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Devils beat Leafs 3-2 in OT

Wednesday, 03.04.2009 / 2:11 AM / Roundup

By John Kreiser - NHL.com Columnist

The Toronto Maple Leafs made Martin Brodeur work a little longer than the first three teams he faced in his return from bicep surgery did. In the end, though, the result was the same.

Brodeur won for the fourth time in six days since his 50-game layoff when Johnny Oduya scored with 12 seconds left in overtime to give the New Jersey Devils a 3-2 victory at the Air Canada Centre.

For a goaltender who missed nearly four months, Brodeur has shown no rustiness at all. He shut out Colorado 4-0 on Thursday, then beat Florida 7-2 on Saturday and Philadelphia 3-0 on Sunday.

"When I came back I was 100 percent healthy with my arm," Brodeur said after stopping 30 shots, giving him 96 saves on 100 shots in the four games. "It's just a question of testing it right now. The last four games I've done everything I can in a lot of different situations and my arm has held up pretty good."

Brodeur now has 548 career victories, four short of breaking Patrick Roy's NHL record. For a while, it looked like he might get his 101st career shutout -- the Devils led 1-0 entering the third period before John Mitchell scored at 2:52.

"I just want to win games and sometimes you just have to shut them down," Brodeur said when asked if shutouts are on his mind -- he's three behind Terry Sawchuk's NHL record. "It's never something in the back of my mind. It's all about winning."

Patrik Elias put the Devils back in front with a power-play one-timer from the right circle at 5:2. But Mitchell banged in a rebound at 10:45 for a power-play goal of his own to get the Leafs even again.

"We let them hang in," Brodeur said after the Devils outshot Toronto 52-30. "We had plenty of chances to put them away in the first two periods. We had a lot of shots and they somewhat built on that. They had a great third period and it was kind of nice for us to show some character and pull it off."
 

 
 

 

The Leafs, who tied the NHL record set by Edmonton in 2004-05 by going past regulation for the seventh consecutive game, looked like they would send the game to a shootout thanks to five saves by Vesa Toskala in OT. But Oduya, a defenseman, jumped into the play and shoved a loose puck into the net after Brian Gionta's shot trickled through Toskala's pads and into the crease.

"I knew Gio likes to shoot," Oduya said. "The puck might have gone in anyway, but I didn't want to take the chance."

The Leafs played without forwards Nik Antropov and Dominic Moore. Both were kept out of the lineup as GM Brian Burke attempted to move them before the Wednesday trading deadline.

"They're both involved in deals, and it doesn't make sense to put them at risk of injury," Burke said before the game.

The player who was helped the most by the lineup changes was Mitchell, who got more ice time in Antropov's absence.

"You always feel a little more confident when that happens," Mitchell said of his expanded role. "Certain guys are going to get traded and other guys have to come in and step up and play.

Flyers 4, Bruins 2 | Video

With their roster finally healthy, the Flyers showed what they can do by beating the Bruins on the road. The question is whether management will keep this group together or make a deadline deal or two.

"We're in a playoff spot now, and what we do is going to affect where we go," Philadelphia coach John Stevens said after his team scored three times in the third period to break away from a 1-1 deadlock after 40 minutes. "I think our focus right now has to be on us."

Simon Gagne had the tie-breaking goal 2:22 into the third period and added an insurance goal with 3:34 remaining. Mike Knuble had the other third-period goal as the Flyers won for the sixth time in nine games and solidified their hold on fourth place in the East.

"I'm sure tomorrow will be a little bit of a tense day for some of us," said Knuble, who was traded from the New York Rangers to the Bruins at the 2000 deadline. "This team has a chance to do something."

The East-leading Bruins are also regarded as a team that has a chance to do something, but they didn't show much in losing for the eighth time in 11 games. GM Peter Chiarelli has to decide if he wants to make any moves at the deadline.

"We're not showing a lot of chemistry and emotion right now. We've got to pick up the consistency," forward Michael Ryder said. "We know we have a good team and we know we can win. If management thinks they can do something that can help us, that's good."

Patrice Bergeron put Boston ahead 14:25 into the game with a power-play goal, but Scottie Upshall stole a pass, went in alone and beat Manny Fernandez at 1:49 of the second period to tie the game.

Gagne broke the tie when he deflected Andrew Alberts' shot past Antero Niittymaki, then went ahead 3-1 at 5:43 when Knuble took a backhand pass from Gagne in front of the net and beat Fernandez.

Gagne's second goal made it 4-1 before Stephane Yelle scored a meaningless power-play goal with 42 seconds remaining.

Hurricanes 5, Capitals 2 | Video

Washington's home magic has vanished -- just in time for the desperate Hurricanes to take full advantage.

Patrick Eaves had a pair of goals as Carolina handed the Caps their second lopsided home loss in three days and their fourth loss in six games at the Verizon Center.

"We're going through this funk right now," Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau said. "It looked like there was a complete lack of energy."

Eaves had the first of Carolina's back-to-back shorthanded goals in the second period. The 'Canes also got a penalty-shot goal by Eric Staal in the first period and goals at even strength by Chad LaRose and a power-play tally by Eaves in a four-goal middle period.

"We scored in probably every way you could, and it was good," said Eaves, who entered the night with three goals in 57 games this season and nearly doubled that output in 10 1/2 minutes. "We needed that."

Jose Theodore, the Caps' regular starter, was pulled after allowing four first-period goals in Sunday's 6-2 loss to Florida and didn't play Tuesday because of the flu. Rookie Michal Neuvirth was beaten for five goals in less than 40 minutes.

Alexander Semin scored late in the second period and Sergei Fedorov beat Cam Ward late in the third, long after the outcome was decided.

"I wish I could put my finger on it right now. I don't know if it's because of tomorrow, and people are worried, they hear rumors. I don't know," Boudreau said of the approaching trade deadline, which has spawned countless rumors of deals. "I know poor Michal didn't know he was playing until he got here tonight. Maybe that had some bearing on his ineffectiveness."

The win was a big one for the Hurricanes, who moved into ninth place in the East but are just a point behind the New York Rangers and Pittsburgh Penguins, who hold seventh and eighth.

"It was a big win," said center Matt Cullen, who had the other shorthanded goal. "It was a good bounce-back win after the other night (a 5-3 loss in Atlanta), and a good road win against a very good team."

Panthers 4, Thrashers 3 | Video

Florida had just enough left in the tank to hold off Atlanta and end a five-game, eight-day trip with three wins in their last four games -- enough to move them into sixth place in the East.

The Panthers were outscored in the first and third period, but second-period goals by Michael Frolik, Cory Stillman and Richard Zednik gave them a 4-2 lead after 40 minutes -- enough to survive Ilya Kovalchuk's tip-in at 17:01 of the third period and some late pressure by the Thrashers.


MICHAEL FROLIK
CENTER - FLA

GOALS: 2 | ASST: 0 | PTS: 2
SOG: 4 | +/-: +2

"We were able to get that two-goal lead, which was enough for the two points and definitely a turning point for us," said center Stephen Weiss, who assisted on all three second-period goals.

The Thrashers have been generating a lot of offense recently -- 33 goals in their last eight games -- and Panthers coach Peter DeBoer feared a two-goal lead might not be enough.

"Atlanta is an offensively potent team, and you have to be real weary of them," he said. "We bent but we didn't break and found a way to score some goals."

Frolik, who had the Panthers' first-period goal, tied the game 2:41 into the second, backhanding Jay Bouwmeester's rebound past Kari Lehtonen.

"I got some good rebounds," Frolik said. "If you can come back twice in a game like that, it's great. These were very important points for us."

Colby Armstrong and Jim Slater also scored for Atlanta, which fell to 11-18-2 at Philips Arena for an NHL-low 24 points at home.

"I thought we had a little bit of poise. We messed up a few times but the goals that were scored on us were because our forwards didn't pick up the lead coming into the second period," Atlanta coach John Anderson said.

Blue Jackets 5, Kings 4 | Video

Columbus took another step toward the first playoff berth in franchise history with a roller-coaster win over the slumping Kings, who are coming close to dropping out of the playoff race in the West.

Manny Malhotra's second goal of the night put the Jackets ahead midway through the third period and Columbus held on to stay in sixth place in the West with 70 points, two more than ninth-place Anaheim.

"The most important thing, and I think what we're happiest about in this room, is that we're playing good hockey," Malhotra said. "We're in a playoff position and at this point, that's the best the franchise has ever done."

Malhotra hadn't had three points or two goals in a game in almost a year -- a span of more than 70 games. His second goal came when he trailed the play to take a perfect tape-to-tape backdoor pass from Rick Nash and beat Jonathan Quick at 10:16, snapping a 4-4 tie.

His first goal, 5:32 into the second period, put Columbus ahead 3-1. But the Kings stunned the Nationwide Arena crowd when Teddy Purcell, Anze Kopitar and Oscar Moller scored in a 1:55 span to give the Kings a 4-3 lead.

Jiri Novotny's goal at 17:18 tied the game, and the Jackets got the only goal in the final 20 minutes.

"We managed the game in the third period," Columbus coach Ken Hitchcock said. "We were a tired hockey club and still found a way to play the right way."

The Kings are now seven points out of the last playoff spot in the West. They have to decide whether to add personnel to try to make a run at a playoff berth or deal off some veterans to add picks and/or prospects before Wednesday's deadline. They find themselves closer to last place than to the eighth and final playoff spot in the conference.

"At the end of the day, their best players made the plays to win the game," coach Terry Murray said. "That's what it comes down to in a critical situation. That's the way it's supposed to be. Their best players stepped up and got it done."

Flames 6, Senators 3 | Video

Jarome Iginla's midseason slump is now a distant memory. Calgary's captain had two more goals and watched teammate David Moss get his first NHL hat trick as the Flames began a seven-game road trip by torching the floundering Senators.

Iginla scored his 27th and 28th goals -- the 402nd and 403rd of his career -- in Calgary's three-goal first period. The other goal in the opening period was the first career tally by rookie Warren Peters.


DAVID MOSS
LEFT WING - CGY

GOALS: 3 | ASST: 0 | PTS: 3
SOG: 4 | +/-: +2

"We're very happy for them," said Iginla, who recorded his milestone goal in Sunday's 8-6 loss to Tampa Bay. "First of all, Warren Peters' goal, not only to see him get his first but to see him get such a big goal, it was a big emotional lift for our team when we'd been up and they had some momentum. I thought from there we started to get a lot more energy."

Moss added a goal on one of Calgary's two second-period shots, then scored on a power play early in the third period and hit the empty net with 16.3 seconds left.

"To see him get his first hat trick was very exciting," Iginla said of Moss. "He's worked so hard and he's going to the net, he's a big part of our power play, which is improving, and it's good to see it pay off and nice to see him get his trick."

Ottawa took a brief 2-1 lead in the first period on goals by Filip Kuba and Mike Fisher before Peters and Iginla beat Alex Auld to put Calgary ahead to stay. Nick Foligno added a power-play goal with 5:02 left in regulation to make it 5-3. It wasn't enough, as the Senators lost their third in a row.

Miikka Kiprusoff made 22 saves as the Flames won their fifth in a row at home.

"It wasn't my best game, for sure," Kiprusoff said. "It was a tough start, but after that I was able to play a little bit better. The guys played a strong game and it was nice to take these two points."

Ottawa center Jason Spezza, better known as a playmaker, got 17 minutes in penalties for instigating a fight with Dion Phaneuf 1:37 into the third after the Flames defenseman dropped linemate Dany Heatley with an open-ice shoulder check.

"I hit him with one -- he told me I did -- and I just tried to hang on," Spezza said. "The quick reaction when you see your guy down is you want to help."

Red Wings 5, Blues 0 | Video

The best news for the Wings wasn't Chris Osgood's shutout or goals by five players in a rout of the Blues. It was a simple wave by Marian Hossa.

The Wings' leading scorer waved as he was taken off the ice on a stretcher early in the first period after slamming headfirst into the boards following a check by Roman Polak. He was hospitalized for observation, but coach Mike Babcock said on the Wings' postgame show that "it looks like everything is OK" and that "it sounds like he could be on the flight to Colorado." Detroit plays the Avalanche in Denver on Wednesday.

Babcock had no complaints about Polak's hit, describing it as a "bump" while Hossa was on one leg following through on a shot.

"He just kind of turned and hit the boards with his head," Polak said. "I don't want to injure the guy, I just want to play hard. I saw it and I didn't feel good after that."

The rest of the night belonged to Osgood, who stopped 22 shots for his 48th career shutout and second win in as many starts since taking a four-game break to work on his game.

"I know when I'm playing good and when I'm not," Osgood said after his 299th victory as a Wing. "I feel like I'm getting where I need to be, and I'm not scrambling around, so I think I'm going in the right direction."

The Wings got a shorthanded goal by Tomas Kopecky in the first period and a power-play tally from Henrik Zetterberg in the second before blowing the game open in the third on goals by Kris Draper, Niklas Kronwall and Valtteri Filppula.

The Blues had been 4-0-1 in their previous five games, with goalie Chris Mason allowing one goal in each game. But Mason said the Blues sagged after the Hossa injury.

"It seemed to slow down the fire we had," Mason said. "I don't know it was the time delay or the situation, but we definitely didn't come out the same or play the same after that."

The Blues, 12th in the West and four points out of a playoff berth, have missed the postseason in each of the last three seasons. Team president John Davidson has been noncommittal about the team's plans for Wednesday's trade deadline.

Coach Andy Murray doesn't anticipate a big roster shakeup.

"I would suspect it's probably going to look the same," Murray said. "I haven't been called up for any discussions, and they would call me if there was something going on."

Blackhawks 3, Ducks 2 (OT) | Video

Martin Havlat has quietly become an offensive force again. On a team with talented kids like Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, Havlat took over the scoring lead with 57 points thanks to an assist and the game-winning goal 1:40 into overtime as Chicago beat Anaheim.

The oft-injured Havlat broke down the middle and despite being pulled down from behind by Anaheim's Corey Perry, managed to lift a shot past Ducks goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere.


MARTIN HAVLAT
RIGHT WING - CHI

GOALS: 1 | ASST: 1 | PTS: 2
SOG: 7 | +/-: +1

"I got the puck coming out (of the Blackhawks zone)," Havlat said. "I think the guy was more tired than I was, but I beat him 1-on-1."

Perry gave Havlat credit.

"I was trying to get my stick around him," Perry said. "It was one of those plays where he maybe he did a great job of blocking me out. It was one of those goals where you just have to tip your hat to the other player."

After missing much of his first two seasons in Chicago with injuries, Havlat has played in all 62 games this season. He's riding a nine-game points streak, with 4 goals and 11 assists in the span.

"He's been unbelievable," Chicago defenseman Duncan Keith said. "He's been a big part of our offense. I love playing with him out there. He's made everybody around him better."

Chicago took a 2-0 lead on first-period goals by Troy Brouwer and Andrew Ladd. Anaheim rookies Drew Miller and Bobby Ryan scored in the second to get the Ducks even. Ryan's goal was his 22nd, tops among NHL rookies.

Giguere made 34 saves in his sixth straight start as the Ducks completed a season-high six-game road trip at 3-2-1.

The point moved the Ducks into a three-way tie with Nashville and Edmonton for seventh in the Western Conference with 68 points. However, the Ducks have played 65 games, one more than the Predators and two more than Edmonton.

"I thought after we got down 2-0 we settled down, got the puck in deep and created something in the second," Giguere said. "A disappointing ending, but overall a pretty good effort on our part."

Stars 4, Sharks 1 | Video

Maybe a road trip was just what the Stars needed. After dropping five consecutive games to conclude a 1-5 homestand, Dallas opened a swing through California by whipping the NHL's best home team.

Rookie James Neal scored twice as Dallas got two badly needed points to move within one of a playoff berth in the tightly packed West by beating the Sharks for the first time in five tries and handing San Jose its worst home loss of the season.

"We needed to get rewarded for some hard work," an elated coach Dave Tippett said. "We played some very hard games. In the five-game losing streak, we played three games that I thought we had a real good chance to win. We needed something to give us that jolt of energy that our work would be compensated. The win is good compensation for that."

The Stars broke a 1-1 tie 4:24 into the second period when Mike Modano scored with three seconds left in a 5-on-3 advantage. Dallas got a five-minute power play when San Jose's Joe Pavelski was assessed a match penalty, and got a two-man advantage for two minutes when Rob Blake was called for cross-checking 2:27 into the second.

San Jose had almost killed off the 5-on-3 situation before Mike Ribeiro beat Brian Boucher with a one-timer.

"That was a key point," Tippett said. "When you feel like you're going to get the kill and then you don't, it sucks the wind out of you. That was a very big goal for us."

Sharks coach Todd McLellan agreed that the 5-on-3 goal was a turning point.

"We could feel a little momentum, a little energy in the building. We needed it," he said of the crowd's reaction as the two-man advantage wound down. "The fans were appreciative of our effort to that point, but they made a great play and a heck of a shot. There's not much we could change in that situation, other than not taking the penalty."

Brian Sutherby made it 3-1 with a fluke goal 6:32 into the third period. The puck deflected off a defensive player and landed next to Sutherby as he came out from behind the net. He quickly beat Boucher for his first goal since Feb. 14.

Neal, who opened the scoring 6:35 into the game, got his second of the night and 20th of the season 83 seconds later on a sharp setup from Modano, who has 70 points in 76 career games against San Jose. Marty Turco snapped a personal four-game skid with 24 saves.

The Sharks have lost consecutive home games for the first time this season and haven't scored more than two goals in any of their past five games -- a big change from earlier in the season when they were dominating opponents.

"We need to get our offense going," captain Patrick Marleau said. "We have to execute plays, get our forecheck going and get shots. We didn't have that many shots tonight."

Canucks 4, Wild 2 | Video

It was a day Alex Burrows will never forget. Hours after agreeing to a four-year contract extension, he scored twice as the surging Canucks overcame an early two-goal deficit to beat the fading Wild for their sixth consecutive win at G.M. Place.

Burrows scored on a tip-in of Willie Mitchell's shot at 9:57 of the first period to start the Canucks' comeback from an early 2-0 deficit. He put the game away when he scored on a breakaway with 6:57 remaining as Vancouver won for the 11th time in 13 tries following an eight-game losing streak. The Canucks are in fifth place in the West, four points ahead of Columbus. Minnesota lost its fourth in a row.


ALEX BURROWS
LEFT WINGS - VAN

GOALS: 2 | ASST: 0 | PTS: 2
SOG: 5 | +/-: +2

Burrows, who could have become an unrestricted free agent this summer, has career highs of 18 goals and 35 points -- and a new deal to go along with them. "It's huge," he said of the contract. "It's always (been) my dream. I worked for it. It's not always easy. I think you've got to come a long way ... take baby step after baby step.

"Now it's going to be the same way to my next goal -- to win a championship."

The Wild, trying to avoid losing all three stops in Western Canada, got off to a fast start with some help from Vancouver goaltender Roberto Luongo. He coughed up the puck behind his net to set up Dan Fritsche's goal at 1:35, then was beaten through the legs by Marek Zidlicky's skipping point shot on a power play at 7:26.

But Luongo settled down with 17 saves for his 11th win in the last 12 starts. He hasn't given up more than two goals in his last six games.

Burrows and his teammates then cranked up the pressure in the second period, outshooting the Wild 16-4 and finally solving Niklas Backstrom, who also agreed to a new four-year deal earlier in the day.

"He's been contributing in many ways," Luongo said of Burrows. "He's got some big goals for us. It's just nice to see him get rewarded."

Steve Bernier, who scored his second game-winner in three starts, said Burrows' work ethic is the key to his game.

After dominating play throughout the period Vancouver scored two quick goals late in the period to take the lead.

"Like a huge, dark cloud, I could see it coming," Wild coach Jacques Lemaire said.

Former Wild forward Pavol Demitra beat Backstrom with a 35-foot slap shot at 17:56, and Bernier jammed in a rebound 28 seconds later after the Wild failed to clear the puck.

"We were standing and not reacting to anything that was in front of us," Lemaire said.

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






Quote of the Day

[He's] real confident with the puck now, getting it off his stick quick and no second-guessing. We need that. He's such a good guy in the room. He works so hard. That's the big thing. For not a big man, he just fights for every puck and when he scores, the guys appreciate that even more.

— Winnipeg Jets coach Paul Maurice on Mathieu Perreault, who scored two goals in win against Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday