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Canadiens beat Caps 5-4 on Kostitsyn's late goal

by Brian Hunter
Sergei Kostitsyn spoiled Washington's night and his coach's vacation at the same time.

Kostitsyn swiped the puck from between defenseman Milan Jurcina's legs and snapped home a wrist shot with 21.2 seconds to play Saturday night, giving the Montreal Canadiens a 5-4 victory over the Washington Capitals at the Bell Centre.

"The defenseman just couldn't see the puck," the younger of Montreal's Kostitsyn brothers said. "I saw it in his legs. I just took a shot. I didn't see where I was shooting."

The goal not only handed the Caps their second loss in two nights, it assured that Montreal coach Guy Carbonneau — and not Washington's Bruce Boudreau — would be the assistant to Claude Julien behind the Eastern Conference bench for the All-Star Game in Montreal on Jan. 25.

''I was going to go to Florida, lie on a beach and enjoy it,'' Carbonneau said in mock disappointment. ''I told (general manager) Bob Gainey, too bad I don't have a bonus for the All-Star Game.

"It's going to be strange, but it's going to be fun. It's always a privilege when you have a chance to be around superstars. I never had a chance to go to an All-Star game as a player."

That's because Carbonneau's specialty was defense — a rare commodity in All-Star play, and in the third period. Kostitsyn's was the sixth goal of the period and the fourth by the Canadiens, who overcame a 2-1 deficit after 40 minutes.

Robert Lang tied it with a 5-on-3 power-play goal at 1:39 of the third period — the 250th goal of his career — and Andrei Kostitsyn put the Canadiens ahead 43 seconds later with a 5-on-4 goal.


Tomas Fleischmann's wrist shot tied it at 4:15, but Montreal went back in front 16 seconds later when Tomas Plekanec beat Brent Johnson with a slap shot for his second of the game. Washington tied it again at 12:21 when Alex Ovechkin's power-play shot hit a Montreal player before deflecting off teammate Michael Nylander and into the net.

Alexander Semin scored in each of the first two periods for the Caps, who were shut out 3-0 at home by Columbus on Friday night.

As for Boudreau, missing out on an All-Star weekend after coming so close was "the story of my life," he said. "What I'm more interested in, quite frankly, is that Florida won (8-4 over Atlanta).

"We could have gained on Carolina and stayed closer to Boston, so it was a heartbreaker to watch us lose like that. But maybe we'll learn from our mistakes."

Red Wings 3, Sabres 1 | Video

It took almost the entire 60 minutes, but the Red Wings finally wore down Ryan Miller. Mikael Samuelsson's goal with 2:34 left in regulation broke a 1-1 tie and spoiled a brilliant performance by Miller, who finished with 45 saves.

"We were hoping to wear [Miller] down. We thought if we stayed at their net, we'd get our opportunities," Wings' coach Mike Babcock said after his team's sixth consecutive victory. "He made some great saves early, but we stayed patient and were able to get the win."

Samuelsson was alone in the slot and whipped a backhander past Miller to break a 1-1 tie. Marian Hossa added an insurance goal 59 seconds later.

Miller thought Samuelsson was going to deflect the puck after Jiri Hudler passed it into the slot.

"I thought it was going to be a tip play but he knocked it down," he said after the Wings ended Buffalo's four-game winning streak.

Derek Roy put Buffalo ahead by beating Ty Conklin 5:03 into the game. The Wings finally solved Miller at the 17-minute mark of the second period when Hudler one-timed a slap shot past him from the top of the left circle.

"They're tough. Ryan gave them a good chance to win," said Conklin, who finished with 21 saves. "He made some big saves. The longer games like that stay close, and we're controlling the play, we're going to break through."

Rangers 2, Senators 0 | Video

Ottawa's miseries didn't get any help from returning home after an eight-game road trip. Henrik Lundqvist stopped all 33 shots and rebounded from a poor performance in a home loss to Montreal on Wednesday.

Rookie goaltender Brian Elliott played well, with a breakaway stop on Petr Prucha among his 25 saves, but got no help. Brandon Dubinsky broke a 19-game goal drought when he scored 15:09 into the game and rookie Lauri Korpikoski added an insurance goal 5:22 into the third period.

"I felt I was seeing the puck pretty well and the guys were keeping the shots from outside. I did not do too bad but obviously you want to be perfect but it's not a perfect world," Elliott said.

Coach Craig Hartsburg was pleased with his young goaltender.

"He was good," Hartsburg said. "That first goal was a bit of a scramble and some confusion around the net and the second one was a real good shot."

Lundqvist, who backed up Steven Valiquette in Friday's 2-1 shootout loss at Buffalo, earned his 19th career shutout and second this season.

"The guys are playing really well right now," Lundqvist said. "We're winning battles in our own zone, and that's huge for us. And tonight I really paid attention to the details that I have to think about when I play and I was a lot more in control."

Dubinsky was relieved to turn on the red light for the first time in more than a month.
"It's been a struggle for me to score goals. I've had chances and felt like I was playing well and making good shots but they weren't going in for me. To have a gift like that is nice and hopefully the floodgates will open they'll start going in a little more now," he said.

The Senators were 1-6-1 on a three-week trip while Scotiabank Place hosted the World Junior Championships.

"It's always a tough game coming back off a long road trip," Hartsburg said, "and the guys were trying different things but they just weren't able to execute."

Blue Jackets 4, Wild 2 | Video

Nikita Filatov brought the scoring touch he showed at the World Junior Championships in Ottawa back to Columbus with him. The Jackets' top pick in the 2008 Entry Draft became the first rookie in franchise history to score three goals in a game as Columbus followed up on Friday's shutout win at Washington by beating the Wild.

"He's a scorer, and he looks like a scorer on the ice," Columbus coach Ken Hitchcock said of the 18-year-old Russian. "He's a smart, smart offensive player. He positions himself, offensively, really well. He finds holes other people don't look for."

The Jackets recalled Filatov after he scored 8 goals at the tournament. He now has four in six NHL games.

"It's unbelievable," Filatov said. "I have so many emotions, so many feelings. Unbelievable moment."

It was a successful homecoming for the Jackets, who were 4-2 on a six-game trip. Derek Dorsett had the Jackets' other goal, Jakub Voracek had three assists and Michael Peca added two. Columbus has won seven of its last eight at Nationwide Arena.

Dorsett put Columbus ahead to stay 2:23 into the second period when he stuffed home a centering pass on a 2-on-1 rush with Alexandre Picard. Filatov, who scored in the first period made it 3-1 at 4:59 by snapping a shot from the left circle over Josh Harding, who was making only his ninth appearance of the season. He got the start in place of All-Star selection Niklas Backstrom, who has been battling the flu.

Just 1:35 later, Filatov scored from the right circle, again on assists from Peca and Voracek, for his hat trick.

"I think it was a perfect line for tonight," Filatov said. "We got a lot of chances. We played well in our zone."

Minnesota's Antti Miettinen scored midway through the first period and Marek Zidlicky got a meaningless goal in the final minute.

''This cannot happen,'' Minnesota coach Jacques Lemaire said. "To show up like this, it can't happen."

Bruins 5, Hurricanes 1 | Video

David Krejci may not be an All-Star, but he continues to play like one. The second-year center had a goal and two assists, giving him 46 points in 42 games, as the Bruins manhandled the Hurricanes at TD Banknorth Garden.

"We make too much about All-Star selections," said Bruins coach Claude Julien, who will be behind the bench for the Eastern Conference squad at the Jan. 25 game in Montreal. "Not being on the team is one thing, but the fact that everybody is talking about him not being on the team speaks for itself."

Krejci's power-play goal and Stephane Yelle's tip-in made it 2-0 after one period. After Mark Stuart scored early in the second to give the Bruins a three-goal lead and sent Cam Ward to the bench, Krejci set up both of Michael Ryder's goals for a 5-0 advantage after 40 minutes.

"We won't be bragging about that game. We were excited to play them, but didn't have the puck enough to compete." -- Hurricanes coach Paul Maurice

"It will make him [Krejci] better," Bruins forward Marc Savard said of the All-Star snub. "He is out there proving every night he deserves to be there."

Tim Thomas — who, like Savard, did make the All-Star team — stopped 29 shots. Justin Williams spoiled his shutout bid by scoring 6:07 into the third period.

The Hurricanes lost for the second time after a four-game winning streak.

"It's all about attitude," Williams said. "They dictated the play and all we did was respond to what they were doing."

Added coach Paul Maurice: "We won't be bragging about that game. We were excited to play them, but didn't have the puck enough to compete."

Panthers 8, Thrashers 4 | Video

After a poor second period, Florida went back to basics and blew out Atlanta with a five-goal third period.

"After the second period, we decided we have to go back to our game and getting the puck through the neutral zone," said forward Ville Peltonen, who had two of the five goals. "We just owned them again in the third."

After Atlanta got second-period goals by Todd White and Eric Christensen to tie the game at 3-3 after 40 minutes, Peltonen put Florida ahead to stay at 1:45 of the third, one-timing a feed from Radek Dvorak past Kari Lehtonen.

Cory Stillman scored 68 seconds later, and goals by David Booth, Peltonen and Nathan Horton turned the game into a rout.

The line of Peltonen, Dvorak and Gregory Campbell had 3 goals and 8 points. Peltonen alone has four goals in his past five games after a 14-game drought.

"You can go into a slump and you have to start focusing on the things that you can control," he said. "Sometimes it's tough. It's a good thing riding the tide when it's going great."

The Thrashers fell apart in the final 20 minutes.

"For two periods we played pretty well," White said. "The third period we just fell apart. We made way too many mistakes and they capitalized on them."

It was a dreadful day for Lehtonen, who was coming off a 4-0 shutout at New Jersey but allowed seven goals before being lifted in favor of Johan Hedberg.

"I don't think there's anything that stands out," said Lehtonen, who was also beaten on Michael Frolik's first-period penalty shot. "But when there's so many goals, that's pretty bad. We have to forget about this and go forward. It feels bad after the great game we had in New Jersey."

Flyers 4, Maple Leafs 1 | Video

The Wachovia Center continues to be an impossible place for visiting teams. Jeff Carter scored twice in the third period as the Flyers improved to 12-0-2 in their last 14 home games and stayed on top in the Atlantic Division.

Carter broke a 1-1 tie 5:59 into the third period when he raced down the right wing, cut in and went forehand to backhand to beat Vesa Toskala for his NHL-high 28th goal. After Andrew Alberts made it 3-1 at 11:01, Carter got No. 29 into an empty net with 1:48 to play.

"Jeff has a great shot and a great reach," Flyers goalie Martin Biron said. "He comes in with so much speed. He's a good skater and comes in so quick it's tough for a goalie to cover that much ground in that short amount of time."

"I thought we outplayed them for most of the night But at the end of the game, their goalie was the difference." -- Maple Leafs coach Ron Wilson

Biron, 7-1-2 in his last 10 starts, made 41 saves. He robbed Jason Blake twice in the second period and allowed only Alex Ponikarovsky's game-tying rebound goal 41 seconds into the third period. Philadelphia has outscored its opponents 40-20 during the 14-game streak.

"I thought we outplayed them for most of the night," Toronto coach Ron Wilson said. "But at the end of the game, their goalie was the difference. He made saves when we had them under siege for multiple shifts. We couldn't find a way to crack him."

Mike Richards put the Flyers ahead 6:41 into the game with a power-play goal. He now has 6 goals and 9 assists in Philadelphia's last 10 home games.

"We find ways to win at home," Richards said. "We feed off the crowd's energy. Tonight, I don't think we played our best hockey."

Coyotes 1, Stars 0 (SO) | Video

Marty Turco robbed Kyle Turris in regulation to prevent what looked like a sure goal. Turris got even in the shootout, beating Turco with a backhander to give the Coyotes their first win this season in a game that went past regulation.

Ilya Bryzgalov stopped 38 shots in 65 minutes and three of five in the shootout. After Phoenix's Peter Mueller scored in the second round of the shootout, Dallas Mike Ribeiro tied it in the third round and James Neal scored on a wrist shot to put the Stars ahead. But Steven Reinprecht roofed a backhander to force a fifth round, and Bryzgalov stopped Mike Modano's wrister before Turris faked Turco to the ice, stepped around him and backhanded the puck into the net.

"I think they know I'm going to shoot so I tried to change my angle up a little bit," Turris said. "I've practiced it. I just kinda thought about it when the other guys were shooting and thought I'd try it out."

The Coyotes were inches away from scoring late in the third period. Mueller tried to jam the puck past the glove of an outstretched Turco with 6:43 left, but Stephane Robidas cleared the puck off the goal line. No goal was called and a video review confirmed the referee's decision. Turco followed with a glove save of Turris' rebound while sprawled on his right side with 3:14 remaining.

The shutout was Bryzgalov's second this season and seventh of his career.

"It's the NHL. Nothing's easy here," Bryzgalov said after the Coyotes won for the first time in six games that were tied after regulation. "I just react with the play and follow the players."

Turco made 28 saves for the Stars, who have lost three of their last four.

"It certainly felt like we deserved better," Turco said. "It sucks to get to overtime with these guys when you had a chance to win in regulation."

Stars coach Dave Tippett was frustrated at leaving Arena with a shutout but not a victory.

"When you get a shutout, you think that you should get the win," Tippett said. "We didn't. We're in the winning business. We're not in the just-about business."

Predators 4, Blackhawks 1 | Video

David Legwand's switch from center to left wing has helped him rediscover his scoring touch. Legwand scored twice as the Predators celebrated the return of Steve Sullivan by beating the Blackhawks in the opener of a home-and-home series.

Legwand picked up a deflected pass and beat Cristobal Huet from the low slot 10:41 into the game to give Nashville the lead, then added an empty-netter for his third goal in two games since the switch. He has nine goals this season, eight at the Sommet Center.

"We have been trying to get to the net the last couple of games, and the shots have been going in for us," Legwand said. "It is going to help us win hockey games.

"Playing with (Jason) Arnott and Martin Erat, who have been in the League for a while, helps out. We have done a good job of reading off of each other and reading the plays. It is a matter of reading and reacting out there. That's when most things are going to happen."

Sullivan got a standing ovation when he took the ice 1:30 into the game for the first time since Feb. 22, 2007. He missed 153 games with back problems. Sullivan took a regular shift with Vernon Fiddler and Jordin Tootoo and received some time on Nashville's second power-play unit. In all, he had 12:30 of ice time and took three shots. Coach Barry Trotz tried to give him long rest periods between shifts.

"I was thrilled with the ovation.  These are probably the best fans in the world. For them to wait for me and show me the respect they did was awesome." -- Nashville's Steve Sullivan

"I was thrilled with the ovation," Sullivan said. "These are probably the best fans in the world. For them to wait for me and show me the respect they did was awesome.

"My timing wasn't great, but I tried not to put myself into positions where I had to overexert myself or would have to backtrack or backcheck. Playing with Fiddler and Tootoo to start the game was perfect for me. Those guys are such hard workers and love to dig pucks out of the corner. I just tried to get open for them and let them try to feed me the puck."

The Predators made Legwand's first goal stand up until Shea Weber's power-play blast at 16:46 of the second period doubled their lead. Adam Burish made it 2-1 at 6:11 of the third period when he beat Pekka Rinne with a wrist shot from the slot, but Radek Bonk beat Huet over the left shoulder with a wrister from the right circle.

Hawks coach Joel Quenneville wasn't happy with his team's performance.

"They were the harder-working team. That's what bothered me," said Quenneville, who wants a faster start in Sunday's rematch at the United Center.

"We have to do way better than we were," he said. "Starts are important. We have had two ordinary, below-average starts the last two games. We can't win hockey games like that."

Sharks 4, Canucks 2 | Video

Mats Sundin scored his first goal as a Canuck, but it wasn't enough to keep Vancouver from losing at home for the second time in as many nights. Patrick Marleau gave the Sharks their 31st victory in 41 games by scoring a power-play goal at 9:28 of the third period, breaking a 2-2 tie.

For the second night in a row, Sundin was in the penalty box when the go-ahead goal was scored. Marleau got credit for the goal when Dan Boyle's swipe shot hit his skate and went into the net.

Marleau added an insurance goal by beating Curtis Sanford with 2:06 remaining. He backhanded the puck into a half-empty net after Tomas Pilhal took the puck away from Alexander Edler behind the net as the Sharks beat the Canucks for the sixth consecutive time.

"It's a win," said center Joe Thornton, who set up Rob Blake's game-opening goal at 17:37 of the first period. "Our special teams probably won the games for us. A win on the road is a win on the road."

The sellout crowd at G.M. Place roared when Sundin tied the game at 1-1, ripping home a power-play wrist shot from the left circle with 7.6 seconds left in the first period after Kevin Bieksa's shot hit a skate in front and came to him. It was Sundin's first shot on goal since joining the Canucks.

"Always nice. Being out game so long, look get back into things," he said. "I knew it was going to be a big challenge to come back, not having played a competitive game since April. It's a challenge to get into the game, where guys are 3-4 months into the season. Step by step  — I felt a little better tonight from the previous two games, and hopefully we'll go from here."

The Sharks went back in front at the 2-minute mark of the second period when Mike Grier beat Sanford. Daniel Sedin tied it again at 14:33, beating Brian Boucher from the slot.

Boucher, making his first start since Dec. 15, made 24 saves to improve to 9-1-0. He played after Evgeni Nabokov beat the Oilers 4-1 in Edmonton on Friday. He robbed Sundin twice in the second period, once with a glove save on a point-blank rebound, and again late in the period on a close-in backhander.

"Every time he comes to the net, he either gets a shutout or a big win," Thornton said. "He gives us a chance to win. That's key, too, going to April, May, June. You need two solid goaltenders, and we have them."

Devils 5, Kings 1 | Video

Hours after reaching an agreement in principle that will bring Brendan Shanahan back to New Jersey, the Devils kicked off a six-game road trip by thoroughly thumping the Kings to end a two-game losing streak.

Brian Rolston celebrated his 1,000th NHL game by scoring one of New Jersey's three power-play goals. Travis Zajac and Patrik Elias also scored with the man advantage, and Kevin Weekes stopped 34 shots in his first start since Dec. 13.

"I thought we were assertive tonight," said Devils coach Brent Sutter, who was a lot happier with his team than after Thursday's 4-0 home loss to Atlanta. "We had guys going to the net. The first two power-play goals were faceoffs — just win it back, and a shot.

"I thought our focus was good tonight. We were prepared to play."

Weekes lost his shutout 1:17 into the third period when Derek Armstrong redirected Alexander Frolov's shot into the net to make it 3-1. But Rolston's blast from the left point went through a screen and into the net at 6:29, and Jamie Langenbrunner added an insurance goal at 10:58.

The Devils needed just four seconds to score each of their first two power-play goals. Zajac won a faceoff, went to the net and deflected Langenbrunner's shot past Jonathan Quick at 14:02 of the first period following Matt Greene's penalty. Zajac won a draw to Elias, who beat Quick at 1:07 of the second following Sean O'Donnell's penalty.

"We have to play our system, especially down the stretch. The games get a lot harder in the second half. We have a great system. We have to start believing in ourselves and how good our team can really be." -- Los Angeles' Derek Armstrong

"It takes four seconds — a faceoff and in," an unhappy Kings coach Terry Murray said. "The second one's the same thing, exactly four seconds. That was the issue."

All-Star Zach Parise made it 3-0 at 2:18 when he stole the puck from Greene near the Kings' blue line, raced in and snapped a shot past Quick for his 100th NHL goal and 23rd of the season.

Armstrong, who returned after a concussion and other injuries kept him out for 13 games, briefly gave the Kings some life with his goal. But Weekes held off Los Angeles until Rolston's goal put the Devils back in command.

"He played very well for us," Sutter said of Weekes, who's been riding the bench while Scott Clemmensen has taken the starting job during Martin Brodeur's absence. "It was great because he hadn't played in a while. He really stepped up to the plate tonight. I was proud of him. He made some big saves and gave us a chance to win."

Armstrong said the goal was little consolation after his team was soundly beaten.

"It feels good to get back in the lineup," he said. "But the bottom line is winning and losing. It doesn't matter if I score … we have to start learning to win as a team.

"We have to play our system, especially down the stretch. The games get a lot harder in the second half. We have a great system. We have to start believing in ourselves and how good our team can really be."

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


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