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Coyotes blank Stars; Modano mark still on hold

by John Kreiser
Mike Modano was held scoreless for the second-straight game, leaving him one point behind Phil Housley for most career points by a U.S.-born player.
The Mike Modano watch is going on the road.

Modano entered Dallas’ Friday night’s home game against Phoenix needing one point to tie Phil Housley’s record for points by a U.S.-born player. He left still needing that point after the Coyotes blanked the Stars, 5-0 ( 700K ).

Modano had a couple of good chances against Mikael Tellqvist, but the Phoenix goaltender was perfect in stopping all 35 shots he faced – despite battling a case of the flu that left him so sick to his stomach that he didn’t want to talk about his play afterwards, leaving teammate Daniel Carcillo to talk about him.

“The flu bug has been going around,” said Carcillo, who scored the Coyotes’ second goal in the first period. “He played so good he played himself sick. Obviously we knew (the Stars) were going to come out hard. They haven't had a lot of success at home and we wanted to get some pucks to the net and some bodies to the net.”

It was Tellqvist’s fifth career shutout and first of the season.

“We've gotten really strong goaltending, and you’ve got to be a little bit lucky,” Phoenix coach Wayne Gretzky said. “All in all, the effort was really strong for us. Our goalie made a couple of big saves or we could have been down 3-2.”

Dallas has lost three in a row, all at home. The Stars begin a four-game trip Monday night in Anaheim.

“You go 0-for-3 at home, that's rock-bottom for us,” Stars captain Brenden Morrow said. “This is some of the worst hockey I've seen from this team in a very long time. The panic button hasn't been hit but the time is now to nip this and move forward.”

Modano had an assist in Monday night’s loss to San Jose to give him 1,231 points, one shy of Housley’s mark. He has just two goals and three assists in 13 games.

Defenseman Philippe Boucher contends that Modano’s quest for the record hasn’t distracted the Stars from team goals.

“We all want him to get it, but it's not a distraction,'' Boucher said. “We just have to do everything better, from effort to competing to focus. We’re getting what we deserve right now.”

Goals by Niko Kapanen and Carcillo in a 1:38 span of the first period gave Phoenix a 2-0 lead and led Dallas coach Dave Tippett to pull goaltender Mike Ellis in favor of Marty Turco.

The Stars dominated play in the second period, outshooting Phoenix 18-5, but the Coyotes got the only goal on Shane Doan’s breakaway at 3:34. Martin Hanzal and Radim Vrbata added third-period goals as Phoenix shut out the Stars for the first time since Jan. 12, 2004.

“We have to make some saves, get better in our own end, and our coverage in front of the net has to get better,” Tippett said.

Flyers 3, Capitals 2 | Video
Alex Ovechkin still has Philadelphia’s number – but this time, it didn’t matter.

Ovechkin scored against the Flyers for the eighth straight game, but Philadelphia beat the Caps for the first time since February 2006 on goals by Daniel Briere, Mike Richards and R.J. Umberger.

“They're definitely a different hockey team,” Capitals goalie Olaf Kolzig said after facing 23 shots over the last two periods. “They just seem like they're playing with confidence. They're definitely a better hockey team, but so are we.”

The Caps swept the season series with the Flyers in 2006-07 for the first time ever, and started out like they’d keep the streak going. Washington took 14 of the first 17 shots and grabbed a 1-0 lead on Tomas Fleischmann’s goal at 7:29.

But the Flyers weathered the storm and pulled even 8:03 into the second period when Briere tapped Umberger’s pass behind Kolzig. Richards zipped a wrist shot over Kolzig’s shoulder at 15:52 to put Philadelphia ahead to stay, and Umberger scored 1:33 into the third period during a power play.

“We feel like we have a really good skating team. We have size. We have speed,” Flyers coach John Stevens said after his team improved to 8-4-0. “We try to push people off the puck. Our goal is to do that.”

The Caps cut the deficit to a goal with 4:08 left in regulation when Michael Nylander won a draw to Ovechkin, who teed up a slap shot and beat Antero Niittymaki from 35 feet.

Washington has lost eight of its last 10 games after a 3-0-0 start.

“Disappointing, but not discouraging,” coach Glen Hanlon said. “We'll fight on.”

Panthers 4, Sabres 2 | Video
For the second straight game, the Florida Panthers turned one big period into two points.Two nights after using a four-goal third period to beat Carolina, the Panthers used three second-period goals to win for the first time in their last four visits to Buffalo.

“We played solid in the second period, played smart, and didn’t make many mistakes,”

Florida's Tomas Vokoun tries to clear the puck as Buffalo's Michael Ryan skates into the crease.

said captain Olli Jokinen, who closed out the scoring blitz with his sixth goal in the last five games and eighth overall. “We got all four lines going and waited for them to make mistakes.”

Richard Zednik had the first two goals in the big period as Florida won for just the second time in seven road games despite not getting a power-play opportunity. Radek Dvorak scored in the first period for the Panthers.

“We won the game in Carolina and felt good, so we knew we could play a good game coming in here,” Zednik said. “It’s a huge win for us.”

Jochen Hecht and Thomas Vanek scored for slumping Buffalo, which has lost five of its last seven, including an overtime loss to Boston on Thursday.

“There’s more to give in this locker room, and we’ve got to find it,” defenseman Brian Campbell said. “This wasn’t enjoyable.”

Added forward Jason Pominville: “We know how good we can be. We just have to go out and execute.”

Predators 4, Oilers 1 | Video
After losing their first five road games, Nashville has now won twice in as many nights in Western Canada – thanks to the goaltending of Dan Ellis. Nashville’s backup netminder stopped 30 shots as the Predators continued their domination of Edmonton.

Ellis started the season behind Chris Mason, but he’s making a case for earning the No. 1 job after following up a shutout in Vancouver on Thursday with a second straight win.

“It always gives you confidence when a coach puts you in back-to-back, but every time

I’ve been in net the whole team has played unbelievable,” Ellis said. “We might not have gotten many shots last night or tonight, but we capitalized on our chances and played a great team game.”

Ellis had his shutout streak broken at 101:46 when Edmonton’s Ales Hemsky tied the game 1-1 at 11:51 of the second period. David Legwand had given the Predators the lead at 2:38 when he buried a pass from Ville Koistinen.

Ex-Oiler Jason Arnott put Nashville ahead with 7:51 remaining in regulation, scoring on a one-timer from the bottom of the left circle. Radek Bonk finished off a breakaway by beating goaltender Mathieu Garon with a backhander with 5:28 remaining, and Vernon Fiddler hit the empty net with 1:23 remaining as the Predators beat Edmonton for the fifth straight time.

“Guys paid the price, and got the job done for the second straight night even though we probably didn’t have as much energy as they did,” associate coach Brent Peterson said. “We did a great job getting in lanes and blocking shots in the defensive zone.”

The Oilers lost their second straight home game and have gone 3-9-0 since winning their first two games.

Edmonton defenseman Mathieu Roy went hard into the boards on what looked to be a clean check by Jordin Tootoo about three minutes into the game. Roy remained motionless for several moments, and a stretcher was brought out, but Roy eventually got to his feet and left the ice to a standing ovation with assistance from the team's training staff. He was diagnosed with a shoulder injury – bad news for a team that’s already down three regular defensemen: Sheldon Souray, Joni Pitkanen and Matt Greene.

“It’s tough, but we have to overcome this,” forward Raffi Torres said. “We have lost some key guys and some of us older guys in the room are going to have to step it up. We have to start doing it on the ice, not just talking about it.”

Kings 5, Sharks 2 | Video
San Jose has spent most of the season on the road. The Sharks’ Southern California rivals spoiled their return to San Jose after a 13-day road trip and moved into first place in the Pacific Division.

The Sharks didn’t lose for lack of trying – they fired 47 shots at Jean-Sebastian Aubin, who hadn’t played since Oct. 18. Aubin made 45 saves, 34 in the first two periods, and his forwards responded by scoring five times in the final 26 minutes to give the Kings just their third victory in their last 15 visits to the Shark Tank.

Los Angeles Kings center Michal Handzus is congratulated by teammates after scoring against the San Jose Sharks in the second period.

“We needed (Aubin) to be great early, and he was,” Los Angeles coach Marc Crawford said. “Everybody knows the Sharks are a really strong club, and that won't change. But great goaltending allows you to build confidence in yourselves.”

Mike Cammalleri had a goal and two assists and Dustin Brown scored twice for the Kings. Rookie Matt Moulson, playing in his first NHL game, beat Evgeni Nabokov at 14:36 to put the Kings ahead to stay.

Moulson, a college star at Cornell, was called up by the Kings on Thursday – his 24th birthday – when Kyle Calder went on injured reserve. Moulson had just stepped out of the shower after a minor-league practice in Manchester, N.H., where the Kings’ farm club plays, when he got orders to get on a plane to the Bay Area, where he spent a sleepless night before his debut. “I was just trying to think about calming my nerves down out there,” Moulson said. “It felt good to get on the ice and just try to concentrate on the game.”

Ladislav Nagy had LA’s other goal. Patrick Marleau scored in the first period for the Sharks and Joe Thornton beat Aubin with 1:13 left in the game. But Brown hit the empty net 17 seconds after Thornton’s goal to clinch the Kings’ fifth win in six games. San Jose has lost four of five.

“We can't give up, and you can't veer off the plan when they don't go in,” coach Ron Wilson said. “Why change? The opportunities are there. You just keep on persevering. Right now our perseverance level is low. We've got to find a way to persevere, that's all.”

The Sharks get a chance to avenge the loss Saturday night in Los Angeles.

Defenseman Sandis Ozolinsh got a rousing ovation when he was introduced in the starting lineup more than 12 years after his last appearance with the Sharks. Ozolinsh, who appeared washed up with the New York Rangers last season, was signed by the Sharks earlier Friday after a six-week tryout with the organization that drafted him in 1991.

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

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