Defending champions open season with win

PITTSBURGH --- Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby watched the Penguins raise their Stanley Cup banner, then got the NHL champions off to a familiar start by scoring their first two goals during a 3-2 victory over the New York Rangers on Friday night.


Crosby and Tyler Kennedy scored 1:08 apart in the second period to give the Penguins a 3-1 lead and allow them to withstand Marian Gaborik's first goal for the Rangers, the only scoring during the third period.

Pittsburgh's Marc-Andre Fleury made 25 saves -- including a goal-saving, glove-hand stop on Vinny Prospal late in the first period. The Rangers would have led 2-1 if Prospal had scored and might have seized some of the momentum created by the Penguins' pregame celebration.

While the Penguins stayed mostly the same during the brief off-season, except for losing top defensive pair Rob Scuderi and Hal Gill, the Rangers underwent a major retooling after a disappointing end to last season. They cast off scoring leaders Scott Gomez and Nikolai Zherdev, plus Markus Naslund and seven other players from last season, and added Gaborik, the former Minnesota star and the top free agent on the market.


In Stockholm, Paul Kariya scored two goals as St. Louis rallied to edge Detroit.

St. Louis turned it around by scoring three consecutive goals within a span of 5:05 in the second period. The comeback started when Paul Kariya got the first of his two goals on the power play, beating goalie Chris Osgood with a shot from the point. The veteran forward scored again at 17:36 to win it, beating Osgood with a shot to the stick side after skating in alone.

B.J. Crombeen had tied the score 3-3 when he knocked in a rebound.

The Blues' win spoiled the homecoming of seven Swedes on the Detroit team.


In Raleigh, N.C., Ray Emery made 28 saves in his Philadelphia debut, leading the Flyers to a victory over Carolina.

Jeff Carter and Mike Richards scored 22 seconds apart for Philadelphia. The Flyers put their first two shots of the second period past Cam Ward and held on for their eighth win in 10 meetings with Carolina.

Ward stopped 25 shots for Carolina.

Emery finished with his ninth career shutout.


In Helsinki, Finnish defender Ville Koistinen scored the winning goal in the shootout, lifting Florida past Chicago.

Koistinen also scored in regulation, giving the local fans a thrill in the first NHL game on Finnish ice. Steven Reinprecht also connected in the shootout for Florida.

Chicago's Patrick Kane scored a goal and assisted on another.



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