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Bergeron rallies Habs to overtime win

by Brian Hunter /
Picking up Marc-Andre Bergeron is proving to be a wise move for the Montreal Canadiens.

The offensive defenseman helped turn what looked like it was going to be a loss into two points on Monday night when his power-play goal with 1:45 left in the third period tied the score and his second of the night at 2:23 of overtime gave the Canadiens a 4-3 win over the Atlanta Thrashers at Philips Arena.

Bergeron injured himself on the winning goal when his momentum carried him into the post. The goal stood after a video review. Bergeron was unavailable to the media after the game.

"I think he will be all right. He ran into the goal post after scoring the goal. He wasn't cut. He'll be evaluated tomorrow," Montreal coach Jacques Martin said.

Tomas Plekanec and Andrei Kostitsyn also scored for the Canadiens, who were outshot 50-23 but got an outstanding effort in net by Jaroslav Halak.

"It was one of those nights again," Halak said after making 47 saves. "Many, many shots again. But we were able to win the game. That's all that matters."

Nik Antropov scored twice for the Thrashers and Ilya Kovalchuk opened the scoring late in the first period. Johan Hedberg stopped 19 shots but was too late on Bergeron's winner.

"I tried to get my leg over there but I couldn't reach. He ran into me and got pushed into the post," Hedberg said. "I felt like it was a good goal."

The Canadiens carried a 2-1 lead into the third, but Antropov needed just 22 seconds to erase the Thrashers' deficit. He then gave them the lead 1:20 later, scoring on the power play after a hooking penalty to Jaroslav Spacek.

Bergeron forced overtime by beating Hedberg after passes from Plekanec and Andrei Markov.

Kovalchuk scored his 20th of the season by tipping in a Ron Hainsey shot with 17 seconds left in the first. Montreal came back in the second as Mike Cammalleri set up goals by Plekanec and Kostitsyn.

"We did exactly what we wanted to do the whole game. It was just one of those games," Atlanta coach John Anderson said. "The hockey gods weren't with us."

Sabres 3, Maple Leafs 2 (OT) | HIGHLIGHTS

Ryan Miller made 34 saves and kept Buffalo in the game long enough for Derek Roy to win it on a goal with 1:25 remaining in overtime.

Jochen Hecht, who tied the score in the third, started the play that led to Roy's goal. He won an offensive-zone draw and the race for the subsequent loose puck, then passed to Roy in front. Roy deked before going to his backhand and beating Jonas Gustavsson as the Northeast Division-leading Sabres won for the sixth time in eight games.

"(Steve) Montador made a great play and Hecht made a great pass," Roy said. "I just waited for a half-second for (Gustavsson) to make a move, and then I went upstairs."

Miller made 13 saves in the first period and 12 more in the third as the Sabres earned a come-from-behind road win at the Air Canada Centre.

"It was a hard-fought game tonight," Miller said. "We came back and played a tight third period. Even though we only had a couple of chances, we made one count and we got to overtime."

Nathan Paetsch also scored for Buffalo, which has allowed two goals or fewer in 13 of its last 15 games.

"Ryan's our rock out there, he made some huge saves and we finally got our act together in the third period," Roy said.

Hecht collected a loose puck in the slot and lifted a backhander over Gustavsson with 7:01 left to force overtime.

Viktor Stalberg and Ian White scored off deflections in the second as the Maple Leafs turned a 1-0 deficit after the first period into a 2-1 lead after 40 minutes. Gustavsson made 27 saves in his second straight start, but Toronto lost for the third time in four games.

Paetsch opened the scoring at 6:11 of the first. Matt Ellis won a battle along the boards and slid the puck to Paetsch, who beat Gustavsson between the pads with a sweeping wrist shot. It was his first goal since Feb. 6 and just the seventh of his NHL career.

"I'm happy when anybody scores," Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said. "Whether it's Hecht or anyone else, I'm just happy.

"There weren't a lot of pretty goals tonight. Derek's was pretty, but that was about it."

Lightning 4, Islanders 2 | HIGHLIGHTS

Ryan Malone broke a third-period tie with a pair of power-play goals as Tampa Bay capped what had been a disappointing road trip with its second straight win.

Steven Stamkos and Vincent Lecavlier also scored in the victory at Nassau Coliseum and Mike Smith finished with 36 saves. The Lightning were 0-3-1 on the six-game trip before winning in St. Louis on Friday.

"The confidence is there," Tampa Bay coach Rick Tocchet said. "It's almost like a reassurance for our team that if you do the right things, we have a better chance of winning.

"Losing is contagious and winning is contagious. I am a big believer in being even keel."

Trent Hunter and Nate Thompson had goals for the Islanders. Thompson put them ahead 2-1 with 3:35 left in the second, but they were unable to carry that lead into the third as Lecavalier scored just 18.6 seconds before the intermission.

"This was our chance to stockpile some points, but we've let them fall away," defenseman Andy Sutton said after the Islanders lost their third straight, all on home ice. "You can't get them back."

Malone got to the rebound of a Stamkos shot and beat Dwayne Roloson at 2:48 of the third to put Tampa in front to stay. He added some insurance on another man advantage with 8:21 left, finishing off a three-way passing play with Martin St. Louis and Lecavalier.

"I'm not really sure why, but you feel comfortable out there," Malone said. "If you hit your spots, you have a good chance of the puck going in."

Roloson looked sharp in making 24 saves, including one where he had to dive back to the net after the puck took an unexpected bounce off the boards. He lunged to block Steve Downie's attempt at the wide-open net, then used his skate to keep Todd Fedoruk from stuffing home the rebound. Video review determined the puck hadn't crossed the goal line.

Unfortunately for Roloson and the Islanders, their penalty kill continued to come up short. Malone's goals made it 16 by New York opponents on their last 35 power-play attempts.

"Special teams, again. It's kind of a broken record," Thompson said. "We just needed to bear down in the third period, the game's tied. But we didn't execute."

Rangers 3, Hurricanes 1 | HIGHLIGHTS

Three straight wins have returned a little of the confidence to a Rangers team that had been sorely lacking.

Henrik Lundqvist stopped 32 shots and Brandon Dubinsky scored the go-ahead goal early in the third period in a win at the RBC Center in Carolina.

"We're just trying to gain some confidence, and (be) as consistent as you can be, and you find a way to win some hockey games, you start feeling better about yourself," New York coach John Tortorella said. "We just need to stay within ourselves and try to play a simple game. … It's just a matter of simplifying everything and just competing on pucks."

Marian Gaborik scored his NHL-leading 25th goal and added an assist for the Rangers, who are on their longest winning streak since taking seven straight back in October. Marc Staal added an empty-netter in the final minute.

"We went through such a tough stretch there -- it takes a little while to dig out of a hole," Dubinsky said. "Three wins in a row, and we're starting to turn things around and pick up our game. (Lundqvist) is playing awesome, and we're playing pretty good team D. If we can find a way to bury a few more chances, you know, we can take some pressure off ourselves in the third periods."

Carolina took a temporary lead when Sergei Samsonov opened the scoring 46 seconds into the middle period. It took all of 28 seconds for Gaborik to even things up by beating Cam Ward.

"It's a painful game, and we're not in position to wash those away," coach Paul Maurice said. "It was a hard-fought game that turned on a goal. … We had our chances, there's no question about that, (but) just had a hard time getting a handle on it. But the effort was there."

Dubinsky assisted on Gaborik's goal and had the favor returned 1:21 into the third when Gaborik set him up with a pretty feed and Dubinsky put a backhander high over Ward for his first goal since Oct. 17. Even if he wasn't happy with his shot selection, he liked the result.

"I had an opportunity to shoot it, and I took it to the backhand -- I don't know what I was thinking -- but luckily for me, it went in," Dubinsky said.

Lundqvist held the lead by stopping all 13 shots the Hurricanes took in the third, and after they pulled Ward for a sixth attacker, Staal scored with 33 seconds remaining.

"We knew we were playing a pretty good game (entering the third), and the next goal wins, pretty much," Staal said. "We were confident, calm, going into the third. It's nice to have that feeling going into the third. We haven't really had that in a while."

Panthers 4, Flyers 1 | HIGHLIGHTS

Florida scored three power-play goals and Tomas Vokoun stopped 31 of 32 shots as the Panthers won for the fourth time in their last five games.
Nathan Horton scored twice and Stephen Weiss had a goal and 3 assists to lead the Panthers. Michael Frolik had a goal and an assist.

Braydon Coburn scored the Flyers' lone goal. It's the eighth time in the last 12 games the Flyers have been held to one goal or less.
"I look at our team and we're having a hard time scoring goals right now," Flyers GM Paul Holmgren said, "and I look at our roster and wonder why."
It was the teams' first meeting since Oct. 24, when Philadelphia captain Mike Richards' vicious hit on David Booth left the Panthers forward bloodied and concussed. Booth hasn't played since -- although he is skating on his own, is traveling with the team and hopes to return to practice sometime after Christmas.
The Panthers' anger was evident early as Florida captain Bryan McCabe fought Richards just 3:42 into the game. Ian Laperriere also fought a pair of Panthers in the first, Gregory Campbell just 1:48 into the game, and Mike Duco.

"We have a great group of guys here," McCabe said. "We might not be the toughest team in the League by player, but we care about each other and we'll do anything for each other, stand up for each other."

They got off on the right foot for Florida when Horton tipped a Keith Ballard shot past Boucher at 4:53 of the first period.
"It seems like we got down a goal and it went south pretty quick," Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said. "We stopped making plays."
Weiss' power-play goal made it 2-0 just 2:01 into the second period. Boucher dove to stop a Frolik shot, but the puck caught him in the hand under his catching glove. The rebound went to an unmarked Weiss in the slot, and he deposited his 18th goal of the season. Boucher left the game and needed stitches to close a cut finger. He probably won't play Wednesday against Tampa Bay.

Frolik redirected a McCabe shot just 90 seconds into the third period to make it 3-0, and Horton walked out from behind the Flyers net and wired a shot past backup Michael Leighton at 5:54 of the third to make it 4-0.
Coburn scored the game's final goal when he skated out from behind the Florida net and into the right circle and shot between a maze of legs and sticks at 13:47. It was Coburn's first goal in 10 games.

Bruins 2, Senators 0 | HIGHLIGHTS

Tim Thomas is used to having success against Ottawa. Facing them at Scotiabank Place on Monday, he was flawless in his performance.

Thomas stopped all 29 shots he faced for his 10th straight win over the Senators, getting all the offense he needed on third-period goals by Patrice Bergeron and Marco Sturm. He picked up his fourth shutout of the season.

"Oh, that's 10 in a row? I had no idea," Thomas said. "I didn't know it was like that. I don't know -- you know, I like the nice crisp air when we come visit here. When you step outside the hotel I think this has the cleanest-smelling air around, I don't know if that has something to do with it."

Ottawa goalie Brian Elliott matched Thomas for two periods, making 22 saves. Boston finally broke through against him 3:19 into the third when Bergeron converted the rebound of a Shawn Thornton shot.

"That was a great forecheck from Shawn, he made that play in the middle to cut that pass and then a great shot," Bergeron said. "If you put the puck to the net and there are some guys there to get the rebounds something's going to happen, and I was lucky enough to be right there to get the rebound."

Sturm made it 2-0 with 6:53 remaining when he got behind defenseman Alexandre Picard and drove to the slot before putting the puck past Elliott.

"It comes down to the third and a couple of plays that we've got to eliminate to win the game," said Elliot. "We had a few chances, but I don't think we tested Timmy as much as we could."

The victory allowed the Bruins to leap over the Senators into second place in the Northeast Division.

"I think both goalies played extremely well," said Bruins captain Zdeno Chara, who assisted on Sturm's goal. "It was a really tight game and we just stayed patient and eventually scored those goals."

Avalanche 4, Wild 3 | HIGHLIGHTS

It took five tries, but Colorado solved Minnesota at last -- even if it didn't come easy.

Matt Hendricks' shorthanded goal late in the second period gave the Avalanche a three-goal lead and they withstood a Wild rally in the third for only their second regulation win in the last 16 games between the Northwest Division rivals.

Matt Duchene, Chris Stewart and Milan Hejduk all scored in building a 3-0 lead for Colorado and Craig Anderson made 28 saves.

"Good win on the road for us against a team trying to inch back, getting closer to us," coach Joe Sacco said. "Our guys were very resilient."

Cal Clutterbuck scored shorthanded in the second for the Wild, then Owen Nolan and Martin Havlat added goals 1:52 apart in the third to get the fans at the Xcel Energy Center thinking comeback.

"They just turned it up a notch, and I think we did a pretty good job of playing solid defensively," Anderson said.

After Clutterbuck made it 3-1 with 6:05 left in the second, Hendricks restored the three-goal lead for the Avalanche with a shorthanded goal of his own. A turnover by Havlat at the Colorado blue line combined with a bad line change led to a 2-on-0 break for Hendricks and teammate Cody McLeod. Hendricks made it 4-1 with 2:44 remaining.

"My eyes got like a couple of pizzas," Hendricks said. "I was pretty excited. I looked and there was nobody around except for McLeod and I."

It was the second loss in a row for the Wild following a van fire that destroyed much of the team's equipment prior to Friday's game against Ottawa. Illness also sidelined three players for that 4-1 loss to the Senators.

"We've faced a lot of adversity in the last couple days," center Eric Belanger said. "Good teams find ways to get out of it."

Blues 7, Oilers 2 | HIGHLIGHT

Edmonton rallied from a three-goal deficit earlier this month for a 5-3 win in St. Louis. The Blues got their payback on Monday.

Andy McDonald scored a pair of goals and Alexander Steen had a goal and three assists as St. Louis won in a rout at Rexall Place, one night after topping Vancouver.

"We were disappointed with what happened to us in St. Louis, so it was nice to get back at them a bit," McDonald said. "We've been struggling to play consistently and it feels like it is starting to turn for us a little bit now."

David Perron, Brad Boyes, Patrik Berglund and Jay McClement also scored for the Blues, who converted on four of their five power-play opportunities.

"It was nice to get some goals there," Steen said. "We've been struggling but working extremely hard to get that going. It was nice to see a few pucks go in."

Sam Gagner and Dustin Penner scored for Edmonton, which is last in the Western Conference. Penner's goal 5:18 into the middle period made it 2-2, but the bottom fell out after that as St. Louis scored four goals total in the second against Devan Dubnyk in his first NHL start.

"He'll remember this game for a long while, I'm sure," Oilers coach Pat Quinn said. "He was kind of left out to hang by his teammates. We've been doing that all season."

Boyes' goal on a man advantage with 6:31 left in the second started a run of five unanswered goals by the Blues. Berglund scored on another power play three minutes later and McClement scored just 39 seconds after that for a 5-2 lead heading to the third.

Edmonton has lost all four games on its current homestand after a five-game winning streak on the road. That included the win in St. Louis.

"The last time we played them they had won four in a row and were determined to win their fifth in a row on the road," coach Andy Murray said. "We ran into a hornet's nest and didn't really handle it very well. They deserved to beat us there. But here I felt our team was really ready to go. It was significant to beat them like this after that last game."

Coyotes 5, Blue Jackets 2 | HIGHLIGHT

For a franchise that faced a lot of uncertainly this summer over its future, the Coyotes have sure looked at home of late in Phoenix.

Scottie Upshall registered two goals and two assists and the Coyotes stretched their winning streak at Arena to seven in a row by beating Columbus.

Matthew Lombardi, Shane Doan and Radim Vrbata also scored and goalie Ilya Bryzgalov finished with 25 saves.

"It's your building and you have to take advantage of the comfort of sleeping in your own bed and coming to the rink ready to your play," Upshall said. "It's important that we stick to having great starts at home."

They did just that as Upshall, Lombardi and Doan all beat Blue Jackets goalie Mathieu Garon for a 3-0 lead before the game was 25 minutes old. Lombardi and Doan each had a goal and two assists.

"I love the way Lombardi's line went out there and kind of dictated for us and got us a lead," Phoenix coach Dave Tippett said. "We did some things to not give them any life and push our game along."

Columbus tried to answer with goals by Derick Brassard and Antoine Vermette, but still lost its seventh straight (0-5-2) while falling to 1-7-3 in December.

"Nobody's going to feel sorry for us," Columbus coach Ken Hitchcock said. "We have to sort this out ourselves. Every mistake we made was in our net. That's the way it's going."

Phoenix, on the other hand, is 9-2-1 since losses to Calgary and Edmonton right before Thanksgiving.

Material from wire services was used in this report.

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