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Oilers edge Flames, 2-1

Monday, 01.14.2008 / 12:38 AM / Roundup

By Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

Oilers' goaltender Mathieu Garon made 27 saves as Edmonton improved to 4-for-4 on their five-game homestand with a 2-1 win over the Calgary Flames.
Watch Mathieu Garon rob Calgary's Anders Eriksson 
It was believed by many that this five-game homestand would make or break the Edmonton Oilers’ season.
   
Well, it sure isn’t broken.
   
Shawn Horcoff and Ales Hemsky each tallied a goal and an assist, and Mathieu Garon made 27 saves as the Oilers improved to 4-for-4 with a 2-1 victory over the Calgary Flames at Rexall Place on Sunday night.
   
Daymond Langkow scored the only goal for the Flames, who have followed a five-game winning streak with a three-game slide. Langkow’s goal came 3:09 into the third.
   
With the victory, the Oilers (21-21-4) moved back to the .500 mark and now have a record of 12-11-1 at home after winning the first four games of this crucial five-game homestand, which concludes on Tuesday night against the Los Angeles Kings.
   
''We're playing better,'' Edmonton coach Craig MacTavish said. ''This was a really solid game for us. It was another one-goal win, but at the same time it wasn't indicative of some of the other ones where we are trying to hang on at the end. We had lots of chances in the third period to widen the lead.

“It's as complete a game as we have played from start to finish this season. There's a lot of good things happening in our game right now, where as before there were a lot of holes in the dam.''
   
The Oilers got on the board eight minutes into the game on a power play goal by Horcoff ( 700K ), who collected Jarret Stoll’s rebound and poked it past Miikka Kiprusoff for his 19th goal of the season. Edmonton made it 2-0 just 35 seconds into the second period on Hemsky’s 12th goal of the season. He made a nifty move around Flames defender Robyn Regehr before putting a backhander past Kiprusoff.
   

''This was a big step for us,'' Horcoff said. ''We had won three in a row and we could have had a real letdown if we had come out and had a bad effort against these guys. We need wins. We need to go on a roll. And we came out and played hard and it was a good result for us.''
   
Flames coach Mike Keenan sounded concerned afterward about his team’s lack of intensity. Calgary, which fell behind Minnesota and Vancouver in the division standings, returns to the ice on Tuesday night at Nashville.
   
 ''I would agree that our starts aren't and haven't been strong enough recently and haven't been with the same level of intensity that we expect that we should play with, so it is concerning,'' Keenan said. ''We look at the standings and you see how tight the race is and every team in our division won (tonight) except us, so as far as the division is concerned we had a tough night.''

Flyers 6, Capitals 4 | Video
   
One team was playing its third game in four days, the other was playing its first in four.
   
So much for rest.
   
Washington, which last played on Wednesday in a 2-1 win over the Colorado Avalanche, went 0-for-5 on the power play and allowed a shorthanded tally in a loss to Philadelphia at the Verizon Center.
   
Mike Knuble scored twice for the Flyers, who improved to 4-1-1 in January and have won seven of their last nine games. Philadelphia was coming off a 4-3 overtime loss to the Boston Bruins just 24 hours earlier.
   
''It can be tough to come back the next day,'' Knuble said. ''But we regrouped really well and didn't hang our heads when we were down 1-0.''
    
That happened just 82 seconds into the game, when Alexander Semin’s slap shot beat a screened Martin Biron ( 700K ) for his seventh goal of the season. But Knuble gave the Flyers the lead prior to the end of the opening period with a pair of goals via rebounds.
   
Jim Dowd (shorthanded) ( 700K ) and R.J. Umberger ( 700K ) beat Olaf Kolzig just 59 seconds apart early in the second period, which prompted Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau to replace Kolzig with Brent Johnson. Kolzig allowed four goals on 16 shots.
   
"There was a lot of try there, but we made too many mistakes," Boudreau said. "We talk about it, we look at it, we work on it. In our zone, we talk about turnovers. I think they got every goal off turnovers."

The goalie switch provided a quick spark for Washington, as Mike Green scored only 24 seconds after Umberger’s tally to make it 4-2 ( 700K ). Alexander Ovechkin cut Philadelphia’s lead to one when he potted his 33rd goal of the season ( 700K ) at 11:10 of the second.
   
But Mike Richards made it a 5-3 game when he notched his 20th tally of the season ( 700K ) 8:23 into the third, when he fired Steve Downie’s rebound past Johnson. Michael Nylander cut it to 5-4 on his 200th NHL goal at 13:09 ( 700K ), but Kimmo Timonen iced the victory with an empty-net goal ( 700K ).
   
It was a good hockey game," Richards said. "Everyone played hard. There were some hits, scoring. Everything that you'd want in a hockey game, there was today. They're playing really well right now; we're playing really well right now."
   
Avalanche 4, Panthers 3, SO | Video
   
There’s something about South Florida that brings out the best in Colorado.
   
Andrew Brunette scored twice, and Milan Hejduk scored the winning goal in the shootout ( 700K ) as the Avalanche were victorious in Sunrise for the eighth consecutive time.
   
The teams exchanged goals in regulation, as the Panthers erased three separate one-goal deficits. Florida captain Olli Jokinen tied the game at 3-3 on a power-play goal with 8:33 remaining in the third period ( 700K ).
   
"They are a pretty good hockey team," Florida coach Jacques Martin said of the Avalanche. "We showed a lot of character coming back three times. We missed our three (in the shootout) and they got one in. I guess today it was not our turn."
   
All-Star netminder Tomas Vokoun made 37 saves for the Panthers, but he failed to receive any help in the shootout. Jokinen, David Booth and Jay Bouwmeester came up short against Colorado goalie Jose Theodore.
   
"At the end we had some chances to win but didn't capitalize," Vokoun said. "Shootouts are fun to win but tough to lose."
   
Florida has never defeated the Avalanche in the BankAtlantic Center and is 1-11 against them in the Sunshine State. The Panthers have not defeated the Colorado franchise since a 4-2 victory over the Quebec Nordiques on April 22, 1995, at Miami Arena. The Nordiques became the Avalanche the next season.
   
"It was overall a very tight game," Colorado coach Joel Quenneville said. "They kept coming back every period."
   
Canucks 4, Blues 3, SO | Video
   

The Canucks' Alex Burrows and Ryan Kesler chase after the Blues' Andy McDonald.  Vancouver defeated St. Louis 4-3 in a shootout.

Looks like Vancouver has another weapon in the shootout.
   
Defenseman Alexander Edler – who has just two goals in 38 games – won a breakaway round for the second time in four games ( 700K ), as the Canucks snapped a three-game road losing streak with a victory in St. Louis.
   
Edler also notched the game-winner in Vancouver’s shootout victory over the New York Islanders last Tuesday.
   
"I really want to shoot, but I know a defenseman doesn't get that many chances," said the rookie blueliner, who is now 2-for-2 in shootouts. "But I scored the other night and I got the chance again."
    
Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo was perfect in the shootout, stopping Brad Boyes, Paul Kariya and Andy McDonald. He made 19 saves through regulation in overtime, as Vancouver remained tied with the Minnesota Wild for the Northwest Division lead.
   
The Canucks held a 2-1 lead after the first period thanks to goals from the Sedin twins. After Christian Backman ended a 39-game scoring drought 5:11 into the contest ( 700K  ), Daniel Sedin tied it at 10:49 ( 700K ) before Henrik gave Vancouver the lead with 1:56 to play in the opening period ( 700K ).
   
"I think we were on our toes from the beginning," Daniel Sedin said. "When we forecheck good we usually play good."
   
Markus Naslund made it 3-1 just 35 seconds into the middle frame on his 15th goal of the season ( 700K ), which came via the power play. The Canucks’ captain took a nice cross-ice feed from Henrik Sedin before poking it past Manny Legace. But Keith Tkachuk made it a one-goal game again when he beat Luongo on a breakaway ( 700K ).
   
"I thought we had a rather sluggish start and I didn't feel we lost the extra point in the shootout," Blues coach Andy Murray said. "I thought we lost it with our start but we found a way to keep ourselves in the game."
   
Indeed they did, as Boyes made it 3-3 on a power play goal ( 700K ) with 8:45 remaining in regulation. It ended a 2-for-43 drought for the Blues via the man advantage, as Boyes ripped a one-timer from Kariya past Luongo for his 25th goal of the season.
   
Wild 4, Coyotes 1 | Video
   
Phoenix has played well against the majority of the National Hockey League this season. But when Minnesota is on the opposite end of the ice, it’s a much different story.
   
Josh Harding (26 saves) put forth another strong effort, while Pavol Demitra ( 700K ) and Marian Gaborik ( 700K ) each had a goal and an assist as the Wild beat the Coyotes for the seventh straight time – and for the ninth time in 10 games.
   
Harding saw his shutout bid end with just 5:27 remaining in the third period, when Phoenix captain Shane Doan scored on the power play ( 700K ). Harding made 41 saves in Friday’s 5-2 win at Chicago and has stopped 93 of the last 97 shots he’s faced.
   
"The defensemen are doing a good job of letting me see the puck, and they're clearing out the guys in front, clearing out the rebound attempts," Harding said. "They're making it pretty easy out there."
   
Coyotes coach Wayne Gretzky expressed concern about goalie Ilya Bryzgalov after the game. Demitra’s goal came from the right circle midway through the second period, before James Sheppard made it 2-0 at 14:26. Eric Belanger and Gaborik scored 10 minutes apart in the third as Minnesota had a 4-0 lead.
   
"I thought the first goal wasn't a very good goal. Bryzgalov is better than that. And when you get behind 1-0 in this rink against this team it's tough," Gretzky said. "I know he's much better than this."
   
Islanders 3, Senators 1 | Video
   

All-Star goaltender Rick DePeitro made 31 saves as the New York Islanders claimed their first win in Ottawa in nearly five years with a 3-1 victory over the Senators.

Many thought this five-game road trip was going to be the beginning of the end for New York’s playoff run.
   
Someone forgot to tell Rick DiPietro.
   
The All-Star netminder made 31 saves, and came within inches of scoring his first NHL goal as the Isles won in Ottawa to finish their longest trip of the season at 2-1-2. New York hadn’t won a regular-season game in Canada’s capital city since March 15, 2003.
   
"It's a big win," DiPietro said. "It makes an average road trip a pretty good one. That was the big thing we wanted to do. We managed to win that last one and having dropped a couple of points in the first three games, it was nice to finish up the road trip with a win."
    
Marc-Andre Bergeron had a pair of goals for New York, both on the power play. His second goal – which came 4:36 into the third period – proved to be the game-winner, as his slap shot from just inside the point beat Martin Gerber and gave the Islanders a 2-1 lead. Mike Comrie made it a two-goal game when he blew past Wade Redden before flipping the puck over Gerber for his 14th goal of the season.
   
Daniel Alfredsson notched the lone tally for Ottawa ( 700K ), which saw its four-game winning streak snapped. Isles coach Ted Nolan was happy to see his team take advantage of a Sens’ team that was coming off Saturday’s emotional win over the Detroit Red Wings.
   
"That's one thing we've learned from experience, any time a team has the emotional game the night before sometimes you catch them out a little bit," Nolan said. "The one thing we wanted to do was make sure we came out and skate and maybe we'll take advantage of that. Tonight we certainly did."
   
Fresh off losing Dany Heatley (shoulder) for up to six weeks, the Sens suffered another huge blow in the first period when Jason Spezza was hit hard by Isles’ defenseman Freddy Meyer. Spezza had just received a pass from defenseman Wade Redden when the hit took place.
 
"Jason wasn't expecting the puck," Ottawa coach John Paddock said. "It was a terrible pass."

Blackhawks 3, Predators 2 | Video
   
Patrick Sharp’s shot went a long way toward helping Chicago get a rather large monkey off its back.
   
Sharp opened the game’s scoring in the second period, but it was his shootout tally later in the night that lifted the Blackhawks over the Nashville Predators at Sommet Center and ended an eight-game losing streak.
   
Patrick Kane also tallied in the tiebreaker for Chicago. After Radek Bonk started the shootout off with a goal for Nashville, Patrick Lalime made stops on Martin Erat and Alexander Radulov to set up Sharp’s winner.
   
''I really wanted to shoot,'' Sharp said. ''I was just going to snap it as hard as I could with the fresh ice. I saw that their goalie was really far out so I just put it around him and chipped it into the open net.''
   
The Blackhawks let 1-0 and 2-1 leads slip away as the Predators forced overtime. David Legwand’s power play goal with 5:28 left in the third period knotted the game at two.
   
Sharp notched his fourth of the season off assists from Havlat and Brent Sopel at 1:17 of the second period, giving Chicago a lead it carried into the third.
   
Marek Zidlicky drew Nashville even for the first time with a power play goal at 4:49 before Robert Lang put Chicago back ahead with 8:43 remaining.
   
Lalime came up with 35 saves for the Blackhawks, plus the two big stops in the shootout. He earned his third consecutive win over the Predators this season.
   
''Lalime has played two strong games,'' Blackhawks coach Denis Savard said. ''He will probably get another start. He kept us in there the whole game.''
   
Dan Ellis turned aside 28 shots for Nashville, which lost its second straight via the shootout.
   
''Shootouts are what they are,'' Predators coach Barry Trotz said. ''Shootouts are a one-on-one skills competition. When you win them they are great. When you lose them they are not so great. We have to find ways to win some of those.''

Material from wire services and team media was used in this report.

Quote of the Day

I think you always have to look internally before you look externally to see, 'Do we have these players within our organization?' And I think we do.

— Ottawa Senators assistant general manager Pierre Dorion on the Binghamton Senators (AHL affiliate)