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Rangers shut down Crosby, beat Penguins

Friday, 11.09.2007 / 1:15 AM / Roundup

By John Kreiser - NHL.com Columnist

New York Rangers' Brandon Dubinsky, left, celebrates with Petr Prucha after scoring his first NHL career goal against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The New York Rangers finally remembered how to score.

The Rangers entered Thursday night’s home game against Pittsburgh last in the NHL in offense, having scored just 22 goals in 14 games since getting five against Florida on opening night.

But rookie Brandon Dubinsky scored his first NHL goal, Sean Avery got his first of the season and the Rangers limited Sidney Crosby to just one assist in a 4-2 victory. ( 700K )

The Rangers won their fifth straight home game and ended a run of four straight two-goal nights, including a 3-2 road loss to the Islanders on Tuesday.

"The other guys scoring the goals are more relieved than I am," said goalie Henrik Lundqvist, who made 26 saves and is the main reason the Rangers are 8-7-1 despite their offensive struggles. "I'm just trying to do my job. I don’t put much focus on what goes on at the other end.”

Scott Gomez beat Pittsburgh’s Marc-Andre Fleury with a slap shot 7:35 into the game to put the Rangers ahead, but Sergei Gonchar’s screened slapper from 50 feet beat Lundqvist and tied the game at 11:31.

Avery, playing his fourth game after missing 10 with a shoulder injury, goaded Gary Roberts into a double minor late in the first period. The Rangers capitalized when defenseman Michal Rozsival came in from the left point to convert a feed from Gomez at 17:26.

Avery then got his first goal of the season on another power play at 9:40 of the second period.

"I'm kind of used to the unnerving part, so getting the first (goal) out of the way I think was bigger," said Avery. "I definitely think teams want me to do poorly, they probably want me to get hurt, and want me to take penalties and generally not play well.

That's part of the thing that motivates me.”

Dubinsky made it 4-1 when he beat Fleury with a backhander 2:48 into the third period. Mark Recchi’s goal at 4:22 gave the Penguins some life, but they were unable to beat Lundqvist again despite getting 14 shots in the final period.

“Too little, too late,” said Crosby, who extended his points streak to 14 games. “We’ve got to give ourselves a better chance to get back into it.”

Lightning 5, Hurricanes 1 | Video
Tampa Bay hadn’t won on the road. The Lightning played the night before. Carolina was rested and playing at home, where it was 5-1-1.

But defenseman Shane O’Brien scored twice as Tampa Bay blasted the Hurricanes. The Lightning had been 0-7-0 away from the St. Pete Times Forum.

"This is huge," said O'Brien, who had his second two-goal game in six days after entering the season with two goals in 80 games. “We'll probably look at the video, and I'm sure we made a few mistakes. But to come in here against a team that's playing very well and get two points the way we did is great for our team.”

While the Lightning came out with lots of energy, the Hurricanes were flat.

“We certainly should have had more jump,” Carolina coach Peter Laviolette said. “They traveled last night and we had time off. Sometimes that works against you, having too much time off instead of playing hockey games.”

Tampa Bay, which beat Florida at home on Wednesday, jumped on the flat Hurricanes in the first period on goals by O’Brien and Vincent Lecavalier.

“We’ve got to be sharper at the start of the game,” Laviolette said.

Filip Kuba made it 3-0 early in the second period and O’Brien, who had two career goals in 80 games entering the season, got his second of the night at 18:11, scoring on a breakaway after coming out of the penalty box.

Carolina beat Johan Holmqvist for the only time in 41 shots when Ray Whitney scored early in the third period, but Vaclav Prospal iced it by scoring on a power play with 6:24 remaining.

“Nobody was moving their feet, nobody was getting open for each other, and unfortunately when you’re legs aren’t there you’ve got to try anything to get your legs going and we didn’t do that either,” said defenseman Bret Hedican. “We got outplayed.”

Devils 4, Flyers 1 | Video
Two days of grueling practices following a 5-0 home loss produced the result New Jersey coach Brent Sutter was looking for.

''We responded in the right way,'' Sutter said after New Jersey outshot Philadelphia 39-14 and

Martin Brodeur, right, earned his 499th career victory with a 4-1 win over the Flyers.

totally dominated the road-weary Flyers, three days after a dreadful 5-0 loss to Pittsburgh. ''There was a lot of emotion tonight on our end. I thought we were mentally strong the whole game.”

Dainius Zubrus, signed this summer, had his first two goals as a Devil and rookie Rod Pelley had the first of his NHL career. The Flyers, playing the final game of an eight-game trip, barely tested Martin Brodeur in his 499th career victory after Mike Knuble’s goal 12:20 into the game opened the scoring. They lost for the ninth straight time in New Jersey.

“We came out flat from the get-go,” said Flyers center Mike Richards. “They turned the puck over a lot with their forechecking, and we didn't match their intensity. We didn’t have our legs out there, but you have to battle through that — and we didn't.”

Zubrus and Brian Gionta scored 18 seconds apart in the first period after Knuble’s goal, and Zubrus scored late in the period to give New Jersey a 3-1 lead.

"He's obviously a guy who has to contribute for us," Sutter said of Zubrus, who had gone 14 games without a goal. "It hasn't been because of a lack of work ethic. Sometimes, it's when you try to do too much that maybe it affects your game to some degree.”

Pelley’s goal early in the second period sent Flyers goalie Martin Biron to the bench.

“Everyone was disappointed in the way we played,” forward Arron Asham said of the Devils’ performance against Pittsburgh. “We didn’t want a repeat.”

The Flyers finished 3-5-0 on their trip and host Pittsburgh on Saturday.

Canadiens 2, Bruins 1 | Video
Boston had no answer for Montreal's line of Alex Kovalev, Tomas Plekanec and Andrei Kostitsyn, which combined for six points as the Canadiens beat Boston for the fifth straight time and improved to 5-1-1 on the road this season.

“That was pretty close to a perfect game,” said rookie goalie Carey Price, who finished with 28 saves. “We slowed the game down and limited their chances.”

Kovalev put the Canadiens ahead 1-0 when he tipped the puck over the goal line after a Plekanec shot got through Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas with 2:55 remaining in the first period. Plekanec made it 2-0 when he slid the puck past Thomas 8:47 into the second period.

Marco Sturm cut Montreal's lead in half with 5:48 left in the second when he backhanded a shot past Price. But the Bruins continued to struggle offensively — they’ve scored just four goals in their last four games, all losses. They were unable to capitalize on a 5-on-3 power play for 1:58 in the third period and are scoreless in their last 13 power-play chances.

“We have to stop finding excuses and start finding solutions,” Boston coach Claude Julien said of his team’s offensive struggles. “It’s finishing — it’s as simple as that. We’re getting chances; we’ve got to be able to finish them off.”

Bruins fans were left with an eerie flashback of Patrice Bergeron’s injury when defenseman Aaron Ward lay motionless on the ice late in the third period. Five seconds after the Canadiens killed the two-man advantage late in the third period, Ward was hit with an elbow by Canadiens defenseman Francois Bouillon and was face down for about a minute before starting to move his feet while a stretcher was brought onto the ice. A groggy Ward slowly sat up and was helped off the ice by a pair of teammates. Ward was still being treated after the game but was not taken to a hospital.

Coyotes 5, Stars 2 | Video
Phoenix finally followed up on its road success by winning a home game — with some help from a few fortunate bounces.

Steven Reinprecht broke a 1-1 tie at 4:16 of the second period when Dallas goalie Marty Turco

Ed Jovanovski scored a goal and added two assists in the Coyotes' 5-2 win over the Stars.

skated behind the net to try and corral Derek Morris’ shot from the point. But the puck bounced off the end boards to Reinprecht in the left circle, and the Coyotes’ center fired the puck past a lunging Turco into the vacated net.

“I think that's the first time in my hockey life I've gotten a bounce like that,” said Reinprecht, who finished with two goals and an assist. “We got two quick ones back-to-back and that's always good for momentum.”

The Coyotes are 5-1-0 on the road but had lost six straight home games since beating St. Louis on opening night. They also got back to the .500 mark for the first time since Oct. 11, when they were 2-2-0.

“It’s big for a number of reasons,” Reinprecht said. “It put us at .500, it was our division, so it was a four-point swing, and it was a home win. We hadn't won at home in a while so in a lot of ways it was a big win for us.”

Coyotes goaltender Mikael Tellqvist stopped 24 shots to beat Dallas for the second time in a week and end the Stars’ six-game winning streak in Phoenix.

“We have found ways to win lately but we've been putting a lot on the goalies' shoulders,” Stars captain Brenden Morrow said. "We did that again tonight, but just couldn't battle back. We just couldn't find a way to get it done, and it was a sloppy showing by us.”

The loss was disappointing for Dallas, which had won its previous two games at Anaheim and San Jose.

“These are tough division games that we need to be fully motivated toward every chance we get,” Morrow said.

Canucks 3, Flames 2 | Video
Like the Coyotes, the Canucks seem to play a lot better away from home. They won for the second time this season in Calgary as Roberto Luongo made 36 saves and Vancouver held on after a three-goal second period to improve to 6-2-0 on the road — as opposed to a 1-6-0 mark at GM Place.

After Brendan Morrison opened the scoring 2:32 into the second period with a power-play goal, the Canucks broke open the game with goals 16 seconds apart by fourth-liners Byron Ritchie and Alex Burrows. Ritchie scored on a harmless-looking wrist shot that eluded Miikka Kiprusoff at 7:58, and Burrows converted Trevor Linden’s pass after David Hale’s giveaway at 8:12.

“They scored a couple of quick ones," Flames center Craig Conroy said of the Canucks. “We have to battle and work, just keep it simple.”

The Canucks needed all three goals after the Flames completely controlled the third period. Anders Eriksson and Owen Nolan scored 33 seconds apart midway through the period, but Luongo made 21 saves to preserve the win and hand the Flames their fourth straight loss.

“I thought we were excellent for the first 39 minutes,” Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault said. “We were playing really well, the way we have to play, and then got into penalty trouble, but (Luongo) came up really big.”

The Flames also lost their No. 1 center, Daymond Langkow, who left the game halfway through the second period after he smashed his head into the glass on a check by Vancouver's Matt Cooke, who was penalized for boarding.

 

Quote of the Day

Not only is it a great idea, but if you don't [start using analytics] you're going to fall behind. You have to be on the cutting edge. It was [Arizona Coyotes assistant general manager] Darcy Regier who said, 'If you didn't invent it, you have to be the second- or third-best copier, because if you're fourth or fifth you've got no chance.'

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