showed everyone at the Bell Centre on Saturday night why the Montreal Canadiens
made him the fifth overall pick in the 2005 Entry Draft.
Price stopped 34 shots, including 15 in a wild third period, for his first NHL shutout as the Canadiens blanked Philadelphia 1-0, extending the Flyers’ losing streak to six games. The 20-year-old rookie was at his best in the third period, stopping all 15 shots as the Flyers stormed the Montreal zone. Many of those came early in the period, when the Flyers had a two-man advantage for 1:53.
“It seemed like it was about eight hours long,” he said of Philadelphia’s lengthy 5-on-3 power play, after which the crowd gave him a standing ovation. “The guys did a really good job of clearing away the rebounds. That made it a little easier on me.”
The Flyers actually did get one puck into the net, but referee Dave Jackson ruled no goal because Price was pushed into the net with the puck by forward Scott Hartnell with 1:09 left in regulation — a call that’s not reviewable.
"They made the call on the ice that the goalie was pushed in and that didn't happen — we saw that on the replay," said Flyers goal John Stevens, who was also angry at a quick whistle during another scramble in front of Price with 22 seconds to play.
Hartnell wasn’t happy about the non-goal, either.
“I didn't see the replay, but I was on the right side and the puck went in on the left,” he said.
Montreal’s Andrei Kostitsyn scored the only goal that counted when he beat Antero Niittymaki at 3:52 of the second period with a highlight-reel move.
With Montreal on a power play, Kostitsyn took a pass from Alex Kovalev and went to the net. He looked to have lost the puck and was falling down as he reached back, swiped it along the ice and into the net off a stunned Niittymaki.
It wasn't quite the Alexander Ovechkin rolling backhander goal of 2005-06, but it wasn't far behind.
"He gave me a lesson," joked Kostitsyn. "I just tried to get the puck at the net. I lost it. I went down on the ice and so I tried to score with a backhand."
The Flyers get a chance to avenge the loss and end their drought when the two teams play again Sunday night in Philadelphia. Montreal, which won its second straight, is 3-0 against the Flyers this season, outscoring the Flyers 10-3.
Rangers 5, Sabres 1 | Video
Any questions about whether the Rangers would be rusty after a five-day layoff lasted just 10 seconds. That’s how long it took for Sean Avery to score the fastest goal by a Ranger in Madison Square Garden history and start New York on its way to an easy win over Buffalo.
Avery’s first of two goals triggered a four-goal first period as the Rangers ended Buffalo’s unbeaten streak in regulation at 10 games.
"I don't think we expected that great of a start," said Brendan Shanahan, who scored the fourth goal. "Ryan Miller is a great goalie, but all great goalies can have a tough night. He had a tough night combined with the fact we really came out jumping."
Henrik Lundqvist, in his first since game signing a six-year, $41.25 million deal with the Rangers this week, made 29 saves — losing his shutout bid on Thomas Vanek’s power-play goal with 6:58 remaining. Lundqvist hadn't played since a loss to Anaheim on Feb. 7, sitting the Rangers’ last two games before the rare long break.
"It feels like forever when you play a lot and then suddenly you don't play for a few days," Lundqvist said.
Avery, Ryan Callahan, Brandon Dubinsky and Shanahan scored in the first period for New York, which leaped over Buffalo in the Eastern Conference playoff race by improving to 7-3-1 in its last 11 games. Avery added a second-period goal.
Miller unexpectedly got most of the afternoon off. He was pulled after the Rangers went up 4-0 in just 12:25. It was his first regulation loss since Jan. 19; he had gone 8-0-1 since then.
"It's on me to make up for that," Miller said of Avery’s early goal. "I wasn't ready, either. The first two goals, I got way too rattled. I got too caught up in that. I've got to be better from there to stop the bleeding. Obviously, I didn't."
Sabres coach Lindy Ruff couldn’t say much after his team was overwhelmed.
"We got outbattled in the paint. We got outbattled behind the net," Ruff said. "It hasn't happened in a long time. You're going to lose some battles but we lost them consistently for the first 10 minutes."
Maple Leafs 4, Bruins 3, OT | Video
Darcy Tucker’s health and scoring touch are both returning — perhaps just in time to get Toronto back into the playoff race. Tucker scored his second goal of the game 3:39 into overtime to give the Leafs the win.
"I can't think back to a longer period of time when I struggled to produce," said Tucker, who has five goals in his past five games. "That was tough to go through ... It's great to score goals and you want to win hockey games and do it together as a group.
"It's tough reading the papers every day and knowing that we have let down a lot of people in different ways. That wears on you after a while."
The victory lifted the Leafs out of the Eastern Conference basement, but they're still seven points in back of Boston for the last playoff spot.
Tucker tied the game at 2-2 when he beat Tim Thomas with 5:42 left in regulation. He helped put the Leafs ahead when he fooled Thomas by skating behind the goal but leaving the puck for Nik Antropov, who scored his 20th of the season with 3:51 remaining.
It looked like the Leafs would win in regulation, but with Thomas on the bench for an extra attacker, defenseman Zdeno Chara raced to the front of the net and knocked a loose puck behind Vesa Toskala with 49.8 seconds left. Tucker gave the Leafs the win when he charged down the right side and stuffed Alex Steen’s pass into the open side.
Toskala did yeoman work in the first period, making 17 saves to enable the Leafs to get out of the period with a 1-1 tie. Glen Murray opened the scoring at 5:48 — a point at which Boston had taken 10 of the game’s 11 shots. But Dominic Moore tied the game off a scramble at 10:32.
Bruins coach Claude Julien said the game was lost during that opening 20 minutes.
"I thought in the first period we should've been able to establish a better lead than we did," he said. "We had some Grade A opportunities where we should've scored two, three goals."
The roles were reversed in the second period, when Toronto controlled the play but Boston got the only goal. Dennis Wideman’s power-play shot floated through traffic and past Toskala at 18:36.
Islanders 4, Thrashers 1 | Video
The sellout crowd at the Nassau Coliseum went home happy after the Islanders won their third straight and outshot the Thrashers 49-10, the fewest shots they’ve allowed in a game since entering the NHL in 1972.
The Thrashers, who came to Long Island after a 4-3 shootout win at New Jersey on Friday, were overwhelmed all night, and only a 45-save performance by Kari Lehtonen kept the score respectable.
|Rick DiPietro wasn't tested often – facing just 10 shots – but he made all the important stops in the Isles' 4-1 win.
"It's very frustrating to go from the high of last night to this," Atlanta coach Don Waddell said of the 10-round shootout victory on Friday. "Complacency is a fair statement. We have some success, and we seem to have a hard time dealing with it."
The Isles outshot Atlanta 20-4 in the first period and 17-2 in the second; at one point, Atlanta went more than 25 minutes without a shot on goal. The 10 shots were the fewest in Thrashers’ history; the 39-shot differential was the largest the Isles have ever enjoyed.
"When you play a game like this, you go into each period and say do the same thing," Islanders coach Ted Nolan said after a game in which 12 players, including goalie Rick DiPietro, registered points. "It was one of those games where everyone contributed and everyone helped out. It's nice to win a game when everyone is involved."
Miroslav Satan scored in the first period, and goals by Ruslan Fedotenko and Marc-Andre Bergeron made it 3-0 after two.
"You can outshoot a team badly, but with their snipers they can put in five or six goals with very few shots," Nolan said. "Only having a 1-0 lead with that many shots made Fedotenko's goal an important one."
Islanders forward Trent Hunter had seven shots after 40 minutes of play — one more than the entire Thrashers team.
"They were the more desperate team right from the start," Waddell said. "When you play all night in your own zone, it's hard to create offensive chances."
Sean Bergenheim added a third-period goal before Atlanta avoided a shutout — and single-digit shots — when Todd White shoveled a blocked shot into the net for a power-play goal with 1:17 left in the game.
There was a method to our madness tonight," Nolan said. "It's one thing to throw pucks at the net; it's another to throw them at the net when someone's in front. Tonight, we scored three goals that way. It was a good, solid team effort."
Hurricanes 5, Panthers 4 | Video
The RBC Center continues to be a house of horrors for the Panthers, who couldn’t hold a two-goal lead in the third period and wound up losing their 13th consecutive game in Raleigh.
The Panthers led 4-2 when Nathan Horton beat John Grahame on a penalty shot at 4:11 of the final period. But Eric Staal made it a one-goal game at 5:35, and Trevor Letowski tied the score at 7:38.
"We just kept fighting," coach Peter Laviolette said. "Resilient, I guess, is the word. ... We had the edge in skating and just couldn't seem to get ahead tonight until the end. That's when it matters most."
Ray Whitney won it when he fired a wrist shot from the slot past Tomas Vokoun with 4:21 remaining.
"It's unbelievable," Vokoun said of the loss and the Panthers’ inability to win in Raleigh. "I don't think words can describe it. It just shows you our lack of commitment to defense. Many times it didn't cost us but today it cost us dearly. We basically had the game and gave it to them. There is no secret to it."
It would have been easy for the Hurricanes to roll over after Horton’s goal — they were playing their first game since losing captain Rod Brind’Amour for the season with a knee injury. Instead, they stayed two points ahead of Washington in the Southeast Division race.
"It says that we're not giving up," Whitney said of the comeback. "We're continuing to work, regardless of our lineup, regardless of who's in or out, regardless of the situation. ... When you play hard and put pucks to the net, good things are going to bounce your way."
Horton broke a 2-2 tie — and chased Cam Ward in the process — by scoring on a snap shot from the left circle at 13:23 of the second period. He was awarded the penalty shot after being dragged down on a breakaway by Matt Cullen and beat Grahame with a high wrister on the penalty shot to make it a two-goal game.
"We got up 4-2, and they rallied after Nathan scored," defenseman Bryan Allen said. "We just didn't prepare ourselves for it and realize that you have to do the simple things to protect the middle and keep the puck out of your house."
Capitals 3, Lightning 2 | Video
Alexander Semin’s goal with three minutes left in regulation deflated the crowd at the St. Pete Times Forum and enabled Washington to escape with a victory after the Caps blew a late two-goal lead.
|Alexander Semin knocked home the game-winning goal in overtime, after the Capitals blew a two-goal lead in the third.
The Caps took the lead on Tomas Fleischmann’s power-play goal at 16:12 of the first period and made it 2-0 when Dave Steckel beat Johan Holmqvist with 6:08 left in regulation.
But the Lightning, who couldn’t get any of their 24 second-period shots past Olaf Kolzig, finally solved him. Goals by Vaclav Prospal with 4:11 left and Jan Hlavac 33 seconds later pulled Tampa Bay even at 2-2. But Semin’s goal avoided what would gave been a painful loss and kept the Caps within two points of first-place Carolina in the Southeast Division.
"It seems like we say it after every game: ‘Don't leave our games early.’ The resolve to get the winning goal says a lot about our team," said Kolzig, who finished with 39 saves and was cited by Tampa Bay coach John Tortorella as the reason his team didn’t win.
"Kolzig gets credit the whole game," Tortorella said. "He's the difference."
The Lightning, fifth in the Southeast, fell into last place in the Eastern Conference and dropped eight points behind the Hurricanes.
"A tough one," Tampa Bay forward Martin St. Louis said of the loss. "We're not going to quit. We're still in the hunt."
Predators 2, Blues 1, OT | Video
The way Manny Legace was playing in goal for St. Louis, it would have been easy for Nashville to get frustrated. Instead, they kept their focus, tied the game in the third period and won on Shea Weber’s power-play goal 40 seconds into overtime, overcoming a 42-save effort by the St. Louis goaltender.
''We showed our real true colors in terms of our identity,'' Predators coach Barry Trotz said. ''The one thing about our team is that we all come to grips with the fact that we all need each other. When we need a goal from someone, then someone steps up.''
This time, that someone was fourth-line center Scott Nichol, who swatted a rebound out of the air and past Legace with 8:20 left in regulation. Four of Nichol’s eight goals this season have come against the Blues.
''I had no idea where it was,'' Legace said. ''I thought the pick was still behind the net, but he batted it out of the air. That's three lucky goals that guy has got on me the last two or three games. He has got my number a little bit.''
Weber won it on the Preds'’ eighth power play when he took Marek Zidlicky’'s pass and blasted a 35-foot slap shot past a helpless Legace, moving Nashville into sixth place in the West. The 12th-place Blues are five points behind Vancouver for the final Western playoff berth.
''The net was looking pretty small after all of the shots that I missed early on,'' Weber said. ''But with all of the space we had on the ice and the players that we have, anything can happen. If you're out there with good players they are going to make good plays. We were just fortunate.''
The Blues scored at 15:40 of the opening period when Yan Stastny jammed in a loose puck during a scramble. It looked like they might make the lead stand up behind the play of Legace, who stopped the first 38 shots he faced before Nichol’s goal.
''I knew that if we ever scored, we were going to go on and win the game,'' Trotz said. ''If we got beat we were going to get beat by a goaltender that was absolutely standing on his head. We kept on throwing pucks at Legace. We knew sooner or later one was going to go in.''
Coyotes 4, Kings 3 | Video
Building leads isn’t the Coyotes’ problem — holding on to them is. But Radim Vrbata’s power-play goal with 7:06 left gave them a victory after they blew a two-goal lead in the third period.
''We have to find a way to play the whole 60 minutes,'' captain Shane Doan said. ''We kind of dropped the ball in the beginning of the third period, and that's unacceptable.''
|Radim Vrbata’s power-play goal with 7:06 left gave Phoenix the win after blowing a two-goal lead in the third period.
The Coyotes beat Los Angeles for the fifth time in as many meetings this season and gave Wayne Gretzky his 99th coaching victory. They’re 10th in the Western Conference, but just two points behind eighth-place Vancouver.
The full house at Jobing.com Arena was all smiles as the Coyotes skated off with a 3-1 lead after two periods. But Dustin Brown made it a one-goal game with a power-play goal 37 seconds into the third period, and Alexander Frolov tied it at 8:38, knocking in a rebound off a scramble.
''In order to win in these types of game when the stakes get a little bit higher, you have to make sure you're ready to battle, ready to compete, finish checks and pay the price in front of the net,'' Kings coach Marc Crawford said. ''Those are the types of things that win. We got those goals because of those kind of efforts.''
The Coyotes were unable to score during a minute-long two-man advantage. But Vrbata took a pass from Ed Jovanovski near the end of the second Kings' penalty and beat Jason LaBarbera from the right circle to break the 3-3 tie.
''It was a tight game and we had an opportunity there with the power play 5-on-3,'' Vrbata said. ''It took a little longer than we would have liked to score that goal but I'm just glad we did.''
Jovanovski opened the scoring 5:50 into the game when he beat goalie Dan Cloutier from the high slot during a power play. Raitis Ivanans tied the game at 8:30 on a wrist shot from the right circle. Joel Perrault put Phoenix ahead 2-1 at 15:29 when he one-timed Doan’s pass into the net from the bottom of the left circle, and Daniel Winnik extended the lead at 6:44 of the second period when he faked Cloutier to the ice with a forehand move, pulled the puck back and bounced a backhand shot off the skate of Kings defenseman Brad Stuart.
''We seem to have a little more structure in the offensive zone right now,'' Phoenix coach Wayne Gretzky said. ''I give our guy credit. They battled.''
Cloutier left after the second period with what Crawford termed “flu-like symptoms” and was replaced by LaBarbera.
Canucks 4, Oilers 2 | Video
The line of Daniel and Henrik Sedin and Markus Naslund was just too much for the visiting Oilers, who matched the Canucks hit for hit but couldn’t stop Vancouver’s top unit.
Vancouver broke a 2-2 tie with 12:15 left in regulation when Naslund pounced on a turnover by Oilers defenseman Tom Gilbert in the Edmonton zone found Henrik Sedin down low. His quick pass across the crease left twin brother Daniel with plenty of room to snap his 25th goal over Mathieu Garon.
“Henrik’s line was very, very good tonight,” Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said. “They were able to get some big goals at key times.”
Alex Burrows added an empty-net goal with 40 seconds remaining as the Canucks moved into a tie with Calgary for the last two playoff berths in the West.
“You could tell these were two desperate teams,” Naslund said. “It was a playoff atmosphere from the first shift. They tried to send a message, and we answered it.”
The Oilers fell seven points out of a playoff berth after losing a game in which the teams banged away at each other all night.
“These were two teams playing good, hard, aggressive hockey,” Oilers coach Craig MacTavish said. “Both teams really knew how important it was.”
Naslund opened the scoring 3:08 into the game, beating Garon with a backhander during a 4-on-3 power play. Marty Reasoner tied it with 1:18 left in the period, finishing off a nice pass from Sam Gagner.
Sami Salo put the Canucks back in front 54 seconds into the second period, beating Garon with a slap shot from the point during a power play. Kyle Brodziak made it 2-2 at 17:14 with his fourth goal in three games.
MacTavish lauded the play of Brodziak and the rest of his fourth line, which includes Zach Stortini and Curtis Glencross.
“They’ve been good for a while,” he said. “They’re one of the reasons we’ve won a couple of games. They’ve done virtually everything you could ask a fourth line to do. They were a huge factor physically and they contributed offensively.”
Material from wire services and team online and broadcast media was used in this report