It’s been seven years, but the New Jersey Devils
– at least for now – are atop the Eastern Conference again.
made 37 saves, and John Madden
scored the game-winner with 50 seconds left in overtime ( 700K
) as the Devils moved ahead of the Ottawa Senators
by a point in the conference standings with a 2-1 victory over the Washington Capitals
at the Verizon Center on Sunday. It was New Jersey’s fifth straight win.
“We’re definitely proud of what we’ve accomplished,” Madden said. “But at the same time we’ve got to move forward.”
After two scoreless periods, Jamie Langenbrunner
broke through with his 11th goal of the season 39 seconds into the third ( 700K
). With New Jersey on a two-man advantage, Langenbrunner took a pass from Paul Martin
and ripped a slap shot past Caps goalie Brent Johnson
as the Devils took a 1-0 lead.
It was one of 18 shots fired by New Jersey in the third period after it mustered only 10 combined through the first 40 minutes.
"In the first two periods we did a lot of puck-watching," Devils coach Brent Sutter
said. "Then in the third period we started moving, and obviously our goaltender gave us an opportunity to get back in the game."
Brodeur’s lone blemish came less than two minutes after New Jersey broke the scoreless tie. Washington’s Alexander Semin
tied the game via the backhand at 2:46 of the third ( 700K
) with his fifth goal in as many games.
Brodeur – who had 28 saves through the first two periods – improved to 14-6-2 in 22 consecutive starts.
"When he needed to make a big save, he did," Capitals defenseman Mike Green said. "We threw a lot at him tonight, but he played awesome."
Just like any other team on a winning streak, the Devils benefited from a lucky bounce in overtime. On the game-winning goal, Patrik Elias launched a drive that went off Madden’s glove and the goal post, which allowed No. 11 to stuff the rebound under Johnson’s pad for his 18th tally of the season.
"We definitely stole one," Langenbrunner said. "The way Marty played was unbelievable. It's one of those games where we are lucky to get two points, but we'll take it."
Sharks 2, Penguins 1, SO | Video
Through regulation and overtime, Pittsburgh goaltender Ty Conklin enjoyed yet another solid performance with 36 saves.
The shootout, however, was another story.
The Sharks trio of Joe Pavelski, Jonathan Cheechoo and Jeremy Roenick all found the back of the net in the breakaway round against Conklin, while Evgeni Nabokov (20 saves) was able to deny Kris Letang in Round 2 as San Jose escaped Pittsburgh with two points.
"By themselves they're not necessarily bad goals, but you need to get a save out of one of them," Conklin said.
Pittsburgh center Evgeni Malkin entered Sunday’s action as the NHL’s leading scorer with 82 points. But the 21-year-old was held scoreless for the second straight game, and Washington’s Alex Ovechkin notched a point in an overtime loss to New Jersey to pull even with Malkin.
The Penguins are now 9-4-4 without Sidney Crosby, who hasn’t played since Jan. 18 due to a high ankle sprain.
"Just get in his face and wear him down," Sharks coach Ron Wilson said of Malkin. "They seemed to go against our top line a lot, Evgeni Malkin against Joe Thornton. That didn't scare me at all because we always have a good puck-possession game down low, so that partly negates Malkin. He can do a lot of damage."
Cheechoo also scored in regulation, as he broke a scoreless tie 3:10 into the third period to extend his goal-scoring streak to three straight games. The speedy winger got around Pittsburgh’s Ryan Whitney and put a shot near the goal post past Conklin as San Jose took a 1-0 lead.
It was a sense of relief for the Sharks, who outshot the Penguins 21-14 through two periods, only to be held off the scoreboard.
“We came out and got a lot of shots. We were able to dictate play," Cheechoo said.
But the Penguins tied things up when Erik Christensen scored on the power play with 9:58 to go. Christensen – who missed the past five games with a sore shoulder – took a pass from Sergei Gonchar and stuffed one past Nabokov to make it 1-1.
"Shift after shift, we couldn't generate a whole lot," Christensen said. "On the power play, I was determined to shoot the puck from whatever angle I could get it on net."
The game was delayed for 25 minutes due to a Zamboni malfunction at center ice, which left red hydraulic fluid on the playing surface.
Rangers 5, Panthers 0 | Video
Marek Malik ended a 32-game scoring drought, Jaromir Jagr scored for the second time in as many games and Henrik Lundqvist recorded his eighth shutout of the season as New York dominated Florida from start to finish at Madison Square Garden.
It was a feel-good moment for Malik, who has been booed by his home crowd as of late due to his lack of production.
''It's much better to play when the team's playing better,” said Malik, who missed 15 games as a healthy scratch and another 17 due to a back injury. “Sometimes all of us struggle.''
Lundqvist made 23 saves for the shutout, helping the Rangers move into sixth place in the Eastern Conference. Scott Gomez also played a major role with a goal and two assists.
And unlike last Tuesday at Montreal, New York held on to its 5-0 lead this time around.
''We let that go a long time ago,'' Gomez said of the Montreal loss, ''but when we had five, we were definitely going for six to make sure.''
Florida struggled mightily 24 hours after its impressive come-from-behind win at Philadelphia. The Panthers erased a 1-0 deficit against the Flyers in the final seconds of regulation before winning in overtime.
''We got lucky (Saturday),'' Panthers goalie Tomas Vokoun said. ''We don't play well, that's why we're losing. It's not by accident or about bad luck.''
Oilers 3, Avalanche 2 | Video
Not even Joe Sakic’s return to the lineup could save Colorado from surrendering a 2-0 lead in a disappointing loss at Edmonton. The Oilers snapped a three-game slide by scoring three unanswered goals, as Andrew Cogliano broke a 2-2 tie 7:29 into the third period.
''You can't give up games like this,'' said Sakic, who had an assist in his return after missing 38 games due to hernia surgery. ''The good thing for us is that from here on out most of our games are divisional games and teams we have to catch and we have to beat those teams. Games like this, though, you can't afford to lose these.''
Sam Gagner and Curtis Glencross scored in the second period for Edmonton to erase the two-goal deficit, which was created thanks to first-period tallies by Tyler Arnason and Ben Guite.
“That second period, we weren’t good at all,” Avs coach Joel Quenneville said. “We didn’t generate anything, we didn’t have the puck at all. We turned it over in some tough areas. That was the game. It was a huge loss for us. It was a game we had to win, especially being up 2-0.”
The Oilers are still holding out hope that they can reach the Stanley Cup Playoffs. They are 11 points behind No. 8 Nashville in the Western Conference.
''We could have faded away and let the game drift away but we came up with two big goals in the second,'' Cogliano said. ''We just battled back. We felt that we weren't getting outplayed too much in the first period. We just weren't burying our chances and they had some bounces.''
Edmonton did suffer some bad luck, though, as captain Ethan Moreau injured his leg as time expired.
''He's not good,'' Edmonton coach Craig MacTavish said. ''He's in a lot of pain right now. It looks really bad right now.''
Ducks 6, Blackhawks 3 | Video
Retirement? Looks like Teemu Selanne has plenty left in the tank.
Selanne scored three times on Sunday night and added two assists, as Anaheim improved to 9-1-0 since No. 8 returned to the lineup. The hat trick was the 20th of Selanne’s career, as he passed Rocket Richard for 25th on the all-time goals list. Eleven of those hat tricks have come with Anaheim.
Selanne was the first recipient of the award named in honor of the former Montreal Canadiens’ star.
''I know what Rocket Richard had done for this game and for the League, so I was very happy they named that award for him and that I won it the first time they had it,'' said Selanne, who met Richard for the first time during the trophy presentation in Toronto.
Chicago was in a 3-0 hole before it knew what hit it. Selanne (7:45) and Ryan Getzlaf (8:38) scored before the midway point of the opening period, before Selanne tallied his second goal of the game at 17:13. Patrick Sharp tried to stop the bleeding when he made it 3-1 with 1:49 left in the first.
Brent Seabrook actually got the Blackhawks within a goal at 4-3 at 15:20 of the third period, but Selanne quickly completed the hat trick when he beat a highly-frustrated Patrick Lalime just eight seconds later.
"I look more at our effort now," said Chicago coach Denis Savard, whose team had won five of its last six games. "These guys were the champions last year, and we gave them the game. I thought we could have gotten the two points, but we have to move on."
Anaheim suffered a scare when captain Chris Pronger took a stick to the face from Sharp during the second period. He suffered a jaw contusion and did not return. His status for Friday’s game against the Calgary Flames is unknown.
Coyotes 2, Blues 0 | Video
Take that, St. Louis.
That was the message Phoenix goalie Ilya Bryzgalov had for the Blues, as he made 35 saves for his second shutout of the season on Sunday night at Jobing.com Arena. Bryzgalov entered the contest with an 0-2-0 record and a 6.91 GAA against Andy Murray’s club.
''You have to be ready, not as soon as you stop the first puck, but you have to be ready as soon as the puck is dropped,'' Bryzgalov said. ''It's nice when you get the lead in a game like that. Games like this were there is very little goal scoring, every goal may be the last goal.''
Zbynek Michalek and Joel Perrault beat Manny Legace, who finished with 18 saves in what was the Blues’ third straight loss and the eighth in their last nine games against Wayne Gretzky’s Coyotes.
St. Louis finished a three-game road trip with a record of 0-2-1. The Blues found the back of the net only twice in the those contests.
''We're lucky to get one point doing that,'' Legace said. ''It's as simple as that. You're not going to win hockey games if you're not scoring goals.''
The win pulled Phoenix within three points of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference, currently owned by the Nashville Predators.
''We're right there, right in the race,'' Perrault said. ''We know what we have to do and how many games we have to win to get in the playoffs.''
Bryzgalov had to be solid early to keep his team in the game. The Blues fired 18 shots on goal in the first period alone.
''It was one of the best games I've seen him play, and he's played some good ones here,'' Gretzky said.
Material from wire services, team websites and broadcast media was used in this report.