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Devils beat Canadiens on Parise's OT goal

by John Kreiser /
The New Jersey Devils are adapting to the loss of All-Star goaltender Martin Brodeur just fine.

Zach Parise's power-play goal 31 seconds into overtime gave the surging Devils a 2-1 victory at Montreal on Saturday night, capping a five-game trip in which they won four times — including back-to-back overtime victories.

In all, the Devils have won seven of their last eight games, all of which have been played without Brodeur, who's out after surgery to repair a torn bicep muscle. Brodeur didn't start against Montreal for the first time since Feb. 1, 1997, but the Canadiens had little success against Scott Clemmensen, who stopped 25 shots and allowed only Mark D'Agostini's goal at 15:35 of the opening period after failing to control Andrei Markov's point shot.

"I'm not trying to replace Marty, especially here in his home town," Clemmensen said of Brodeur, a Montreal-area native. "It's tough to play here because they're a good team and they feed off the energy of the crowd."

Brodeur or not, the Devils' tight-checking style of play doesn't seem to change much.

"The biggest thing I want to see out of the group is that, no matter what the score is, we want to play a certain way," coach Brent Sutter said. "We stayed with our game. We knew they'd have a quick start. We weathered that early and then we got to playing."

New Jersey tied it 4:05 into the second period when Jamie Langenbrunner tipped the puck past Markov to trigger a 2-on-1, then opted to shoot and ripped a shot that trickled through Carey Price's pads.

The Devils dominated the third period, outshooting Montreal 11-4 and earning a power play late in regulation when Alex Kovalev was called for tripping in the offensive zone. The Devils made them pay when Patrik Elias picked up the rebound of Paul Martin's shot and passed across the slot to a wide-open Parise, who buried it for his 15th goal of the season.

Elias scored the OT winner Thursday night in Philadelphia but opted to pass this time.

"The last game or the game before we had talked about that, rather than going in tight, to back out a little bit and find that lane," Parise said. "He found me with an unbelievable pass."

While the Devils cashed in on the power play, the Canadiens — tops in the NHL with the man advantage in each of the last two seasons — continue to struggle. They were 0-for-5 against New Jersey and fell to 5-for-60 in their last 14 games.

"Someone has to step up," coach Guy Carbonneau said.

One of those people has to be Kovalev, who led the NHL in power-play points last season. Carbonneau was unhappy with Kovalev's tripping penalty with 28 seconds left in regulation, a penalty assessed for taking down Devils defenseman Johnny Oduya in the New Jersey zone.

"Every penalty is tough," he said. "The only good ones are when you save a goal, in my book. Especially at that time of the game, when they had just called one against them. You know they'll try to even it up."

The Canadiens also lost two defensemen. Markov left midway through the third period after a deflected puck hit him in the mouth. That came not long after Mathieu Dandenault left after blocking a shot with his left foot.

Capitals 2, Maple Leafs 1 | Video

The injury-riddled Caps had just enough to beat the road-weary Leafs, who returned to the Air Canada Centre after a three-game Western swing and then lost two players to injuries.

Milan Jurcina's goal at 7:12 of the third period broke a 1-1 tie. Toronto had pulled even a minute earlier when Nik Antropov scored on the power play.

Toronto spent most of Friday flying home from Phoenix after playing three games in four nights out West. They weren't helped by losing defenseman Luke Schenn and forward Niklas Hagman to injuries before the game was half over.

"Luke logs a lot of minutes and so does Haggy," Leafs coach Ron Wilson said. "We had to go to Plan B and C.

"You're a little tired and you want to play almost four lines and certainly six defensemen. We couldn't do that."

Wilson said Schenn will miss at least two weeks with the lower-body injury he suffered after getting hit by Alex Ovechkin early in the second period. Hagman took a knee in the head and was feeling a bit groggy. He's day-to-day.

Caps coach Bruce Boudreau was impressed with the Leafs' effort.

"I thought they were a tired team," he said. "I was really surprised they came on as much in the third. I thought if we could have of got that two-goal lead, they might have folded.

"But they don't quit. They've got a lot of heart."

Wilson shouldn't expect much sympathy from the Caps, who've been playing without a slew of regulars, including forwards Alexander Semin and Sergei Fedorov and defensemen Mike Green, Tom Poti and John Erskine.

Rookie defenseman Karl Alzner gave the Caps a boost when he fired a shot past Vesa Toskala 1:41 into the second period for his first NHL goal. Alex Ovechkin, who usually torments the Leafs, screened Toskala on the goal but didn't get on the scoresheet despite taking seven shots on goal and hitting the post in the third period.

"It's scary," said Toskala, who robbed Ovechkin late in the second period. "He can make goalies look bad."

The win was the Caps' first away from the Verizon Center since Nov. 19

"It's a huge win," Ovechkin said. "I think today was kind of a boring game, not lots of chances for goals, but the most important thing is we took two points."

Flyers 2, Hurricanes 1, OT | Video

When you're hot, you're hot — and Jeff Carter is sizzling. Carter won a faceoff from Rod Brind'Amour, turned and whipped a shot past Michael Leighton at 3:34 of overtime to give the Flyers a win at Carolina.

''It was kind of a broken play,'' Carter said after getting his 19th goal, tying him with Buffalo's Thomas Vanek for the League lead. ''I was actually trying to go back to the point, but it bounced straight up. I got a little positioning and spun it at (the) five-hole.''

Leighton, making his second consecutive start in place of injured Cam Ward, turned aside 29 shots, but he couldn't get a handle on Carter's wide-angle shot in overtime.
"It needs to be stopped," Maurice said. ''It's a shot from an angle there that he knows I'm sure that he needs to have."

The Flyers improved to 7-3-3 on the road and handed the Hurricanes their fifth consecutive home loss and second in a row since coach Peter Laviolette was fired and replaced by Paul Maurice.

"We just keep battling," Carter said. "It's definitely not a position we want to be in -- one-goal games, overtimes and shootouts. We never give up. We had our chances to really end it (before overtime). We just keep going."

Mike Richards' shorthanded goal 3:59 into the first period marked the 12th consecutive game in which Carolina has scored first. The Hurricanes, 29th on the power play entering the game, finally got a goal with the man advantage when Sergei Samsonov fired home a rebound 55 seconds into the third period — ending an 0-for-25 drought.

"If we could have scored another one it could have been the difference," forward Ray Whitney said. "We had plenty of opportunities, but confidence is probably still an issue a little bit with it. Getting one two games in a row might help that."

Thrashers 5, Islanders 1
| Video

Atlanta won a battle between two struggling teams by getting goals from five players to blow away the Islanders at the Nassau Coliseum to end a five-game winless streak.

"We can't get any more desperate than this," Atlanta coach John Anderson said. "Our hope lies in our despair."

Bill Guerin put the Isles ahead with a power-play goal 51 seconds into the game. But after Atlanta killed off two more power plays, Bryan Little got the tying goal at 17:44 and little went right the rest of the way for the Islanders, who lost for the fourth time in five games.

Ilya Kovalchuk put the Thrashers ahead to stay at 10:04 of the second period with a quick wrist shot past Joey MacDonald after a nice give-and-go with Marty Reasoner. Eric Boulton picked up a blocked shot and hit a wide-open net at 15:23 to make it 3-1.
"We can't get any more desperate than this.  Our hope lies in our despair." -- Atlanta head coach John Anderson

"In the second period, they had three scoring chances and they scored on two of them," Isles coach Scott Gordon said. "So from my standpoint, we outshot them, 22-12 after two periods, I don't think anything changed except we didn't score on our opportunities."

Eric Perrin and Chris Thorburn added third-period goals, giving Atlanta four goals on four shots. Atlanta ended up with five goals on just 17 shots to win for just the second time in 10 games and the first since winning at Toronto on Nov. 25.

''We've been struggling,'' goalie Johan Hedberg said. ''Tonight, it's two points. We had more determination.''

Hedberg recovered from the early goal and finished with 28 saves. The Isles also hit the post on consecutive third-period shots before Thorburn's goal on the return rush.

"We didn't get many shots tonight," Perrin said. "But we did get a lot of quality chances, and we capitalized."

Bruins 4, Panthers 0 | Video

Two of the NHL's hottest goalies squared off at the BankAtlantic Center, but the Bruins also brought one of the NHL's hottest scorers. Phil Kessel scored a goal for the fifth consecutive game as the Bruins completed a two-game sweep through Florida by blanking the Panthers.

Manny Fernandez stopped 27 shots for his seventh consecutive victory and first shutout of the season as the Bruins solved Craig Anderson, who had allowed just four goals while winning three-straight starts.

"For myself, I couldn't care less," he said of the shutout. "I really wanted to get the win. Everybody's pitching in, everybody's giving their 100 percent, everybody's battling, everybody's playing their game every night."

Kessel has six goals during his five-game streak and has at least one point in his last 11 games.

"Things are working, things are going to the net," Kessel said. "When you win hockey games, it's always fun. So anytime you win, it's a good time."

Michael Ryder, Shane Hnidy and Blake Wheeler scored goals for Boston and David Krejci added three assists as the Bruins won their fourth in a row. They are 16-2-1 in their last 19 games.

Anderson gave up the first three goals on 27 shots before leaving with an injury 7:31 into the third period after the back of his head was driven into the crossbar following a collision with Boston's Patrice Bergeron. He was replaced by Tomas Vokoun, who allowed Wheeler's goal with 6:24 to play.

Ryder beat Anderson between the pads from the slot 9:02 into the game. Kessel made it 2-0 at 2:44 of the second with a power-play blast from the point that went through traffic and into the net. Hnidy's shot hit defenseman Nick Boynton's skate and deflected into the net at 2:21 of the third.

With three of Florida's top four scorers out with injuries, the Bruins were just too much for the Panthers.

"We were overmatched. We would have needed everything to go right and we didn't get it," coach Peter DeBoer said. "They took advantage of our roster and dismantled us fairly easily. We could have been out there for three days and still not scored."

Sabres 4, Lightning 3 | Video

Buffalo got a couple of bounces — enough to win on the road in a meeting between two teams that have struggled in recent weeks.

Derek Roy scored from the right circle with 9:57 left in regulation to break a 3-3 tie. Drew Stafford, Thomas Vanek and Jochen Hecht also scored as the Sabres won for just the third time in 11 games.

"We got a couple of redirections that haven't been going in," Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff said. "You need a little bit of puck luck along the way, and I thought we got some."

They were also playing in a building where they've enjoyed success. Buffalo won for the seventh time in a row at the St. Pete Times Forum. Goalie Ryan Miller, who made 20 saves, is now 12-1 against the Lightning.

"I try not to put too much into past records," Miller said. "Every season, teams seem to change and they definitely have a lot of different guys in the lineup. It was an important game for us. That was the only focus."
"Groundhog Day.  You feel sometimes you deserve better, but you know what, maybe we don't. The way it's going, it's draining. Draining physically. Draining mentally." -- Tampa Bay forward Martin St. Louis

Tampa Bay continues to struggle in close games. They've played 17 one-goal games — and lost 13 of them.

"Groundhog Day," said Tampa Bay forward Martin St. Louis. "You feel sometimes you deserve better, but you know what, maybe we don't. The way it's going, it's draining. Draining physically. Draining mentally."

Buffalo led three times before finally going ahead to stay. Martin St. Louis matched Drew Stafford's first-period goal; Thomas Vanek got his 19th of the season at 9:46, only to see Paul Ranger score 35 seconds later; and Hecht made it 3-2 at 14:41, a lead that lasted just 39 seconds before Vaclav Prospal tied it.

"I think in your life you always have down periods," Tampa Bay coach Rick Tocchet said after his team lost its seventh in a row. "I judge people the way they react after down periods, and that's what we're looking for now. We're looking for people to stand up here and get back on the frontlines. Nobody is going to help us but ourselves."

Predators 1, Wild 0 | Video

What a difference a week made for the Predators, who were routed by the Wild last Saturday but got even thanks to a 32-save performance by rookie Pekka Rinne and J.P. Dumont's third-period goal.

Rinne, who got the start after Dan Ellis injured his knee at the morning skate, improved to 6-0-0 this season with his second shutout in six days.

"I am really happy for Pekka," coach Barry Trotz said. "He was told at morning skate Dan Ellis was going to start. But Dan took a puck in the knee and it’s had a charley-horse type of effect. That’s something a goaltender can’t play with. It was a good start for Pekka and now we have both goaltenders doing really well."

Dumont scored the game's only goal at 10:48 of the third period when he took Jason Arnott's pass in the slot and ripped it off Josh Harding's glove and into the net.

It was the only shot to get past Harding, who finished with 42 saves, including 18 in the first period. He earned his first win of the season by beating the Preds last week.

"In the first period, I thought we struggled," Minnesota defenseman Kim Johnsson said. "I felt that we couldn't get the puck out of our end quick enough. We talked about that after the first period. I thought we played a lot better in the second."

Minnesota scored five power-play goals on 11 chances in a 6-2 home win over Nashville seven days ago. This time, the Predators stayed disciplined — allowing Minnesota only four power-play chances and killing off all of them.

"First off, we’ve been a lot more disciplined," Trotz said. "Obviously the last time we played Minnesota we gave them a lot of opportunities there. They actually only had 12 chances last game, but eight of them were on the power play.

"It really comes down to discipline. That allows us to play our whole lineup. We are able to use our assets better when we aren’t sitting in the penalty box. I think we’re a harder team to play and the chances against us are down. We have really cut down the useless penalties we were taking."

It was the second game in two nights for the Wild, but they refused to use that as an excuse.
"We're not getting a lot of chances," coach Jacques Lemaire said. "We're not getting a lot of pucks at the net. When we do, we're looking for rebounds, but we're not getting to the puck and getting that second shot."

Blues 4, Coyotes 3 | Video

St. Louis ended its own slump by cooling off the Coyotes, who came to Scottrade Center having won four of its last five games. Patrick Berglund scored his eighth goal of the season and added an assist on B.J. Crombeen's winner for the Blues, who snapped a two-game losing streak and won for just the second time in six games.

"It's fun to be around the net and score some goals," Berglund said. "The important thing is we got two points, and hopefully we can go forward."

David Backes and Keith Tkachuk also scored St. Louis, and Brad Boyes chipped in with three assists.

Ed Jovanovski put the Coyotes ahead with his second of the season at 9:03 of the opening period, one-timing Shane Doan's pass behind Manny Legace, but Backes tied it at 16:05.
"We don't do things easy.  It's going to be a battle every night and it was again." -- Blues coach Andy Murray

Doan gave the Coyotes a 2-1 lead 4:15 into the second period before the Blues took command with three consecutive goals. Berglund scored a power-play goal at 5:14, Tkachuk banged in a rebound at 11:37 and Crombeen scored what proved to be the winner at 13:47.

"For about 10 minutes at the end of the second they outplayed us badly," Doan said. "We can't as a young team afford to have that happen."

Kyle Turris scored a power-play goal for Phoenix at 16:04, but Legace stopped all 11 shots he faced in the third period.

"We don't do things easy," Blues coach Andy Murray said. "It's going to be a battle every night and it was again."

Oilers 3, Sharks 2, OT
| Video

Dwayne Roloson still has San Jose's number. He led Edmonton to a playoff upset of the Sharks in 2006, snapped the Sharks' 11-game winning streak last March by making 48 saves in a 2-1 shootout win, then survived a 43-shot barrage on Saturday before Kyle Brodziak's power-play goal at 2:40 of overtime handed the Sharks their first loss in 10 games.

San Jose hadn't dropped a game since a 4-3 overtime loss to Nashville on Nov. 11. But Roloson held off the Sharks in regulation and the Oilers won it when Brodziak's shot hit the skate of defenseman Christian Ehrhoff and trickled into the net.

"It was just a bad bounce. It happens sometime," Ehrhoff said. "We ran into a hot goalie again. I thought we played pretty well. You have those nights when you give your best effort, but you run into a hot goalie and get a bad bounce.

"I think everyone goes home disappointed that we didn't get the two points, but you've got to give the Oilers credit. They took advantage of some situations and came away with two points."

San Jose's NHL-best record dropped to 22-3-2 despite a 43-17 shot advantage in yet another tough loss to the Oilers, who have won 10 of their last 14 meetings with the Sharks.

Roloson said he prefers seeing lots of shots to nights when most of the action is at the other end of the ice, but added that he got help from his teammates.

"For me personally, it keeps me on my toes and keeps me in the game," he said. "I'm sure if you ask any goalie, if you get lots of shots, it's a lot easier to play than not getting any.

"They got a lot of shots, but I thought we played a smart game. Our guys did a great job in front of the net."

Roloson said he doesn't do anything different at the Shark Tank, where San Jose is 14-0-2 at home this season and 22-0-3 dating back to last season.

"No, not at all," he said. "I just go out and try to play the same way the same way all the time. I focus on the things I have to do to win."

Nabokov made 14 saves while losing for the first time in 11 starts since Oct. 24.

"We controlled the play," Nabokov said. "We were in total control the whole game. Those games are going to happen. The effort was there."

The Sharks pounded away at Roloson from the opening faceoff, outshooting Edmonton 16-1 in the first period. But Ales Hemsky scored on the Oilers' only shot, beating Nabokov from the slot at 8:50 on a blast that went in off the crossbar. The Sharks tied it on Dan Boyle's fluke power-play goal with 5.5 seconds left.

Jeremy Roenick then put the Sharks ahead 8:01 into the second period, but Dustin Penner's power-play goal at 17:49 sent the Oilers into the locker room after 40 minutes tied 2-2 despite being outshot 31-10.

The Sharks kept bombing away in the third period, knocking Roloson's mask off at one point and his stick at another. But they couldn't put the puck in the net.

Unlike Thursday, when the Sharks were outplayed but beat Columbus 3-2, the Sharks had to settle for one point despite a huge advantage in shots.

"I didn't feel we deserved the win against Columbus, they outplayed us," coach Todd McLellan said. "Tonight maybe we didn't get the fate we deserved."

Kings 3, Blue Jackets 0 | Video

The Kings finally found a way to close out a game after failing to win three straight in which they led after two periods. Jason LaBarbera made 23 saves for his fourth career shutout and Anze Kopitar had a goal and an assist.

Los Angeles lost in regulation to Toronto on Monday and Phoenix on Tuesday despite leading by a goal after two periods. The Kings couldn't hold onto a 4-3 lead against Edmonton on Friday and lost 5-4 in a shootout. This time, they grabbed a 2-0 lead on second-period goals by Wayne Simmonds and Kyle Calder, then tightened up.

"We kept making plays, passing the puck and moving our feet, right to the end," said coach Terry Murray, who held extensive meetings with his players after Friday's loss.

Simmonds opened the scoring at 2:39 of the second, beating Steve Mason to the glove side with a wrist shot from the top of the right circle. Calder made it 2-0 at 12:29 of the period, redirecting Kyle Quincey's slap shot from the left point after Kopitar won a faceoff from R.J. Umberger.

"Tonight we found the way to win. Any time you get a shutout, it's a reflection of the whole team. We did a good job hanging onto pucks tonight, not turning them over." -- Jason LaBarbera
Mason stopped Patrick O'Sullivan's penalty shot at 6:43 of the second period and finished with 15 saves. Kopitar hit the empty net with 13 seconds left.

"We've been finding ways to lose instead of finding ways to win," LaBarbera said. "Tonight we found the way to win. Any time you get a shutout, it's a reflection of the whole team. We did a good job hanging onto pucks tonight, not turning them over."

Columbus coach Ken Hitchcock, whose team plays Sunday at Anaheim, wasn't at all happy with his team's performance.

"We were a step slow," he said. "For whatever reason, we were a step slow everywhere." Asked if there might be some different faces in the lineup against the Ducks, he said. "We'll make a couple of changes."

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

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