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Anderson, Panthers shut down Rangers

by Brian Hunter
Craig Anderson is making a serious pitch for more playing time with the Florida Panthers.

Anderson started for a second straight game and played his third in a row Sunday afternoon, and the Panthers have recorded points in all three. They finally broke through and got a win in the back end of a home-and-home with the New York Rangers, as Anderson stopped all 37 shots he faced in a 4-0 victory at Madison Square Garden.

"You never know if you're right or wrong in those situations," said Florida coach Peter DeBoer, who announced Anderson would start again Tuesday at Washington. "He's given us good goaltending all year. We're at the point now that whoever is winning games and getting us points is going to play."

Tomas Vokoun has been the Panthers' regular netminder the past two seasons, but he was pulled after one period Wednesday with Florida trailing 2-0 to New Jersey. Anderson blanked the Devils over the next 40 minutes and the Panthers forced overtime before losing, 3-2. Anderson was solid again Friday in a shootout loss to the Rangers.

"I thought he would go back to Vokie," Anderson said. "I want the ball, I want to be playing. I enjoy playing for these guys. I'll be ready whenever called upon."

Ville Peltonen broke a scoreless tie midway through the second for all the offense Anderson would need, then Stephen Weiss and Gregory Campbell chased Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist by scoring 12 seconds apart later in the period. Michael Frolik finished the offensive burst by the Panthers one minute into the third.

"We just let the game slip away," Rangers coach Tom Renney said. "We're not paid to lose."

Anderson helped keep the Rangers off the board in the first by making 13 saves. Peltonen was credited with his third goal of the season at 9:55 of the middle period when Radek Dvorak sent him in on a breakaway. Peltonen settled the bouncing puck down and snapped a shot over Lundqvist's blocker.

Weiss limped off later in the period after blocking a Michal Rozsival shot but came back on the following shift and made it 2-0 with 3:59 left in the second. Off the ensuing faceoff, Dvorak beat Brandon Dubinsky to a loose puck and fed Campbell for Florida's third goal, which led to Lundqvist being pulled for the second time in the past three home games.

"Obviously I want to play," Lundqvist said. "A couple of quick plays and it was 3-0. I felt they outworked us in the second period and it paid off."

Frolik scored his second NHL goal against backup Steve Valiquette to start the third and Anderson made 17 more saves in that period to finish off the sixth shutout of his career and second this season.

Blues 4, Thrashers 2

It was a milestone for Keith Tkachuk, but just as important it helped St. Louis rally for a win over Atlanta Sunday at Philips Arena.

Tkachuk's power-play goal with 4:57 remaining in the second period was the 1,000th point of his NHL career and tied the game. Brad Boyes put the Blues ahead 3-2 in the third with another man-advantage goal, and Chris Mason turned aside 28 shots for the victory.

"It was exciting to celebrate and have the guys come out on the ice. Just the way the guys reacted was pretty cool," Tkachuk said. "I was in the right place at the right time."

Tkachuk, who broke into the League with the Winnipeg Jets during the 1991-92 season, has 511 goals and 489 assists while also playing for the Coyotes and Thrashers, plus two tours of duty with the Blues. He knocked in a rebound of a Carlo Colaiacovo shot for his 12th this season.

"I've played a long time, and this just means I'm just getting older," the 36-year-old said. "I appreciate the game more as I get older. I've been fortunate."

Boyes put St. Louis ahead with 8:15 left and Jay McClement added an empty-net goal with 2.6 seconds to play. David Backes had opened the scoring 4:38 into the first period.

Atlanta, which has lost six of seven, responded to take a 2-1 lead after 20 minutes on goals by Colby Armstrong and Niclas Havelid. Armstrong put a rebound past Mason at 6:32 and Havelid's first of the season came with 1:25 left in the period on a screened shot from the blue line.

"We played 20 minutes of a 60 minute hockey game -- the first 20 -- and it wasn't enough," Havelid said.

St. Louis put 46 shots on Atlanta goalie Ondrej Pavelec, plus McClement's drive into the empty net. Pavelec finished with 43 saves. The Thrashers, with 19 points, are tied with Tampa Bay for fewest in the Eastern Conference.

"We're not playing up to as good as we can play right now and we've got to figure it out right away," Atlanta coach John Anderson said. "Because it will get so far out of hand that we won't be able to reel it back in."

Ducks 4, Hurricanes 1

Jonas Hiller made 36 saves for his second straight win and Teemu Selanne scored the go-ahead goal on a third-period power play as Anaheim welcomed Jean-Sebastien Giguere back with a road win at RBC Center.

Giguere, who left the team briefly last week to attend to family matters in his hometown of Montreal, served as Hiller's backup and watched as the Swiss goalie followed up his second career shutout Friday against Chicago with another impressive performance.

"He stood on his head in the second period and made some huge saves and kept us in the game," Ducks forward Rob Niedermayer said. "They really took the play to us there. He is a big reason we were in the game."

Niedermayer added a pair of insurance goals later in the third and Ryan Getzlaf also scored for Anaheim, now 13-3-3 since a loss at Honda Center to Carolina on Oct. 19. The Ducks tied a franchise record by earning at least a point in their eighth consecutive road game.

"It was exciting to celebrate and have the guys come out on the ice. Just the way the guys reacted was pretty cool. I was in the right place at the right time."  -- St. Louis Blues forward Keith Tkachuk on his 1000th career point
Matt Cullen had the only score for the Hurricanes, who lost Cam Ward after the first period to what was announced as a lower-body injury. Ward stopped 12 of 13 shots before Michael Leighton came on and finished with 11 saves.

"We just didn't want to risk any further injury, so hopefully it's nothing that's long-term," Carolina coach Peter Laviolette said.

Selanne netted the winner at 7:16 when he tipped home a point shot by Chris Pronger. Niedermayer followed just 1:09 later with a goal off a Brendan Morrison feed, then sealed the victory with 5:05 left.

Hiller, 5-0-0 with a 1.35 goals-against average and .957 save percentage in his last six starts, was at his best during a second period in which the Hurricanes peppered him with 17 shots while the Ducks managed just three. Eric Staal had three chances on Hiller during one sequence, but was denied each time. Frantisek Kaberle also had a slap shot hit the post, and two follow attempts were missed or saved.

"Sometimes you have a bad period like our second one," Hiller said. "At the end it is my job to keep the team in the game and give them a chance to win. That's what happened in the third."

Getzlaf, who has points in 17 of his last 18 games, made it 1-0 just 1:44 into the game. Cullen scored at 6:48 to tie the score.

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

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