the end line and tucked the puck under Ward’s right leg.

In what proved to be an early turning point, the Hurricanes had a 5-on-3 power play for 46 seconds and peppered Mrazek with seven rapid-fire shots.

He stopped them all – and, for that matter, everything he faced until the final minutes of the second.

“You want to score on the power play early,” Staal said, “but we controlled the whole first period and most of the second as well. … A couple key mistakes cost us.”

NOTES: Two teenagers earned points: In addition to Detroit’s 19-year-old Larkin, 18-year-old Carolina D Noah Hanifin picked up his first NHL point for assisting on Rask’s goal. … D Michal Jordan replaced injured D James Wisniewski in the Hurricanes’ lineup. Wisniewski will miss six months after tearing a knee ligament in the opener. … Carolina C Riley Nash skated just five shifts before exiting with an upper body injury and did not return.