Best of NHL: Golden Knights roll in emotional Las Vegas home opener

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Best of NHL: Golden Knights roll in emotional Las Vegas home opener

LAS VEGAS -- The Vegas Golden Knights' debut on the Strip was a poignant smash.

James Neal scored twice during a thrilling four-goal first period, and the Golden Knights remained unbeaten three games into their inaugural season with a 5-2 victory over the Arizona Coyotes in their home opener on Tuesday night.

Tomas Nosek scored the first home goal in franchise history just 2:31 into the first period, and Deryk Engelland added his first goal for his adopted hometown's new team moments later.

Marc-Andre Fleury made 31 saves for the Golden Knights, who became the first team in NHL history to begin their debut season with three straight wins.

Just nine days after the Las Vegas Strip shooting massacre, the Golden Knights reverently honored the victims and heroes before the long-awaited home debut of the city's first major professional sports franchise.

The Knights held a pregame ceremony during which the names of the shooting victims were projected in gold onto the ice during 58 seconds of silence. Engelland spoke eloquently to the fans, vowing that the Golden Knights "will do everything we can to help you and our city heal. We are Vegas Strong."

After that emotional outpouring, the Golden Knights charged into their home opener with some inspired hockey (see full recap).

Milano, Blue Jackets top Hurricanes in overtime
RALEIGH, N.C. -- Sonny Milano scored two goals, including the game-winner on a breakaway with 22 seconds left in overtime to give the Columbus Blue Jackets a 2-1 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday night.

Milano scored midway through the third period before Jeff Skinner tied it late in regulation with Carolina's net empty. Sergei Bobrovsky, last season's Vezina Trophy winner as the NHL's top goalie, made 37 saves for Columbus.

Scott Darling, obtained in an offseason trade with Chicago, stopped 25 shots for the Hurricanes.

Milano scored on a ricochet off Darling's backside at 10:01 of the third, assisted by Oliver Bjorkstrand and Nick Foligno. Milano became the first Columbus player to score in the first three games of a season.

Skinner tied it with an unassisted goal at 18:35 after the Hurricanes had pulled Darling.

Columbus is 15-3-0-3 in the all-time series and 8-7-0-2 in Raleigh (see full recap).

Senators edge Canucks in shootout for 1st win
VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- Mark Stone scored in the fifth round of the shootout as the Ottawa Senators picked up their first win of a season with a 3-2 victory over the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday night.

Kyle Turris kept Ottawa alive in the third round of the shootout after Markus Granlund gave Vancouver the early lead.

Cody Ceci and Ryan Dzingel scored in regulation for Ottawa (1-0-2), which got 26 saves from Craig Anderson.

Christopher Tanev and Thomas Vanek scored in regulation for Vancouver (1-0-1), while Henrik Sedin added two assists. Jacob Markstrom made 40 saves.

Tanev hit the post 28 seconds into overtime, before Sven Baertschi was stopped on a breakaway as Vancouver came close a couple of times in the extra period. Ottawa lost its first two games of the season in a shootout (see full recap).

Best of NHL: Expansion Golden Knights top Stars in franchise debut

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Best of NHL: Expansion Golden Knights top Stars in franchise debut

DALLAS -- James Neal scored twice in the third period Friday night, rallying the Golden Knights to a 2-1 victory over the Dallas Stars in the debut of the first major pro sports franchise in Las Vegas.

The expansion team was playing five days after the shooting that killed 58 people in Las Vegas, and the Dallas players honored the desert city by forming a line next to their Vegas counterparts before the national anthem.

With the video board reading "Viva Las Vegas" above the players, the public address announcer said "Dallas stands with Vegas and those affected by the horrifying tragedy."

Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 45 of 46 shots to help the Golden Knights become the first expansion to open with a victory since the Ottawa Senators in 1992. They also spoiled coach Ken Hitchcock's return to Dallas 18 years after he directed the franchise's only Stanley Cup title (see full recap).

Blue Jackets blank Islanders in season opener
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Pierre-Luc Dubois scored in his NHL debut and Sergei Bobrovsky made 29 saves in the Columbus Blue Jackets' 5-0 victory over the New York Islanders on Friday night in the season opener for both teams.

Rookie Sonny Milano scored 1:07 into the game, and the 19-year-old Dubois made it 5-0 midway through the second period. Arena. Cam Atkinson, Ryan Murray and Zach Werenski also scored, newcomer Artemi Panarin had three assists, and Alexander Wennberg added two assists.

Islanders starter Thomas Greiss made 21 saves before being pulled after giving up Dubois' goal. Jaroslav Halak stopped all 11 shots he faced in relief.

With all of the offensive opportunities created by the Blue Jackets, it could have been worse (see full recap).

Stamos has key assist in Lightning victory
TAMPA, Fla. -- Steven Stamkos set up the go-ahead goal in his return from a right knee injury and the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Florida Panthers 5-3 on Friday night in the season opener for both teams.

Stamkos missed the final 65 games last season with a torn meniscus in the knee, an injury that required surgery. He sent a pass from the left circle through the slot to Vladislav Namestnikov, who put Tampa Bay up 3-2 from near the post 59 seconds into the final period during a power play.

Roberto Luongo turned aside Stamkos' shot from the slot late in the second.

Ondrej Palat had two goals, and Brayden Point and Nikita Kucherov also scored for the Lightning. Andrei Vasilevskiy made 33 saves.

Florida got goals from Connor Brickley Mark Pysyk and Jonathan Huberdeau, and Luongo stopped 20 shots. New Panthers Bob Boughner took the loss in his NHL coaching debut (see full recap).

NHL Notes: Canadiens sign goalie Carey Price to 8-year extension

NHL Notes: Canadiens sign goalie Carey Price to 8-year extension

Carey Price signed an eight-year contract extension Sunday, likely keeping the franchise goaltender with the Montreal Canadiens for the rest of his career.

General manager Marc Bergevin announced the deal on the second day Price was eligible to be extended. Price's new contract begins in 2018-19 and runs through 2025-26.

"I never thought about playing anywhere else," Price said on a conference call. "I never thought about putting on another uniform. I just thought it'd be too weird, I guess."

Imagining Price in any uniform that's not the Canadiens or Team Canada would be difficult given his dominant play over the past several years. So naturally getting him locked up was a top priority for Montreal.

Price won the Hart Trophy as MVP and Vezina Trophy as the top goaltender in 2014-15 when he led the NHL with a 1.96 goals-against average and .933 save percentage.

"Nobody has a goaltender like Carey Price," Bergevin said at a news conference in Montreal. "There's a saying we use: `Goalies are not important until you don't have one.' ... It's a position that's hard to find, and we have, if my opinion, one of the best in the business, if not the best."

Price, who turns 30 in August, is 270-175-55 with a 2.40 GAA and .920 save percentage in 509 games over 10 NHL seasons. He bounced back from a knee injury that cost him most of 2015-16 to start 62 games last season, finishing third in Vezina voting (see full story).

Maple Leafs: Marleau comes East on 3-year deal
Patrick Marleau has left the San Jose Sharks to sign an $18.75 million, three-year deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Marleau will count $6.25 million against the salary cap through the 2019-20 season. General manager Lou Lamoriello announced the signing Sunday, the second day of NHL free agency.

The 37-year-old was considered one of the top free agents available and had been considering his options. Marleau spent his first 17 seasons with the Sharks.

Marleau, the second overall pick in 1997, has 508 goals and 574 assists for 1,082 points in 1,493 NHL games. He had 46 points in playing all 82 games last season.

The signing of Marleau puts the spotlight back on Joe Thornton's status with the Sharks. Thornton is a free agent (see full story).

Capitals: Kuznetsov signs monster extension
ARLINGTON, Va. -- The Washington Capitals have re-signed center Evgeny Kuznetsov to a $62.4 million, eight-year deal.

Kuznetsov will count $7.8 million against the salary cap through the 2024-25 season. General manager Brian MacLellan announced the contract Sunday night.

The 25-year-old Russian, who was a restricted free agent, is now the second-highest paid player for Washington behind captain Alex Ovechkin. Kuznetsov's cap hit surpasses Nicklas Backstrom's $6.7 million.

Kuznetsov had 19 goals and 40 assists for 59 points last season. In 261 NHL games with the Capitals, he has 182 points on 53 goals and 129 assists, and he led the team in points in 2015-16.

MacLellan called Kuznetsov a premier center with "tremendous, skill, speed and tenacity needed to win in the NHL (see full story)."

Golden Knights: Kruger acquired from Blackhawks
CHICAGO -- The Vegas Golden Knights have landed Chicago Blackhawks center Marcus Kruger, after all.

Two weeks after not selecting Kruger in the NHL expansion draft, Vegas gave up undisclosed future considerations to acquire the two-time Stanley Cup-winner in a trade with the Blackhawks on Sunday.

Used primarily as a checking-line forward, Kruger had five goals and 12 assists for 17 points in 70 games last season. Overall, he has 33 goals and 72 assists for 105 points in 398 games over seven seasons.

Kruger's departure frees up much-needed salary cap space for the Blackhawks a season after signing him to a three-year $9.25 million contract.

The Golden Knights opened up cap space to add Kruger a day earlier when they traded defenseman Alexei Emelin to Nashville (see full story).