Hockey Today - October 4

Hockey Today - October 4

Hockey Today - October 4
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Florida at N.Y. Rangers (7 p.m. EST). Free-agent acquisitions Chris Drury and Scott Gomez make their debuts for the Rangers.

STARS

-Paul Stastny, Avalanche, had his first career hat trick in Colorado's 4-3 win over Dallas.

-Dany Heatley, Senators, scored his second goal of the game 2:57 into overtime and Ottawa defeated Toronto 4-3.

-Saku Koivu, Canadiens, scored his second power-play goal 1:05 into overtime to give Montreal a 3-2 win at Carolina.

-Jiri Hudler and Dominik Hasek, Red Wings. Hudler scored and Hasek made three saves in a shootout, lifting Detroit to a 3-2 victory over Anaheim.

EXTRA, EXTRA, EXTRA

Three of the four NHL games on Wednesday night went beyond regulation time. Montreal and Ottawa won in overtime, while Detroit bested defending champion Anaheim in a shootout. In the other contest, Colorado withstood a late rally from Dallas for a 4-3 victory.

LOCKED UP

Dany Heatley agreed to terms on a six-year, $45-million extension with the Senators on Wednesday - 2 1/2 hours before Ottawa's season opener at Toronto. The new deal, which is front-loaded, will pay an average of $7.5 million, tops on the Senators.

LONG ROAD AHEAD

New Jersey begins its season-opening nine-game road trip in Tampa Bay on Thursday night. The trip was necessary because the new Prudential Center in Newark is getting its final touches. Only two other NHL teams started a season with nine consecutive road games, Quebec in 1980-81 and Carolina in 1999-2000. Both were also waiting for arena renovation or construction to be completed.

REGAINING RESPECT

Philadelphia will try to begin improving on its worst season in franchise history when it opens its season in Calgary on Thursday night. The Flyers were the worst team in the league last season, missed the playoffs for the first time since 1994, set team records for most losses (48) and fewest points (56), and an NHL mark for greatest one-year point drop of 45.

CARRYOVER

Montreal, owners of the best power-play unit in the NHL last season at 22.8 percent, scored all three of its goals with the man-advantage on Wednesday night, including the overtime winner in a 3-2 win at Carolina.

SNAPPED

Dallas had its 10-game unbeaten streak in season openers end with Wednesday night's 4-3 loss to Colorado. It was the active streak in the league. The Avalanche, meanwhile, moved to 16-5-7 in franchise history in season openers, the best winning percentage in the NHL.

ANOTHER SLOW START

Carolina lost its fifth straight season opener with a 3-2 overtime defeat to Montreal on Wednesday night.

SPEAKING


''I think it's the local economy right now. I think it's hurting us as well as everyone else.'' - Detroit defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom attempting to explain why there wasn't a sellout for the Red Wings' season opener against defending champion Anaheim on Wednesday night.

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Boston Bruins sign veteran center Glen Metropolit
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BOSTON -- The Boston Bruins signed journeyman center Glen Metropolit, who had 14 goals and 19 assists in 77 games with two teams last season.

Metropolit appeared in four preseason games before signing with the Bruins on Wednesday.

Metropolit started last season for the Atlanta Thrashers before being traded along with draft picks to the St. Louis Blues for center Keith Tkachuk.

Metropolit made his NHL debut in 1999 with the Washington Capitals. He has 24 goals and 56 assists in 180 career games.

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Brookbank claimed by Devils off waivers from Columbus
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NEWARK, N.J. -- The New Jersey Devils claimed defenseman Sheldon Brookbank off waivers from the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday.

Brookbank, who will turn 27 Wednesday, had 15 goals and 38 assists with Milwaukee of the AHL last season. He won the Eddie Shore Trophy as the league's top defenseman.

Brookbank made his NHL debut appearing in three games with Nashville in February, posting his first career point with an assist against Pittsburgh.

The Lanigan, Saskatchewan, native was signed as a free agent by Columbus on July 1.

The Devils opent he season in Tampa Bay on Thursday.

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Today's key NHL matchup notes
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Florida at N.Y. Rangers


New York has won their last two season openers, while Florida has won three straight openers. The Rangers and Panthers split four meetings last season, including two at MSG. The Rangers, though, have won five of the last six meetings there.

Toronto at Ottawa


The Senators now look to extend their mastery over their provincial rivals and complete a sweep of the home-and-home series. Ottawa is 13-2-2 versus Toronto since the lockout ended.

New Jersey at Tampa Bay

Devils goalie Martin Brodeur is 23-13-2 with five ties, five shutouts and a 2.03 goals-against average against Tampa Bay in the regular season. The Lightning went 3-1-0 against the Devils during the 2006-07 regular season, winning once in a shootout.

Colorado at Nashville

Chris Mason is the new No. 1 goaltender in Nashville. He had 24 wins in 38 starts, including five shutouts and a 2.38 goals-against average last season. The Preds are 2-3-0 all-time in season openers at the old Gaylord Entertainment Center. Colorado, meanwhile, is 8-3-4 in road openers for a .667 winning percentage.

Chicago at Minnesota

Minnesota went 4-0-0 against Chicago last season and will try for its eighth consecutive victory over the Blackhawks. Wild backstop Niklas Backstrom went 23-8-6 with an NHL-best 1.97 goals-against average last season as a rookie.

San Jose at Edmonton

The Edmonton Oilers and San Jose Sharks split four games last season.

St. Louis at Phoenix

St. Louis scored the fifth-fewest goals in the league with 208 and had the second-worst power-play percentage at 12.1 percent. The Coyotes are looking to improve on defense, as they allowed the third-most goals last season with 282.

Philadelphia at Calgary

These teams have met only once in the last four years with the Flyers winning 1-0 in a shootout on Dec. 6, 2005. Philadelphia hasn't won in Calgary since Oct. 12, 2002

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Wednesday's NHL Capsules
October 3, 2007

DETROIT (AP) -Jiri Hudler scored and Dominik Hasek made three saves in a shootout, lifting Detroit to a 3-2 victory over Anaheim on Wednesday night in a rematch of the Western Conference finals.

Anaheim's Todd Bertuzzi scored and set up a go-ahead goal late in the second period for the defending Stanley Cup champions against his former team, but the Red Wings tied it at 2 early in the third.

Tomas Holmstrom tied the game on a power-play goal off a cross-crease assist from Henrik Zetterberg, who had scored midway through the first period.

Anaheim's Ilya Bryzgalov made 40 saves, playing for injured goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere.

Hasek stopped 13 shots.


RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - Saku Koivu scored his second power-play goal of the game 1:05 into overtime to lift the Canadiens.

Mark Streit also scored and Andrei Markov had two assists for Montreal, which scored all three goals on the power play.

Moments after Niclas Wallin was called for cross-checking, the Canadiens worked the puck back to Koivu, who snapped the game-winner past Cam Ward's glove side.

Erik Cole and Bret Hedican scored for Carolina, which began its 10th season in North Carolina by losing its fifth straight opener.

Erik Cole and Bret Hedican scored for Carolina, which began its 10th season in North Carolina by losing its fifth straight opener.


TORONTO (AP) - Dany Heatley scored his second goal of the game 2:57 into overtime to lift Ottawa past Toronto.

Just hours before the season opener for both teams, Heatley agreed to a new 6-year, $45 million deal with the Senators.

Heatley, who had tied the game late in the third period, buried a wrist shot from the middle of Toronto's zone between the legs of goaltender Andrew Raycroft.

Antoine Vermette and Daniel Alfredsson also scored for the Senators in John Paddock's his first game as head coach.

Nik Antropov, who coach Paul Maurice put on the first line, scored twice for the Maple Leafs, while Matt Stajan had Toronto's other goal.

Nik Antropov, who coach Paul Maurice put on the first line, scored twice for the Maple Leafs, while Matt Stajan had Toronto's other goal.


DENVER (AP) - Paul Stastny had his first career hat trick and Andrew Brunette added three assists for Colorado in the season opener for both teams.

Wojtek Wolski added a goal and Jaroslav Hlinka had two assists for Colorado.

Jeff Halpern, Niklas Hagman and Jussi Jokinen scored for the Stars, who had their 10-game unbeaten streak in season openers snapped. It was the longest active streak in the league.

The Avalanche moved to 16-5-7 in franchise history in season openers, the best winning percentage in the NHL.

Colorado led 4-1 to begin the third period, but the Stars made things interesting when Jokinen scored midway through the third and Hagman added another at 17:10.

The Stars pulled goalie Marty Turco with 1:10 remaining, but couldn't score.

Avalanche goalie Peter Budaj finished with 31 saves.

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Blues sign RW Johnson
October 4th, 2007

Glendale, AZ (Sports Network) - The St. Louis Blues signed veteran right wing Mike Johnson Thursday.

The 6-foot-2, 202-pound forward played with the Montreal Canadiens last season and collected 31 points (11 goals, 20 assists) in 80 games.

The Scarborough, Ontario native has skated in 640 career NHL games, with Phoenix, Tampa Bay and Toronto, and has collected 370 points (127 goals, 243 assists) along with 307 penalty minutes.

The Blues open up their 2007-08 season on Thursday with a game in Phoenix.

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Coyotes D Michalek has broken hand
October 4th, 2007

Glendale, AZ (Sports Network) - Phoenix Coyotes defenseman Zbynek Michalek suffered a broken hand on Wednesday and is expected to miss four to six weeks.

Michalek, who suffered the injury during a Coyotes practice, played in all 82 games last season, posting four goals and 28 points.

The club has recalled defenseman Ryan Caldwell from their AHL team in San Antonio under emergency conditions, because Phoenix had only five healthy defensemen on the roster.

Caldwell is expected to be in the lineup for the Coyotes' season-opener Thursday against the St. Louis Blues. A seventh-round pick of the Islanders in 2000, Caldwell played in two games last season with New York.

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