Jean-Sebastien Giguere and the Toronto Maple Leafs both had some extra incentive to win on Thursday night -- and they did.
Giguere, acquired from Anaheim a year ago, made 26 saves to beat his old team in the first meeting since the trade and the Leafs rebounded from a horrid effort the night before in New York to beat the Ducks 5-2.
Giguere, who spent a decade with the Ducks and led them to the Stanley Cup in 2007, admitted he had some pre-game jitters as he prepared to face his old team.
"I wanted to just have a strong game," said Giguere, who finished with 26 saves. "Not because I'm bitter or anything like that. You want to play well against guys you know. It's a fun challenge.
"Seeing them this morning, you can have a little laugh, but when the game comes they want to score and I want to make a save. Thankfully, I made more saves tonight."
Mikhail Grabovski scored twice and Clarke MacArthur added a goal and two assists for the Leafs, who looked like a totally different team than the one that was embarrassed 7-0 by the Rangers the night before.
"Tonight we played with pride," MacArthur said. "It's hard to sleep after a game like that..
"We all have better in here. It's not fair to the goalies, it's not fair to anybody to come out and leave guys hung out to dry like we did."
Toronto spotted Anaheim an early goal, but MacArthur tied it midway through the first period. Tyler Bozak's goal late in the second broke a 2-2 tie and Grabovski scored twice in the third period to put it away.
"More than anything it was about responding from last game -- that's an unacceptable effort," MacArthur said. "I thought we came out hard here. We got down and we stuck with it and it was just a good victory for our team."
Instead of the Leafs pondering a poor performance, it was the Ducks who held a lengthy closed-door meeting after the game. They are in the thick of the Western Conference playoff race and can't afford many more efforts like this one.
"They got embarrassed last night and they came out pretty good," forward Teemu Selanne said of the Leafs. "They played better than us."
Added coach Randy Carlyle: "We played about 12 minutes of hockey tonight. You can't play 12 minutes of hockey and expect to win in the NHL."
Capitals 2, Islanders 1 | HIGHLIGHTS
Washington continues to struggle to score, but the Caps again got enough to win as Jason Chimera and Nicklas Backstrom provided enough offense to beat the lowly Islanders.
Alex Ovechkin had only one shot on goal, but he put a perfect pass on Chimera's stick for a tap-in 3:41 into the game. He drove to the net early in the second period and was stopped by Rick DiPietro, but the rebound sat in the crease and Backstrom knocked it in at 3:38 for his first goal in 22 games.
Michael Grabner blew past defenseman John Carlson and beat rookie goalie Braden Holtby at 5:15, but Holtby was flawless the rest of the way, finishing with 24 saves and getting plenty of help from his teammates, who generally kept the Islanders to the outside.
"We're not scoring, so we'd better be aware of the defensive end," Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau said. "We're only averaging about two goals a game for the past 20."
The Capitals are 2-0-1 following an 0-2-1 skid, but Washington's high-powered offense failed to score more than three goals for the 12th game in a row.
"Eventually they will start scoring again at the rate they are capable," Boudreau said. "If they learn to play defense and then they get the balance with the offense, our team will be in good shape."
The Islanders lost for the fifth time in six games despite having forward Kyle Okposo in the lineup for the first time this season. Okposo, the Isles' No. 2 scorer last season, hadn't played since undergoing shoulder surgery in September.
"I thought Kyle was all right," interim coach Jack Capuano said. "He had some chances on the power play in the slot there. The puck jumped off his stick there a couple of times, but I was pleased. One thing I was concerned about was the physicality of the game, the wall play, the play down low and his one-on-one, two-on-two battles. I thought he handled it pretty well."
Devils 2, Penguins 0 | HIGHLIGHTS
No Sidney Crosby and no Evgeni Malkin meant no offense for the Penguins, who allowed early goals to Brian Rolston and Nick Palmieri as New Jersey improved to 4-0-1 in its last five games.
For NHL.com's complete story, click here.
Sabres 4, Bruins 2 | HIGHLIGHTS
Ryan Miller looked every bit like the goaltender who won the Vezina Trophy last season, stopping 38 shots as the Sabres won in Boston.
"Up until the All-Star break we've got to run the table to be around where we want to be," Miller said after Buffalo won for the fifth time in seven games as the Sabres scramble to get into the top eight in the East. "That first half of the season, we had some efforts that I thought were pretty good but we weren't getting the rewards. That's a frustrating feeling. So it's been good to get that positive feeling."
Buffalo, which hosts the New York Islanders on Friday, is now 21-20-5. The Sabres trail eighth-place Atlanta by seven points but have three games in hand.
The Sabres overcame two one-goal deficits -- Dennis Seidenberg opened the scoring at 11:01 of the first period and Gregory Campbell put them ahead 2-1 at 4:54 of the second. Nathan Gerbe got the Sabres even at 10:36 before third-period goals by Thomas Vanek and Jason Pominville gave them the win.
"It's a great win for us against a good team," said Vanek, who assisted on Pominville's goal that put the Sabres up by two with 3:20 left. "Boston always plays us tough, especially here. Two timely goals in the third period."
The Bruins were coming off a home-and-home sweep of Carolina, but showed little of the energy they had against the 'Canes, despite getting 18 shots on Miller in the third period and 40 in the game.
"From start to finish, I don't think there's much to say here except we were totally flat tonight. From the first player to the last," coach Claude Julien said. "We came out flat tonight and never seemed to find our game. Even in the third period -- you're coming in there tied and you've got an opportunity in 20 minutes to seal your fate and it just wasn't happening tonight."
Flyers 6, Senators 2 | HIGHLIGHTS
The NHL's best team welcomed back its best defenseman, and Chris Pronger had an assist in his return after missing 13 games from a broken foot as the Flyers whipped the visiting Senators in a game that featured 126 penalty minutes.
Pronger, out since Dec. 15, assisted on Mike Richards' second goal of the night at 16:17 of the second period, which gave Philadelphia a 3-0 lead. Goals by Milan Michalek and Nick Foligno in a 78-second span late in the third period made it 3-2, but Scott Hartnell scored 7:50 into the third period and James van Riemsdyk beat Brian Elliott at 11:14 to make it a three-goal game.
That's when tempers began to flare. Philadelphia's Jeff Carter and Ottawa's Jesse Winchester tangled at 12:12 during a melee that gave the Flyers a power play, and after Andrej Meszaros' power-play goal made it 6-2, the battling began in earnest, with four more sets of fighting majors and four game misconducts.
"It's a tough building to play in," Senators coach Cory Clouston said. "We showed a lot of character. We didn't lay down."
Flyers coach Peter Laviolette wasn't thrilled his skill players were the ones jostling on the ice -- All-Star Claude Giroux was among those receiving a fighting major.
"It's probably not something you want to see on a regular basis," he said. "I think you're always worried when you see something like that."
In the end, the Flyers improved their NHL-best totals in points (67) and wins (31).
"We're playing with confidence right now," Richards said, " and confidence is a scary thing in the NHL when you have it."
Hurricanes 4, Rangers 1 | HIGHLIGHTS
Both sides had plenty of chances at the RBC Center, but Cam Ward made 39 saves and the Hurricanes won a game they needed to win after back-to-back losses to Boston.
Chad LaRose, Jussi Jokinen, Brandon Sutter and rookie Jeff Skinner scored as the 'Canes improved to 52 points, two behind eighth-place Atlanta in the East with two games in hand.
The teams combined for 79 shots, but Brandon Prust had the only one to get past Ward -- he made it 3-1 with 8:20 left in regulation.
"There are certain games that are going to be exciting, and there are certain games that are going to be dogs," Carolina coach Paul Maurice said. "For whatever reason when the Hurricanes and the Rangers play, I think they're very exciting games and lots of chances and just outstanding goaltending."
LaRose and Jokinen scored on deflections in the first period against Henrik Lundqvist, and Sutter made it 3-0 at 5:41 of the second on a breakaway backhander. Skinner's deflection with 4:09 remaining ended any Rangers comeback hopes.
"They got off to a good start," New York defenseman Marc Staal said after losing to older brother Eric's team. "We obviously opened up the ice a little bit too much for them. At the same time, we were getting a ton of chances, too. We were just unable to bury one."
The Rangers were coming off a 7-0 demolition of Toronto on Wednesday -- but unlike that game, in which they completely stifled the Leafs, the Blueshirts let Carolina skate freely for most of the night, and they paid the price.
"I just thought we were brutal defensively," coach John Tortorella said. "Some of the mistakes defensively were no-brainers. And it started with our top guys. It wasn’t just the new guys who we have to still teach how we play."
Stars 4, Oilers 2 | HIGHLIGHTS
Kari Lehtonen stopped 30 shots as the Stars set a team record with their eighth consecutive road victory by winning at Rexall Place.
For NHL.com's complete game story, click here.
Coyotes 2, Kings 0 | HIGHLIGHTS
Phoenix was outshot 36-15, but the Coyotes got 36 saves by Ilya Bryzgalov and a disputed goal by Martin Havlat to beat the reeling Kings.
Bryzgalov earned his 19th career shutout as the Coyotes won their fourth in a row on the road.
"Bryzie was great tonight," captain Shane Doan said. "We knew it was going to be a tough game and we recognized how good those guys are, but we gave them too many power plays."
The Kings had not allowed a shot in the second period until Ray Whitney took a deflected slap shot from the top of the left circle that was stopped by Jonathan Quick. Hanzal batted the fluttering rebound over the goalie's left shoulder on his backhand at 8:48 of the second while Justin Williams was off for tripping Kyle Turris.
Referee Justin St. Pierre, standing behind the net, immediately ruled it a goal. Officials in Toronto upheld the call after a lengthy video review, and the sellout crowd of 18,118 at the Staples Center immediately voiced its disapproval.
"It was really close," Hanzal said. "I was surprised they called it a goal. I thought it was going to be a high stick, but it is what it is and I'll take whatever I can get. I had exactly the same thing called in Colorado before Christmas, but they didn't count it."
Kings coach Terry Murray was furious about the call.
"How does it get called on the ice as a goal, first of all, and then how does the replay hold it up? I don't have an answer," Murray said.
"I mean, you've got a guy that gets credit for the goal, he's 6-foot-6 and the stick is above his head. Matt Greene is 6-3, and he's trying to bat the puck down with his hand beside his ear. And the net is four feet high. That doesn't add up. It makes no sense."
Lee Stempniak scored less than a minute later, and Bryzgalov did the rest, improving to 12-2-1 in his last 15 starts against the Kings, including a 6-3 victory that started L.A.'s 2-10-0 slide.
"We got some good looks and good shots around the net on the power play, but we just couldn't connect," Anze Kopitar said. "I think (Bryzgalov) made a few saves not knowing where the puck was. It's been going like that for us."
Predators 5, Avalanche 1 | HIGHLIGHTS
Nashville stayed hot as goalie Pekka Rinne made 32 saves to help the Predators win in Denver.
For NHL.com's complete game story, click here.
Material from team media and wire services was used in this report.