They may not be winning pretty these days, but the Washington Capitals will accept the two points.
Eric Fehr scored his second goal of the game with 11.4 seconds left in regulation to tie the game and Nicklas Backstrom recorded the shootout winner in the third round Saturday as the Capitals let an early two-goal lead slip away but recovered for a 4-3 win over the Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre.
"Well, I'm glad we came back," Washington coach Bruce Boudreau said. "That's the first time we've scored with the goalie pulled and I think we only had like 15 shots on goal at that time, so I wasn't too hopeful until the last three minutes when we started to put a little bit of a push on.
"But they played a really, really good defensive game and they allowed no second shots and they were standing up and getting in our face all the time, so it was a tough game."
Travis Moen had given the Canadiens a 3-2 lead with a power-play goal 5:34 into the third. That looked like it would hold up until the Capitals pulled Semyon Varlamov late and ended up with a 6-on-4 advantage after Paul Mara was called for high-sticking with 16 seconds remaining. Fehr backhanded a rebound past Carey Price to force overtime.
"We got two points on the road and you can't be disappointed in that but at the same time we've got to be a little bit better and we've got to play a full 60 minutes, which we haven't done in a while," Fehr said.
Varlamov was coming off his first regular-season shutout, a 2-0 win over Buffalo on Wednesday that snapped a three-game losing streak for Washington. Fehr and Alex Ovechkin scored 1:12 apart before the first period was 10 minutes old, but the Canadiens would come back in the second on goals by Jaroslav Spacek and Tomas Plekanec.
"We just started being cute after the 10-minute mark," Boudreau said. "We'd get the puck in the zone and we'd try to make three passes before we shot the puck."
In the shootout, Varlamov made stops on Mike Cammalleri, Maxim Lapierre and Plekanec. Price denied Tomas Fleischmann and Ovechkin, but Backstrom won it by beating him on a wrist shot.
The Canadiens are 3-1-2 in their last six, but that was little consolation to Cammalleri after they let a point slip away on home ice.
"For us, it's not good enough," he said. "A lot of guys in here are upset. I don't really care who doesn't expect us to get the points. In this room, we expect to get the points and we think that the way we've been able to play as a unit has been an effective way to get two points in a game and once again we put ourselves in position to do it tonight, so this group here is not happy with the one point."
Flames 4, Blue Jackets 3 (SO) | HIGHLIGHTS
Calgary continues to excel on the road, although it took a two-goal rally late in the third, a big stop in the shootout by the backup goalie and finally a Jamie Lundmark shot that found the net to beat Columbus.
Curtis McElhinney stopped Anton Stralman in the fourth round of the penalty-shot tiebreaker before Lundmark skated down at the other end and put a high shot past Steve Mason to ruin the Blue Jackets' return to Nationwide Arena after a five-game road trip.
Dustin Boyd and Nigel Dawes scored 1:19 apart in the final six minutes of the third as the Flames came back from a 3-1 deficit and improved to 9-1-3 this season away from home. They were playing the second of a six-game road trip.
"It worked out in the end," said the 26-year old McElhinney, who won his first shootout. "We came out flying in the third period."
After Olli Jokinen started the scoring with a power-play goal 5:29 into the second, the Jackets took control with a three-goal outburst in a span of just over six minutes. Rick Nash tied the game on a Columbus man advantage with 6:40 left in the period, Marc Methot notched the go-ahead goal 63 seconds later and Jared Boll scored with 28 seconds remaining to send the Jackets into the intermission with some momentum.
"We regrouped during the intermission," Flames coach Brent Sutter said. "We talked about getting back to playing the way we did during the start of the game, for the first 30 minutes. Just keep going and going, stay patient with it and it will happen for us -- and it did."
Jokinen centered a backhand pass from behind the net that Boyd converted with 5:46 remaining, then Moss and Dawes teamed up on a similar play, with Dawes one-timing a low shot to extend his goals streak to three games.
"I thought we played a pretty good overall game," said R.J. Umberger, who cut in alone on McElhinney in overtime but couldn't beat him. "But then we seemed to give them chances in the third period. We sat back a little again, playing dump and chase."
Kristian Huselius and Nash traded goals with Dawes and Jokinen during the first two rounds of the shootout before McElhinney stopped Fedor Tyutin and Mason denied Jarome Iginla.
Stralman was unsuccessful to begin the fourth round, leaving it to Lundmark, who played it cool even if that's not what he was feeling inside.
"You're on the bench, then all of a sudden, you're all alone on the ice. It can be intimidating," Lundmark said.
Stars 4, Lightning 3 (OT) | HIGHLIGHTS
A third-period rally by Tampa Bay forced Dallas to play a little extra hockey, so Tom Wandell made sure it was worth the while.
Wandell scored 2:12 into overtime, taking Loui Eriksson's pass and putting a sharp-angle shot from the edge of the right circle into the net.
"Loui came in 2-on-2 and I know he's a really smart player so I was just looking to get open," Wandell said. "It wasn't the best shot, but it went in. It was a big win. We came back strong."
Power-play goals by Stephane Robidas, Jere Lehtinen and Brenden Morrow gave the Stars a 3-1 lead heading into the latter stages of the third period. But the Lightning forced overtime on goals by Steven Stamkos and Jeff Halpern just 46 seconds apart with under five minutes to play.
"Had we not gutted it out and got that overtime goal, it would have been pretty disappointing," Stars captain Brenden Morrow said.
Paul Szczechura opened the scoring for Tampa, which received a 34-save performance from former Dallas goalie Mike Smith. Each team was coming off a game Friday night, as the Lightning beat the Rangers on home ice while the Stars lost in Phoenix.
"I thought we looked a little tired after traveling, but they had to travel too," Smith said. "It looked like we were a little behind on some plays."
The Stars responded to Szczechura's goal by netting a pair of their own before the second period ended. Robidas tied the score on a one-timer from the top of the right circle during a 5-on-3 power play with 4:16 left. Lehtinen put them ahead with 3:05 remaining just as another two-man advantage was expiring.
Morrow added a power-play goal 3:34 into the third for a two-goal advantage, but the Lightning wiped that out quickly, as Stamkos netted his 17 th of the season with Tampa up a man and 4:54 to play. Halpern then followed with the equalizer.
"From being down 3-1 and (facing) two 5-on-3s, and the way the guys battled, we're glad to come out with a point," Lightning coach Rick Tocchet said.
Sabres 5, Hurricanes 1 | HIGHLIGHTS
Carolina gave up five goals in the third period for the second night in a row, as Derek Roy, Jochen Hecht and Thomas Vanek each had a goal and an assist. Rookie defenseman Tyler Myers contributed three assists to the big Buffalo rally.
Matt Cullen scored unassisted for the Hurricanes at 8:19 of the first period and Michael Leighton carried a shutout into the final 20 minutes before it all fell apart.
Mike Grier drew the Sabres even 1:59 in, scoring from in tight. After a Sergei Samsonov high-sticking penalty, Clarke MacArthur redirected a Roy pass at 4:33 for the go-ahead, power-play goal.
Buffalo then piled on, as Jason Pominville kicked the puck toward the slot and Roy shoveled it past Leighton at 8:10, Hecht struck for another power-play goal at 11:22 and Vanek capped the late eruption with 5:23 remaining.
Carolina headed into the third period at home Friday with a 4-1 lead over Atlanta, only to give up five goals for a 6-4 loss.
"It's no fun here right now," center Eric Staal said. "Obviously, we're fragile. That's two games in a row where the third period comes around and we lose both. That's the sign of a team that isn't feeling it."
Ryan Miller made 30 saves for the Sabres, who stayed one point behind the Bruins for the Northeast Division lead. Half of Miller's saves came in the second period, when the Hurricanes were looking to extend their lead, including a spectacular diving glove save to take a shorthanded goal away from Rod Brind'Amour.
"It was a wake-up call for us," Grier said. "It made us realize that, 'Hey, we need to get going.'"
"That was probably the turning point of the game," Brind'Amour said. "If we go up 2-0, it's a way different game. Right at the end of the period and shorthanded, that would probably deflate them instead of giving them a big lift."
Leighton finished with 19 saves for the Hurricanes, who at 0-10-3 are the only NHL team not to have won on the road this season. It's the worst road start since the 2003-04 Blue Jackets started 0-11-2 with one tie.
Thrashers 1, Flyers 0 | HIGHLIGHTS
Johan Hedberg made the most of a rare start, turning aside all 34 shots he faced and making Rich Peverley's power-play goal midway through the second period stand up in Atlanta’s first win over Philadelphia in 15 tries dating back to Nov. 18, 2005.
"I was not aware it was 14 games in the streak," Atlanta coach John Anderson said, "but it's not 14 games anymore."
The Flyers outshot the Thrashers 12-3 in the first and 13-3 in the third, but neither of those periods featured a goal thanks to Hedberg, who recorded his 12 th career shutout.
"It's a big mental break," he said. "They've had our number since I've been here."
Peverley, who leads the Thrashers with 26 points, notched his 10 th goal of the season at 11:07 of the second. As a two-man advantage was just expiring, Pavel Kubina sent a cross-ice pass over to Peverley at the bottom of the left circle and he used a sweeping wrister to beat Flyers goalie Brian Boucher.
"Kubina made a great pass, and I didn't get a lot of it, but it got into the net," Peverley said. "It was kind of a tough angle."
Boucher stopped the other 16 shots he faced, but the Flyers still lost for the fifth time in six games.
"You can't get overly frustrated by it," Boucher said. "Sometimes as a goaltender, you're at the mercy of the game. If the other (goalie) stands on his head like he did, sometimes you're going to lose a game even though you did enough to win."
Predators 4, Panthers 1 | HIGHLIGHTS
Nashville's seven-game winning streak came to an end Friday night, so 24 hours later the Predators set about starting a new one.
J.P. Dumont broke a 1-1 tie early in the third period, making up for an earlier giveaway that led to Florida's only goal, and Dan Ellis made 23 saves in a rare start.
"To get the win tonight was important for myself after sitting that long," said Ellis, who got the nod after Pekka Rinne played eight straight games, winning them all until a 3-1 loss to St. Louis on Friday. "Our 'D' played outstanding tonight."
One of those defensemen, Dan Hamhuis, scored his first goal in 47 games to get the Predators on the board with 1:32 left in the first. His point shot deflected off Kamil Kreps of the Panthers and past goalie Scott Clemmensen.
"I guess I can't lie, it's been on my mind," Hamhuis said. "Finally, tonight one got through and went in."
Jordan Leopold answered for Florida with 4:46 left in the second, scoring off a 2-on-1 break with Stephen Weiss that was set up by Dumont's errant pass inside the offensive zone.
"That turnover there was a busted up play, and they ended up scoring, giving them some momentum," Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. "It was good that one of our leadership group stepped up and was able to get that goal back."
Dumont scored off a rebound at 1:08 of the third, getting Clemmensen down and kicking the puck to his backhand before lifting it high to the stick side.
"I knew I had time when I got the rebound," Dumont said. "I knew he was coming across and covering the bottom part of the net, and I just had to take my time. I had the top of the net wide open."
David Legwand added insurance at 5:16 when he took a long pass from Jordin Tootoo, fended off defenseman Bryan Allen and beat Clemmensen between his pads. Joel Ward scored into an empty net with 37 seconds remaining.
"We had a really good second period, then we shot ourselves in the foot," Florida coach Peter DeBoer said. "We just can't afford to make mistakes like we made in the third period, it costs us games."
Wild 3, Avalanche 2 (SO) | HIGHLIGHTS
Newcomer Guillaume Latendresse scored the game-tying goal in the third period and Minnesota got tallies from Mikko Koivu and Andrew Ebbett in the shootout to complete a home-and-home sweep of Colorado and beat its Northwest Division rivals for the third time already this season.
Eric Belanger also scored for the Wild and Josh Harding made 20 saves, plus a pair of stops in the penalty-shot tiebreaker.
"I don't have any explanation except that we have played well against them," Belanger said.
Matt Hendricks and Matt Duchene scored first-period goals to get the Avalanche off to a fast start, but they still lost for the fifth time in six games, despite 34 saves from Craig Anderson.
"We can do it for 60 minutes, we've done it this year for 60 minutes in many games. We still have a strong record, it's a matter of the message getting through," Colorado coach Joe Sacco said. "You're going to have times when teams put pressure on you, but that's when you tighten it up and buckle down."
It didn't work out that way Saturday, as Belanger cut Minnesota's deficit in half 57 seconds into the second period and Latendresse – acquired earlier this week in a trade with Montreal – scored his first with his new team with 8:46 left in regulation.
"We found our energy and played well in the second and third periods," Belanger said.
Hendricks, who just came off injured reserve, opened the scoring 8:22 into the game off a give-and-go with Chris Durno. Duchene had a goal disallowed due to a high stick, but later came back to make it 2-0 as he took a Paul Stastny feed at the left circle and put the puck past Harding, who had been tripped up by his own defenseman, Kim Johnsson.
"To jump out to a 2-0 start was pretty key," Anderson said. "For us it's just a matter of us a matter of sustaining the pressure. We have to keep the momentum, hammer down and find a way to bury teams."
Canucks 7, Oilers 3 | HIGHLIGHTS
Seven different players scored for Vancouver, which used a five-goal blitz in the first period to put Edmonton away early.
Christian Ehrhoff, Alexandre Burrows, Mason Raymond and Daniel Sedin all had goals in the first 8:25 to chase Oilers goalie Jeff Deslauriers from the game. Sedin's goal was his first of the season, in his third game back from a broken foot.
"My hands are pretty close," Sedin said. "It's mostly timing, but I'm right there."
Tanner Glass, Alexander Edler and Mikael Samuelsson also scored for the Canucks and Roberto Luongo made 17 of his 34 saves in the third period.
"We attacked them right away and got rewarded for it," Luongo said. "We wanted to get on them right away. We knew they were a tired team."
Gilbert Brule, Colin McDonald and Dustin Penner tallied for the injury-riddled Oilers, who lost 5-4 in a shootout to San Jose on Friday. They pulled to within 5-3 early in the second when McDonald and Penner scored 1:04 apart.
But Vancouver, which went 4-for-5 on the power play, salted the game on goals by Edler and Samuelsson with the man advantage.
"Obviously our guys did not lay down. They fought back and tried to make a game of it," Edmonton coach Pat Quinn said. "We were doing pretty well until we took another penalty that we couldn't kill, and that was it. They were good enough that they didn't have to do anything but protect in the third period. We got some chances, but the horse was out of the barn."
Devan Dubnyk made his NHL debut in relief of Deslauriers and stopped 21 of 24 shots.
"We weren't good in front of (Deslauriers), let's face it," Quinn said. "The first one, maybe he should stop, I don't know, a long shot on a screen. But the second one they walked right out of the corner on him, the third one we miss a check in front. We just missed too many assignments."
Material from wire services and broadcast media was used in this report.