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NHL briefs

By Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published October 8, 2000


Sabres, rookie goalie rally

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Dave Andreychuk capped a four-goal outburst as the Sabres came back to beat the Los Angeles Kings 5-3 Saturday night.

Vaclav Varada scored twice, Stu Barnes had a goal and two assists, and J.P. Dumont had a goal and an assist for the Sabres, who overcame a 2-0 first-period deficit.

Rookie goalie Mika Noronen, playing his second game in place of injured Dominik Hasek, stopped 19 shots as the Sabres opened the season with two straight home wins for the first time since 1988.

Ziggy Palffy and Rob Blake scored first-period power-play goals for the Kings.

After the Sabres scored three second-period goals to take a 3-2 lead, Andreychuk scored what proved to be the winner with 5:30 left with a wrap-around power-play goal.

Messier makes presence felt

ATLANTA -- Mark Messier officially donned his No. 11 New York Rangers sweater for the first time in four seasons and assisted on the team's first goal.

The Rangers responded Saturday night by opening a season with a victory for the first time since 1992-93, 2-1 over the Thrashers.

"Thank goodness we have him back," the Rangers' Brian Leetch said. "It seems natural to see him out there."

Messier, 39, was skating toward the top of the slot during a five-on-three advantage when he picked up a loose puck and fed Valeri Kamensky at the bottom of the left circle.

Kamensky fired the puck to the right of goalie Damian Rhodes for a 1-0 lead at 18:40 of the first period.

"The power play really boils down to pounding the puck and hard work," Messier said. "There's no question we have enough skill to make the power play work."

The Rangers were on another power play 56 seconds later when Petr Nedved punched in a rebound from the top of the crease.

The Thrashers, in their second season, dropped to 1-18-2 in their past 21 home games. They had an NHL-worst 39 points last season.

SENATORS 3, STARS 1: Alexei Yashin, Rob Zamuner and Andreas Dackell scored as Ottawa won its home opener.

A sellout crowd of 18,500 let Yashin know how it felt about his yearlong contract holdout. Yashin was booed mildly as he stepped onto the ice for warmups and robustly when the Senators were introduced. The boos continued intermittently throughout the game.

Cheers were mixed with boos when Yashin opened the scoring 3:56 into the second period. On his backhand, Yashin redirected a pass from Shawn McEachern past goalie Ed Belfour for his first goal of the season.

BLACKHAWKS 5, BLUE JACKETS 3: For a while, host Columbus looked more like a playoff contender than an expansion team. Bruce Gardiner, David Vyborny and Steve Heinze scored in a two-minute first-period blitz.

"But hockey's a 60-minute game, not a 12-minute game," Blue Jackets goalie Ron Tugnutt said after his team frittered away that 3-0 lead in its first regular-season game.

Chicago's Reto Von Arx and Tony Amonte each scored twice, and Columbus helped on three Blackhawks goals with sloppy play.

BRUINS 5, FLYERS 1: Joe Thornton scored twice and goalie Byron Dafoe stopped 27 shots before being lifted with a pulled left hamstring with 8:30 left for visiting Boston.

"I felt a little pop in the last minute of the second period," Dafoe said. "It's nothing major, and it doesn't feel that bad, but you never know. I didn't have to come off, but why push it."

Dafoe was replaced by Andrew Raycroft, who made four saves in his first NHL game.

MAPLE LEAFS 2, CANADIENS 0: Curtis Joseph, limited by a groin injury to two exhibition games, had 26 saves as host Toronto opened its season with a victory.

Joseph got the 27th shutout of his career.

"My groin feels pretty good," he said. "It was just a matter of getting it strong."

Jonas Hoglund and Sergei Berezin scored for Toronto.

HURRICANES 3, CAPITALS 3: Richard Zednik scored with 1:47 left as Washington twice rallied to tie. Host Carolina blew a 2-0 lead and was 1-for-9 on the power play. "We didn't finish, and we just seemed to get into a rut," Carolina captain Ron Francis said. "We didn't make the proper adjustments at the right time, and it ultimately cost us the hockey game."

RANGERS 2, THRASHERS 1: Mark Messier officially donned his No. 11 New York sweater for the first time in four seasons and assisted on the team's first goal. The visiting Rangers responded by opening a season with a victory for the first time since 1992-93.

Playing his first game with the Rangers since 1997, Messier, 39, was skating toward the top of the slot during a five-on-three advantage when he picked up a loose puck and fed Valeri Kamensky at the bottom of the left circle.

Kamensky fired the puck to the right of goalie Damian Rhodes for a 1-0 lead at 18:40 of the first period.

Rangers defenseman Vladimir Malakhov, credited with an assist on Kamensky's goal, left during the second period with a sprained knee and did not return.

Late Friday

PREDATORS 3, PENGUINS 1: Scott Walker scored an empty-net goal in the final seconds to help Nashville beat Pittsburgh at Omiya, Japan, for the Predators' first season-opening victory in their three-year history.

This was the third time the NHL has opened its season in Japan.

The crowd of over 13,000 -- more than a few wearing NHL jerseys -- watched the action in relative quiet, saving outbursts for dramatic moments. Ohhs and ahhs arose whenever players tussled, and fans clapped inflatable bats after exciting plays.

The Penguins, however, weren't having any fun.

"I don't feel that good," Pittsburgh coach Ivan Hlinka said. "I think the Nashville team played better. You should play with discipline, and we lost the discipline in the second period."

The Penguins were called for five penalties in the second period.

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