|Niklas Hagman (r) scored two goals as the Dallas Stars regained sole possession of first place in the Pacific Division with a 5-2 win over the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday at the American Airlines Center.
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On Sunday, the Stars matched the champs’ physical play. In the process, they regained sole possession of first place in the Pacific Division.
Brenden Morrow and Niklas Hagman scored two goals apiece, and Marty Turco made 18 saves as the Stars got an ounce of revenge with an impressive 5-2 win over the Ducks at the American Airlines Center.
"We were pretty physical tonight," Dallas coach Dave Tippett said. "We had some guys who were good in the grit department, in the heart department."
Four of the Stars’ five goals came in the third period. Stephane Robidas had the game’s lone tally through the first two frames, as he scored on the power play 9:28 into the contest. Dallas held a 20-9 edge in the shots department through the first two periods.
"You can't come into this building and take only nine shots in the first two periods and think you're going to win," Ducks goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere said. "You can't play 20 minutes and hope to win in this League. You've got to put in 60 minutes. We've been playing much better lately but we took a step backward today."
Morrow made it 2-0 3:18 into the third, and Hagman gave the Stars a three-goal lead less than five minutes later on a shorthanded tally. Mathieu Schneider got Anaheim on the board with a power-play goal at 8:45, but Morrow made it 4-1 just 13 seconds later on his 19th tally of the season.
"They're a physical team, that's their style," Morrow said. "But we pushed back. This was an important division game and we wanted a better showing."
Ryan Getzlaf got the Ducks back to within a pair when he potted his 19th goal of the season with 6:50 remaining in the game, but Hagman iced the victory with an empty-net tally at 17:51.
"It's a huge win," said Hagman, who has four goals and three assists in his last four games.
"From the start, there was some pushing and shoving and that got the crowd into it. This is the way we know we're capable of playing."
Bruins 3, Rangers 1 | Video
In a weekend series featuring teams headed in opposite directions, Chuck Kobasew had a goal and an assist and Tim Thomas made 30 saves as Boston completed a two-game sweep of New York.
It was an efficient win for the Bruins, who managed only 20 shots against Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist. Boston was outshot 12-4 in the first period, yet came out of the frame with a 1-0 lead on a shorthanded goal by Kobasew.
The Bruins held the Blueshirts off the scoreboard until Brandon Dubinsky ruined the shutout bid by Thomas with just 43.6 seconds left in regulation.
"Maybe it wasn't pretty, but we did a good job keeping it tight defensively, and Timmy was unbelievable again," Bruins forward Marc Savard said.
The loss dropped the Rangers to 2-6-2 in their last 10 games. They fell behind 2-0 just 2:04 into the second period when Glen Metropolit ended an 18-game scoring drought.
"We beat ourselves so we have to fix it ourselves, and we can," Rangers forward Brendan Shanahan said. "It's tough to be positive after a game like this. It's not like we're playing our best hockey and just can't win. We're playing as bad hockey as we've played since I've been here."
Meanwhile, the strong play of Thomas has the Bruins in the thick of the playoff race in the Eastern Conference. The victory came less than 24 hours after Boston had defeated the Rangers in a shootout at TD Banknorth Garden.
"We made this into our own little personal playoff series," Thomas said. "Coming off a win like (Saturday), oftentimes a team will let up. We showed a lot of character to battle through it."
The loss drops the Rangers to just one game above the .500 mark at 22-21-6. They are one point out of a playoff spot with 33 games to play.
"If you're not getting your nose dirty and get chances from a second or third effort, the shot total might look sexy but it doesn't mean a thing," Rangers coach Tom Renney said. "Go to the net. Check out every night when the games are concluded and watch the goals scored and how they are scored.”
Oilers 4, Thrashers 2 | Video
|Oilers goaltender Dwayne Roloson made 29 saves as Edmonton snapped a three-game skid with a 4-2 win over the Atlanta Thrashers.
Robert Nilsson had a goal and an assist, while Ales Hemsky, Shawn Horcoff and Steve Staios all had two assists as Edmonton snapped a three-game skid with a victory in Atlanta.
Dwayne Roloson made 29 saves for the Oilers, as he was given the starting nod after relieving Mathieu Garon in Friday night’s 7-2 loss at Carolina. Even with the victory, Edmonton currently sits in 14th place in the Western Conference with 49 points, five behind No. 8 Colorado.
"It's a huge win for us," Roloson said. "We're battling to get into the playoffs."
After a scoreless first period, Dustin Penner gave the Oilers a 1-0 lead on a power play goal 6:38 into the second. The power forward took a pass from Hemsky and fired a shot from the left circle that beat Kari Lehtonen.
Vyacheslav Kozlov tied things up at 14:49 of the second when he converted on a feed from Eric Perrin, but Sam Gagner quickly restored Edmonton’s lead as he deked Lehtonen before lifting it over the Atlanta netminder to make it 2-1 just 66 seconds later.
"Every game is like a playoff game for us right now," Gagner said. "We're fighting for our lives. I think everybody realizes that."
The Oilers jumped out to a 4-1 lead in the third period. Tom Gilbert potted his eighth goal of the season 4:20 into the frame before Nilsson put Edmonton up by three when he scored from the left circle with 6:03 to play.
Marian Hossa scored with 1:20 remaining, but it was too late for the Thrashers, who have dropped three in a row and failed to rebound from Friday night’s historic 10-1 loss at Buffalo.
"We played horrible against Buffalo, but I think we played one of our best games of the year today," Lehtonen said. "Edmonton maybe had five or six scoring chances all game. ... It seems they got the puck in every chance they had."
Flyers 6, Senators 1 | Video
Atlantic Division, take notice: Philadelphia’s in it to win it.
Scottie Upshall had two goals and an assist, leading the Flyers to their fourth straight win as they pummeled the top team in the Eastern Conference at the Wachovia Center.
Ottawa was forced to play without top performers Daniel Alfredsson (hip) and Dany Heatley (shoulder), but that didn’t leave coach John Paddock any less disappointed with the brutal loss. The Sens have dropped two in a row and four of five.
"I was disappointed in some individuals that are not taking advantage of stepping up," Paddock said. "They're not being responsible in doing the right thing."
Meanwhile, Philadelphia hasn’t missed a beat without Joffrey Lupul, who is out indefinitely after suffering a concussion and spinal cord contusion at Toronto at Jan. 5. Sunday’s win was the Flyers’ fourth straight and their seventh in their last eight games.
"Right now depth is a big key to our success," Upshall said. "Our last ten games we've had everyone except Lupul healthy, and he's been a big part of our team."
Philadelphia took it to Ottawa right from the get-go. Braydon Coburn opened the scoring just 97 seconds into the contest. Scott Hartnell made it 2-0 when he one-timed Jeff Carter’s feed past Martin Gerber, who allowed four goals on 14 shots before being replaced by Ray Emery.
The Flyers jumped out to a 4-0 lead by scoring on their first two shots of the second period. Upshall notched his first goal of the night 44 seconds into the frame when his wrister from the left circle beat Gerber. R.J. Umberger increased the lead when he poked home a loose puck near the goalmouth for his eighth goal of the season at 3:50.
"Hart's (Hartnell) been on fire lately, so to speak," Upshall said. "Tonight he actually said, '(I feel) it's going to be my night tonight.' Being the good buddies that we are, it was a big win for us."
Ottawa finally got on the board when Chris Kelly beat Antero Niittymaki 7:27 into the second period. But Sami Kapanen scored shorthanded early in the third before Upshall notched his second of the game with 2:08 to play.
"Two big key guys out of the lineup," Kelly said, referring to the losses of Alfredsson and Heatley. "When that happens, it gives other guys an opportunity to play more and contribute more. For those guys, they haven't done that so far."
Avalanche 3, Blue Jackets 1 | Video
|With a trio of superstars out of the Colorado lineup, goaltender Jose Theodore stepped up by making 26 saves as the Avalanche climbed to the top of the Northwest Division with a 3-1 over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Sunday night.
No Ryan Smyth? No Joe Sakic? No Paul Stastny?
Sounds terrifying, right? Well, with Sunday’s win over Columbus, Colorado now finds itself a first-place tie in the Northwest Division.
Ian Laperriere had two assists, and Jose Theodore made 26 saves as the Avalanche climbed to the top of the ever-so-tight Northwest with a gritty victory over the Blue Jackets.
"We're not going to sit back and wait for our big dogs to get back," said rookie defenseman Jeff Finger, who scored the first goal of the game. "We know we're missing some offense, but we're still going forward and we're going to try to get as many points as we can with those guys out."
The victory has Colorado tied with the Calgary Flames for the division lead, as the Avalanche jumped a point ahead of the Vancouver Canucks and the Minnesota Wild. Colorado has won four of its last five games, with the lone defeat coming via the shootout.
"Everybody is contributing," Colorado coach Joel Quenneville said. "I thought it was a real solid win across the board."
After Finger scored with 2:04 to play in the opening period, Ben Guite gave the Avs a 2-0 lead 7:40 into the second. After Pascal Leclaire (24 saves) was able to make an initial stop on a shot by David Jones, Guite was able to poke home the rebound for his fourth goal of the season.
Tyler Arnason made it 3-0 with a goal at the 3:33 mark of the third period. Fredrik Modin ruined Theodore’s shutout bid less than a minute later, but the Colorado netminder was otherwise sensational as he improved to 5-2-1 with a 1.59 GAA over his last eight games.
"Things are going well," Theodore said. "The players are playing so well in front of me. They're letting me see the puck and taking care of the rebounds."
Material from wire services was used in this report.