|Rick DiPietro stopped all 26 shots he faced as the New York Islanders blanked the Devils 1-0 on Friday night, denying New Jersey goalie Martin Brodeur his 500th career win.
Brodeur allowed just one goal to the Islanders on Friday night, but New York’s Rick DiPietro was perfect, stopping all 26 shots he faced as the Isles beat New Jersey 1-0 in their first visit to the new Prudential Center.
“We know it’s going to come,” Isles captain Bill Guerin said of his former teammate’s 500th victory, a milestone reached only by all-time wins leader Patrick Roy. “It’s good that he didn’t get it tonight. It will be a feather in his cap when he gets it. He’s one of the greatest, if not the greatest.”
What Brodeur wasn’t this time was lucky. The only goal of the game came 5:25 into the second period during a New Jersey power play when defenseman Mike Mottau tripped and fell while handling the puck in his own zone. Isles forward Josef Vasicek took the puck, went in alone and had enough time to make a half-dozen fakes before flipping the puck up and over Brodeur’s blocker and shoulder before it rolled into the net.
'”You create your own luck,” Brodeur said of the fluke turnover. “You can't cry about not getting the bounces.”
The goal was Vasicek’s seventh, one more than he had all last season.
“It’s a game of mistakes, and I got a lucky break,” he said. “I tried to get him moving a little bit and get it up high, and I put it over his shoulder.”
The loss dropped the Devils to 7-10-2 and left coach Brent Sutter shaking his head after his team’s fifth shutout loss of the season. The Devils have dropped five of their last seven and scored just 11 goals in that span.
“It's a hard way to lose a hockey game," Sutter said. “We had some opportunities, but we didn't score any goals, obviously. Having a shorthanded goal scored against you, those things happen. But there really aren't any negatives that you can look at tonight other than we didn't score any goals. If we didn't have the bad break there, we could have capitalized on an opportunity and easily won the game, 1-0.”
Brodeur now has lost three straight decisions since getting win No. 499 on Nov. 8 at home against the Flyers. The Devils visit Philadelphia on Saturday. He admitted after Friday's game that the quest and the Devils’ struggles are wearing on him.
“I’m definitely sweating the next game,” he said. “When I go in there, I’m used to winning; now, I'm losing more than I'm winning — and it's not fun, for me or the team.”
For the second time in a week, DiPietro outplayed Brodeur. The Devils pressed in the final minutes of regulation, but missed their best chance with about five minutes left when Patrik Elias split the defense but couldn’t beat DiPietro.
“Rick has been playing great,” Vasicek said. “We know going in that he's going to give us a chance to win every time we step on the ice.”
The Islanders rebounded after 3-2 losses in Philadelphia on Monday and Pittsburgh on Thursday.
"These are the games we want to play tight and smart," DiPietro said after earning his 99th career win and third over the Devils this season. "Tonight we played a good game. We limited our mistakes and came out on top. You hope every year you get better and better and things come easier. I feel I'm taking strides in the right direction and I hope it continues.”
The Islanders improved to 10-6-0, including 7-3-0 in one-goal games.
“This is the type of game we have to win,” Isles coach Ted Nolan said. “The second effort was there tonight.”
Thrashers 3, Hurricanes 0 | Video
Marian Hossa knows how to score against Carolina and Johan Hedberg knows how to shut down the Hurricanes. They were both at their best as Atlanta shut out the NHL’s top offensive team at home.
Hossa scored twice in the first period and now has a pair of two-goal games this season — both against the Hurricanes.
“There are some games you just feel comfortable, and right now against them, I feel my game is good,” said Hossa, who also set up Ilya Kovalchuk’s empty-netter.
Hedberg, who won both of his starts against the Hurricanes last season and allowed just two goals, stopped 31 shots for his 11th career shutout and first since March 2004.
“Everybody's committed to team defense and playing defense first,” Hedberg said after the Thrashers improved to 9-4-0 since GM Don Waddell fired coach Bob Hartley and went behind the bench.
The Thrashers came to the RBC Center with the NHL’s worst penalty-killing unit, but they killed off all four power plays against the league’s No. 2 team with the man advantage. The Hurricanes have been blanked on the power play five times this season — and lost all five games.
“When our power play doesn’t work, suddenly we don’t score a lot of goals,” Carolina captain Rod Brind’Amour said.
Hossa beat Cam Ward point-blank from the slot 5:41 into the game, then put a backhander behind Ward at 14:59 for a 2-0 lead. Todd White set up both goals.
“We got off to a bad start,” Carolina defenseman Mike Commodore said. “You get down 2-0 against Atlanta, or any team, and it’s tough to come back. We have the personnel in here to do it, (but) just couldn't get anything going.”
Sabres 4, Canadiens 1
|Buffalo left winger Clarke MacArthur, right, netted two scores as the Sabres defeated the Montreal Canadiens 4-1.
“Everybody knew that we were due for one of those,” said forward Drew Stafford, who scored one of the Sabres' three first-period goals. “We have the talent and the skill for that. Guys can score.”
Buffalo hadn't scored four times in regulation since a 4-2 win over Florida on Oct. 26. That was also the last time the Sabres held a lead in regulation in a game until rookie Clarke MacArthur scored the first of his two goals 7:59 into the game.
“It’s such a great feeling to get a big win like that,” said MacArthur, who also scored in the second period for his first two-goal game. “We want to keep this going. It makes life a lot easier around here.”
Daniel Paille and Stafford also scored in the first period to give Buffalo a 3-0 lead after 20 minutes. Michael Ryder scored for Montreal early in the second period, but MacArthur’s second of the game at 6:45 of the middle period restored the Sabres’ three-goal lead.
That was more than enough support for Ryan Miller, who stopped 36 shots, including 18 in the second period.
“The guys got rewarded tonight for stuff they've been doing for a while,” Miller said. “We’ve had some strong games, and this was a good step forward. Hopefully it starts the guys feeling good and knowing their effort can pay off.”
Montreal coach Guy Carbonneau wasn’t happy with the way his team started.
“We knew they would start the game hard and we didn't react to it,'' Carbonneau said. “The harder we tried, the deeper we got into a hole.”
Canucks 6, Wild 2 | Video
Like the Sabres, Vancouver enjoyed a rare offensive bonanza, scoring six times just two nights after a 1-0 shootout loss to Edmonton. Four Canucks scored in the first 16:32, matching Vancouver’s goal total from its previous four home games combined.
Taylor Pyatt and Mattias Ohlund scored at even strength, and Markus Naslund and Daniel Sedin had power-play goals in the first period as Vancouver won for just the third time in 10 games at GM Place this season with their biggest offensive output of the season.
“The difference tonight was that we were able to find the net and put some of these chances away,” Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said.
Trevor Linden scored his first of the season in the second period and Luc Bourdon had his first NHL goal with 2:03 left to play. Aaron Voros scored in the first period after the Canucks’ outburst and Brent Burns added a goal late in the third period.
Roberto Luongo made 20 saves for Vancouver, which is now 7-0-1 in the Northwest Division and moved within three points of Minnesota, which has lost eight of 11 after a quick start. Minnesota was coming off a 4-2 victory in Edmonton on Thursday and played its third game in four nights.
“They were ready to play and they played really well — probably the best I’ve seen,” Minnesota coach Jacques Lemaire said. “They skated well, they were making good plays. They deserved the game. They played better than we did.”
Vigneault said his team worked just as hard in the Edmonton game as it did against Minnesota, and that the only difference was the results.
“We got the same type of chances, the same number of chances,” he said. “Tonight we finally got rewarded for our effort.”
Lightning 5, Capitals 2 | Video
|Michel Ouellet congratulates goaltender Johan Holmqvist after the Tampa Bay Lightnings' 5-2 win over the Washington Capitals.
“We weren't at our best tonight,” said center Brad Richards, whose goal midway through the second period broke a 2-2 tie. “Holmqvist played really big. When we had our chances, we buried them.”
Holmqvist has been the key to the Lightning’s surge, allowing just seven goals in the five victories.
"It's important," Tampa Bay coach John Tortorella said. “Holmer certainly has done his job. Teams that end up being there at the end of the year win these types of games.”
The Lightning also has the NHL’s hottest scorer. Vincent Lecavalier had a goal and two assists to extend his team-record streak of multipoint games to seven. He has six goals and 19 points in that span.
Jan Hlavac, Paul Ranger and Martin St. Louis also scored for Tampa Bay, which was outplayed for much of the night by the struggling Capitals.
“I really felt they took it to us as far as battles, especially in our end,” Tortorella said. “But we found a way.”
The only thing the Caps are finding a way to do is lose. They are just 3-12-1 in their last 16 games, and their 3-0-0 start is just a distant memory.
“It’s tough to come up with answers when you play so hard,” Capitals captain Chris Clark said. “It’s almost easier if guys collapse and not work hard, because then you know exactly what you do. But our team, we work so hard and you just don't get rewarded for it.”
Brooks Laich and Alexander Ovechkin scored for the Capitals, who outshot the Lightning 30-24.
“We had lots of scoring chances. We just didn't put them in,” Washington coach Glen Hanlon said. “You sound like a broken record: You work hard and you're not getting rewarded.
Normally, if you would lose some games like this and you'd have a practice the next day, you'd have certain things to work on. But what do you work on (after this game)?”
Blues 3, Blue Jackets 2 | Video
St. Louis finally solved goaltender Pascal Leclaire, who had shut them out twice in Columbus, as Paul Kariya scored in the first period and set up Brad Boyes’ tie-breaking goal with 2:27 left in regulation.
Kariya ended the Blues’ scoring drought against Leclaire at 144:32 when he knocked in a rebound at 18:43 of the first period.
Curtis Glencross tied the game 5:19 into the third period on a goal that was scored before the net was knocked off its moorings by Blues defenseman Eric Johnson. But after the Blues killed off a 5-on-3 advantage for 1:36 shortly afterward, Boyes put the Blues ahead when he fired Kariya’s pass behind Leclaire.
“Our defensive specialists did an outstanding job," St. Louis coach Andy Murray said. "We were saying on the bench, 'Now it's up to you offensive players to get it going on the other end.’”
Said Boyes: “It was a great pass. If I didn’t bury that after some of the other chances I’d missed, I wouldn’t have been very happy tonight.”
Jamal Mayers’ empty-net goal proved to be the game-winner when Rick Nash scored for Columbus with 6.3 seconds remaining.
“We played well," Columbus coach Ken Hitchcock said. "We made a big mistake at the end of the game in our own zone and it cost us."
Before the game, the Blues honored defenseman Al MacInnis for his recent Hall of Fame induction, with the franchise announcing it has commissioned a bronze statue in his likeness that will be placed outside the Scottrade Center alongside one of Bernie Federko.
“It was a big two points — we struggled against them in Columbus,” Kariya said. “It was nice to do it on Al’s night.”
Material from wire services and team media was used in this report.