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Devils improve to 8-0 on road

Sunday, 11.08.2009 / 2:21 AM / Roundup

By Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

Playing on the road doesn't seem to bother the New Jersey Devils one bit.

Zach Parise and David Clarkson each had a power-play goal and an assist, and Martin Brodeur made 19 saves as the Devils improved to 8-0 away from home with a 3-2 victory against the Ottawa Senators at Scotiabank Place on Saturday night.

It's the second-longest road winning streak to open a season in NHL history. The Buffalo Sabres started 10-0 on the road to start the 2006-07 season.

''It seems we find ways to win,'' said Brodeur, who was making his 1,000th career start. ''We stuck with it. It wasn't a really pretty game on our part, but we came through.''

Indeed they did, as the Devils had to rally in the third period with a pair of power-play goals to skate away with the two points. Clarkson made it a 2-2 game when he beat Pascal Leclaire (22 saves) through the legs from a sharp angle at 4:38 before Andy Greene -- who has replaced the injured Paul Martin on New Jersey's top defense pairing -- scored on a shot through traffic to give the Devils the lead.

''This is our team,'' New Jersey coach Jacques Lemaire said. ''They believe they can come back. It's all tight games that we're getting, but they never let down and they always feel they have a chance to come back.''

Ottawa held a 2-0 lead before the wheels came off. Milan Michalek broke a scoreless tie with six minutes remaining in the first period before Brian Lee scored 11:09 into the second for his first goal of the season.

''We played a great start of the game and then took too many penalties again,'' Ottawa forward Jason Spezza said. ''It cost us so it was a frustrating loss.''

Zach Parise also scored for the Devils, who haven't lost to the Sens since Oct. 27, 2007.

''I thought the second goal was the turning point for them,'' Ottawa coach Cory Clouston said. ''Obviously it was one that Pascal would have liked to have back, but they were just better positionally than we were. When they got the lead, they just shut it down.''

Bruins 4, Sabres 2 | HIGHLIGHTS

Finally, some offense.

Boston, which scored once in its previous three games, received power-play goals in the first period from Mark Recchi and Zdeno Chara and Tuukka Rask made 28 saves as the Bruins skated past Buffalo at TD Garden.

Not only did the Bruins snap a three-game losing streak, but they also ended an 0-for-20 slump on the power play with their first-period goals. Recchi got things going just 3:17 into the game when he tipped a shot from Derek Morris past Jhonas Enroth.

Chara made it 2-0 with his first goal of the season at 16:31. The 2009 Norris Trophy winner was clearly relieved after having to wait more than a month to find the back of the net.

''That's what we've been telling them -- to relax,'' Boston coach Claude Julien said. ''Eventually you're going to score goals. You know if you stick with it, it's going to turn.''

Derek Roy and Jason Pominville had the Sabres' goals. Buffalo (9-4-1) was 0-for-7 on the power play.

''The greater issue is our game has lacked energy the last three games,'' Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said. ''I think the old me might have gone irate and done something a little bit stranger. We've dealt with some sickness. We're going to back off. We're going to get the guys some rest.''

Marco Sturm also scored his first goal in more than a month, which came at 18:31 of the second period -- roughly 17 minutes after Byron Bitz had given the Bruins a 3-0 lead.

''A lot of guys were due,'' Sturm said. ''A lot of relief. As a forward you never want to go through that. Hopefully I can relax a little now.''

Lightning 3, Canadiens 1 | HIGHLIGHTS

Antero Niittymaki made 36 saves in his third straight start and Ryan Malone and Alex Tanguay each had a goal and an assist as Tampa Bay picked up a hard-fought win at Montreal.

''He's really solid,'' Lightning coach Rick Tocchet said of Niittymaki. ''He's seeing the puck and he's square and he's really given us a chance to win.''

Tampa Bay jumped out to a 2-0 lead on goals from Malone and Tanguay in the first period. Malone opened the scoring via the power play when he beat Carey Price (18 saves) for his 10th goal of the season at 10:09 before Tanguay scored his second goal in as many nights when he put Malone's rebound home at 19:13.

''It's coming around,'' said Tanguay, who has three goals this season. ''The last five or six games I'm starting to pick up my game a little bit and starting to skate a little better, and tonight I got a couple of bounces coming my way.''

Brian Gionta cut the deficit in half when he scored on the power play at 9:44 of the second period, but James Wright restored Tampa Bay's two-goal lead on a goal that was awarded following a video review. The Canadiens (8-9-0) have lost four of their last six games.

''It was an inconsistent effort the first half of the game,'' Gionta said. ''I thought our second period was good, the start of the first was all right but we've given up goals late in periods, two of them tonight. That hurts the momentum and we've got to figure out a way to play better for 60 (minutes).''

Blue Jackets 3, Hurricanes 2 | HIGHLIGHTS

The bad luck for Carolina continues.

Not only did the Hurricanes come up short at Nationwide Arena, but goaltender Cam Ward was sent to the hospital after being cut by a skate during the first period. Carolina has gone 12 games without a win.

Hurricanes coach Paul Maurice said Ward would most likely spend the night in the hospital because of concerns about the stress of the flight home.

''He's a critical piece, there's not question about that,'' the coach said of the impact of losing Ward. ''That's going to be tough to take.''

Rick Nash scored the third of three straight goals by Columbus, which all came in under three minutes early in the third period. Nikita Filatov and Jared Boll also scored for the Blue Jackets, who have earned points in five consecutive games.

''We were right in the game until we allowed those quick goals,'' Maurice said. ''That's the way it's been going for us lately.''

The Hurricanes have not won since a 7-2 victory over Florida on Oct. 9. Since then, they have gone 0-9-3, eclipsing an 11-game winless streak in 2003. They are also winless in their last nine road games (0-7-2) and remain the only NHL team without a victory away from home. Erik Cole and Tim Gleason scored for the Hurricanes.

Carolina led 1-0 going into the third period -- only the second time all season it's led with one period left. Columbus, which received 24 saves from Steve Mason, was 0-4 when trailing through two periods.

''We played one period today and got away with it,'' Blue Jackets coach Ken Hitchcock said after his 999th NHL game as a head coach.

Fifty seconds into the third period, Carolina's Brandon Sutter fanned on a clearing attempt and Derek Dorsett's blind, no-look centering feed found Filatov, who was crashing the net. Boll quickly gave Columbus the lead as he got around Joe Corvo before beating Michael Leighton, who replaced the injured Ward.

''We just went out there like crazy and played with more energy, which is why we scored three goals in about 5 minutes,'' Filatov said.

Predators 3, Kings 1

Dan Ellis made 27 saves in his first start since Oct. 28 to lead Nashville past Los Angeles in a matinee at the Staples Center.

Ellis received some offensive help from his defensemen, as Francis Bouillon and Cody Franson both scored in the victory. Joel Ward also found the back of the net for Nashville, which entered Saturday's action averaging only 1.9 goals per game.

"That's a big thing for our team. We need our defensemen to score," Ellis said. "We don't have an abundance of talent and we don’t have a surefire sniper. Jason Arnott is the closest thing we've got, so we need to score by committee and we need to score with grit. That's what we're starting to do."

It took more than half the game for the first goal, but Bouillon broke a scoreless tie with a power-play tally at 16:38 of the second period. After Raitis Ivanans was whistled for hooking, Bouillon -- who was playing in his 500th game -- beat Jonathan Quick from a sharp angle to give the Preds a 1-0 lead.

"I was looking for that goal for a long time," Bouillon said after scoring his 22nd career tally. "It was a really important goal and I was at the right spot at the right time. We faced a great team today, and it was a good win."

Franson made it 2-0 with an even-strength goal at 4:52 of the third period, when he took a pass from Martin Erat (two assists) and ripped a slap shot past Quick.

"When our 'D' contributes on the back end, it gives us a much better chance to win, obviously," Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. "I thought we had good energy today, and we stayed on the puck real hard."

Dustin Brown cut Nashville's lead in half with a power-play goal at 8:25, but Ward quickly restored the two-goal edge as he stuffed a loose puck past Ellis just 80 seconds later.

"They came into the building short-handed with some players out who are important players for them, but they came in with an attitude and a game plan that was based on hard work and grit. And it worked for them," Kings coach Terry Murray said.

Wild 3, Stars 2 | HIGHLIGHTS

It's starting to come together in Minnesota.

Cal Clutterbuck and Mikko Koivu scored in the first period and Niklas Backstrom made 19 saves as the Wild earned their third win in four tries with a victory against Dallas at Xcel Energy Center.

''We played a good 60 minutes together,'' Minnesota center Eric Belanger said. ''We stayed composed and did a lot of good things. It's a step in the right direction.''

The Wild dominated the play early and grabbed a 1-0 lead when Clutterbuck gathered a loose puck in the neutral zone and beat Alex Auld (34 saves) with a wrist shot from the right circle for the team's first shorthanded goal this season. Koivu made it 2-0 late in the period, banking in a rebound off Auld. It was his fourth goal of the campaign.

But Loui Eriksson responded with a pair of power-play goals in the second period to help Dallas tie the game. He made it 2-1 with his seventh goal of the season at 3:33 before redirecting a slap shot by Brad Richards at 15:51.

Marek Zidlicky scored what proved to be the game-winner less than three minutes later when his centering pass went off the skate of Auld before Nicklas Grossman accidentally poked the puck into his own net on a clearing attempt. It was Zidlicky's first goal of the season.

''That was his best game,'' Wild coach Todd Richards said of Zidlicky. ''He made plays offensively and he was moving his feet. Probably where he was best was just going back for pucks, retrieving pucks, and playing the rush and more and more of the defensive stuff.''

Eriksson nearly had a hat trick late in the third, but his rebound attempt was just wide as Backstrom scrambled back across the crease.

''We had the benefit of the doubt (Friday night) with Vancouver playing back-to-back, so we knew it was going to be a tough go tonight,'' Stars center Mike Modano said. ''We got off to a shaky start there in the first, but we climbed ourselves back into the game and did some good things in the second to give us a chance.''

Ducks 4, Coyotes 3 | HIGHLIGHTS

Anaheim scored the first four goals at the Honda Center before watching Phoenix nearly tie the game as the Ducks escaped with a win against the Coyotes.

Teemu Selanne, Bobby Ryan, Corey Perry and Mike Brown scored against Ilya Bryzgalov (22 saves) to help Anaheim build a 4-0 lead, but Dave Tippett's team didn't go down without a fight.

Keith Yandle and Scottie Upshall scored 38 seconds apart early in the third period before Shane Doan converted on the power play with 5:24 remaining as the Coyotes had the Ducks on their heels.

"You like that there's no quit in our team, (but) you don't like how we started the game," Tippett said. "That was the end of a tough stretch for us. That was 10 games in 17 nights. I liked the way the guys battled and got themselves back in the game."

But thanks to some timely goaltending from Jonas Hiller (27 saves), the Coyotes failed to notch the equalizer, which allowed Anaheim to escape. Hiller was coming off a 40-save performance on Thursday against Nashville. Matthew Lombardi had two assists in the loss.

"We played well the first two periods," said Ducks captain Scott Niedermayer, who had two assists. "We knew they were going to make a push like they did. We held on, so that's all that matters."

Phoenix entered the game with the second best goals-against average in the NHL, but the Coyotes were missing three of their top defensemen.

Ed Jovanovski was scratched after sustaining a lower-body injury in a 3-1 victory over Chicago on Thursday. The veteran defenseman was tied with Doan for the team lead in scoring (13 points) and fifth in overall scoring by defensemen.

Phoenix was also without Zbynek Michalek, who missed a second game because of a lower-body injury. Kurt Sauer has missed 16 straight games with an upper-body injury.

Anaheim will begin a four-game road trip on Wednesday at New Jersey, while Phoenix hosts Montreal on Thursday.

"It's perfect with us getting two wins in a row at home, where we were struggling," Ducks defenseman James Wisniewski said. "It was surprising because we were at home for such a long time. Now, we go on a tough road trip with four games in six days. It might be a good thing for us because of how well we're playing. We'll see what we can do."

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


Quote of the Day

It's pretty crazy, but believe me when I say we didn't draft these players with the mindset we had to because they had good hockey-playing dads. It just turned out that way. But we're certainly glad they're a part of our organization.

— Arizona Coyotes director of amateur scouting Tim Bernhardt regarding the coincidence that six of the organization's top prospects are sons of former NHL players