Skip to main content

Bertuzzi's OT winner spoils Gaborik's return

by John Kreiser
Not even the successful return of Marian Gaborik was enough to give the Minnesota Wild a win — or slow down the Calgary Flames.

Gaborik looked none the worse for wear in his return after missing 27 games with a lower-body injury. He assisted on Andrew Brunette's second-period goal and tied the game by beating Miikka Kiprusoff with 4:43 left in regulation.

But it still wasn't enough. Todd Bertuzzi's goal with 1:12 left in overtime gave the Flames a 3-2 victory, handing the Wild their sixth consecutive loss.

Bertuzzi scored his first goal since Nov. 2 by racing into the Wild zone to chase down a pass by Daymond Langkow and lifting a backhander past Niklas Backstrom's glove.

"It was a good veteran move by Daymond Langkow," Bertuzzi said. "He made a smart play, dove for it, got it over, and that's obviously a nice two points to go home with."

Flames coach Mike Keenan was delighted with the outcome.

"It was just a matter of working for a break and we were able to find a way," Keenan said. "They came back, which is tough to do, too. Gaborik gave them a little bit of a jump start and took it into overtime. A typical divisional playoff-like game in the middle of December."

Despite Gaborik's successful return, Kiprusoff made 25 saves to beat the Wild for the 20th time in 29 career starts.

"A player like that we should never leave open. He used those chances and was able to tie the game," Kiprusoff said of Gaborik. "The good thing is we came back and were able to get those two points."

Gaborik got a loud ovation from the Xcel Energy Center crowd 70 seconds into the game when he came onto the ice for his first shift. Gaborik started as a left wing on a line with Stephane Veilleux and James Sheppard. Coach Jacques Lemaire later shifted him onto a line with Koivu and Brunette.

"It was so exciting to score, especially after I was out for a couple months," Gaborik said. "It's always good to get out there. When you get a goal or a point, it's always a bonus. It's too bad we couldn't get two points, but every point counts in this situation we are in right now."

Langkow put Calgary ahead by tipping Jamie Lundmark's pass behind Backstrom at 12:57 of the second period. The Wild tied it 51 seconds later when Kiprusoff stopped Gaborik's shot but couldn't control the rebound and Brunette swatted the puck into the net.

Craig Conroy put the Flames back in front at 16:25, beating Backstrom with a one-timer from the slot.

"Right now what's happening is very simple," said Wild coach Jacques Lemaire, who last won a game on Dec. 3. "Guys are trying to come back and play as well as they can. They are making one mistake, pay the price. They make another one, give them a chance, and get exposed. That's where we're at right now."

Devils 5, Sabres 3 | VIDEO

New Jersey won't have Martin Brodeur for another couple of months. By the time he gets back, he may not recognize the team in front of him.

The Devils continued to thrive without their All-Star goaltender, as five players scored to help them avenge a 4-2 home loss to the Sabres on Saturday.

"We're gaining confidence and learning a lot about each other," said captain Jamie Langenbrunner, who had two assists. "We're proving to ourselves as well as the rest of the league that we have a good team, and not just Marty carrying us. I think it can be huge for us later on in the year."

David Clarkson had an assist and what proved to be the winning goal as the Devils improved to 10-2-1 in their last 13 games, all without Brodeur. Scott Clemmensen made 23 saves and won for the ninth time in his last 11 starts.

''It's typical Devils fashion. We're not very exciting to watch, and maybe our team goes unnoticed a little bit, which is fine with us,'' said Clemmensen, who wrested the No. 1 goalie spot away from Kevin Weekes after Brodeur tore his biceps in early November. "It's an entire team effort."

Clarkson's goal 6:04 into the third period came after he took the puck away from Nathan Paetsch along the right boards, broke in and backhanded the puck past Ryan Miller to make it 4-2. He also assisted on Brian Rolston's goal at 9:31.

"To be in the lineup, I have to play hard and go to the net hard to create trouble,"  Clarkson said. "We're a deep lineup with a lot of guys that can do a lot."

Travis Zajac and Zach Parise sandwiched first-period goals around one by Buffalo's Drew Stafford to take a 2-1 lead. Bryce Salvador beat Miller at 10:52 of the second period to make it 3-1, but Patrick Kaleta cut the margin back to one goal just 18 seconds later.

"We dug ourselves a hole early, and when you get behind on that team it obviously makes it even tougher," Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said.

Paul Gaustad added a goal for the Sabres just 12 seconds after Rolston scored, but it wasn't enough.

"We tried to play a lazy game," Buffalo defenseman Jaroslav Spacek said. "We didn't have energy to backcheck and that's why they got their chances. We'd better start to trust each other."

Rangers 3, Kings 2 (OT) | VIDEO

Michal Rozsival had a night any struggling defenseman would envy — a penalty-shot goal and an overtime game-winner — to double his goal total for the season and give the Rangers a sweep of their back-to-back games in Southern California.

One night after a solid 3-1 win at Anaheim, Steven Valiquette made 39 saves and kept the Rangers from getting run out of the Staples Center early as they struggled in the first half of the game against the energized Kings.

Rozsival, whose recent play has earned him boos at Madison Square Garden, put the Rangers ahead 2-1 at 12:23 when he beat Jason LaBarbera with a backhander on a penalty shot that was called by referee Bill McCreary after a Kings' defenseman shot a broken stick at him while he had the puck. Rozsival made a number of dekes before beating LaBarbera.

"I was surprised when the referee came over to the bench and said I was the one to take the penalty shot," Rozsival said.

"I think we outplayed them for a lot of the game.  We had a lot of chances, a lot of opportunities. They got a couple of timely goals and we didn't." -- Jarret Stoll
After Dustin Brown forced the overtime by jamming in a loose puck 2:27 into the third period, Rozsival won it by one-timing Mark Staal's passout from the corner at 3:41 of OT. The Rangers improved to 10-1-1 in games decided after the regulation 60 minutes.

"Staal made a great play to retrieve the puck in the corner," Rozsival said. "He put the puck in the slot. I took a one-timer and was lucky to hit the top corner."

The Kings completely dominated the first period, outshooting the Rangers 14-3. But Valiquette was beaten only Patrick O'Sullivan's wrist shot at 14:24, and Chris Drury beat LaBarbera from the slot at 19:16 to make it 1-1 after one period.

"I think we outplayed them for a lot of the game," Kings center Jarret Stoll said. "We had a lot of chances, a lot of opportunities. They got a couple of timely goals and we didn't."

Rangers coach Tom Renney was pleased with his team's resilience.

"We won last night and played very, very well," Renney said. "Tonight, we found a way to win.  Not every game is a work of art. Tonight was one of those nights. But we competed, and we got two points."

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

View More

The NHL uses cookies, web beacons, and other similar technologies. By using NHL websites or other online services, you consent to the practices described in our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service, including our Cookie Policy.