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Naslund leads Rangers in NHL opener

October 05, 2008|Helene Elliott, | From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Markus Naslund came through in his debut with the New York Rangers even though he wasn't the star Czech fans had hoped to see.

Signed in the off-season to replace Jaromir Jagr, Naslund scored a goal and Brandon Dubinsky added another in New York's 2-1 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday at Prague, as the NHL opened its regular season in Europe for the second consecutive year.

Jagr left New York as a free agent and signed with Omsk Avangard of the KHL in Russia.

Tyler Kennedy scored his second goal with only 25 seconds remaining in overtime to lift the Pittsburgh Penguins past the Ottawa Senators, 4-3, in the teams' NHL regular-season opener at Stockholm.

In a rare move not related to salary cap issues, the Ducks claimed defenseman Nathan McIver on waivers from Vancouver and assigned defenseman Brett Festerling to their American Hockey League farm team in Iowa.

McIver, 23, will earn $525,000 on a two-way contract. He played 18 games for Vancouver the past two seasons and had no points, a plus-minus rating of minus-11 and 59 penalty minutes.

Festerling was impressive in camp but wouldn't have cracked the top four. He's likely to get ample playing time in the minors to accelerate his development.

--Helene Elliott

Steven Reinprecht scored twice and rookie Viktor Tikhonov added a short-handed goal to lead the Phoenix Coyotes to a 5-2 exhibition victory over the Kings at Glendale, Ariz. Anze Kopitar had a goal and an assist and Dustin Brown also scored for the Kings (3-1-3), who lost in regulation for the first time in seven games.

TENNIS

Jankovic defeats Venus in semifinals

Venus Williams lost, 6-7 (8), 7-5, 6-2, to soon-to-be No. 1 Jelena Jankovic, who overcame a foot injury to advance to the final of the Porsche Grand Prix at Stuttgart, Germany.

Jankovic will play Nadia Petrova today for the title. Petrova beat Victoria Azarenka, 6-4, 6-4, in the other semifinal.

Andy Roddick was upset by Tomas Berdych, 6-7 (3), 7-5, 7-6 (3), in the semifinals of the Japan Open, ending his bid for a second straight title in Asia.

The ninth-seeded Berdych will face fifth-seeded Juan Martin Del Potro of Argentina in today's final. Del Potro defeated No. 4 Richard Gasquet, 6-3, 4-6, 7-5, in the other semifinal.

MOTOR SPORTS

Castroneves wins Le Mans race

Helio Castroneves was back behind the wheel, a day after the two-time Indy 500 winner pleaded not guilty on tax evasion charges. And he was back in the winner's circle at the American Le Mans Series Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta.

Castroneves and teammate Ryan Briscoe outpaced the rest of the cars to finish first in the Le Mans Prototype 2 Class.

Travis Kvapil won the pole at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway, and Dale Earnhardt Inc. got a huge boost when all four of its cars qualified in the top 10 for today's Sprint Cup race. Aric Almirola qualified third, Regan Smith was fourth, Paul Menard was fifth and Martin Truex Jr. was 10th.

Todd Bodine took the lead on the final turn off the last lap and nipped Ron Hornaday Jr. and Kyle Busch in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Talladega Superspeedway.

MISCELLANY

Tour president criticizes Armstrong

Lance Armstrong says the Tour de France organizer's new president is being pretentious by claiming that the seven-time champion has "embarrassed" cycling's premier race.

The comment astounded Armstrong.

"I've stated clearly, my main objective in 2009 is to bring about global awareness of a disease that kills 8 million people annually worldwide. Nobody ever said that I need the Tour de France in order to try and achieve this," he said in a statement.

Wayne Rooney scored one goal and set up another for Manchester United in a 2-0 victory at Blackburn that moved it closer to the leaders in the English Premier League.

Guard Stefanie Gilbreath of the USC women's basketball team will miss a second consecutive season because of a knee injury.

PASSINGS

Craig Fertig, 66; USC quarterback

Craig Fertig, the record-setting quarterback for USC who later became a Trojans TV commentator, has died. He was 66. Story, Section B.

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