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Alec Martinez

NHL taps new market, plays 1st preseason game in China

A golden dragon was held aloft on poles by skaters. Kobe Bryant appeared on video. NHL mascots gave the crowd a primer on what this odd game is all about.

NHL preseason hockey made its debut in China — a 5-2 victory by the Los Angeles Kings over the Vancouver Canucks — in a step by the league to crack an immense market.

The fans in Shanghai got a fast and physical display Thursday — 17 power plays and 57 shots on goal, all met with loud cheers. Each hard check drew a collective "oooh" or "aaah."

"Obviously, you wanted to put on a show for the fans here and they got to see some goals, too," said Vancouver forward Sven Baertschi, who scored...

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