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Drury's OT goal gives Rangers 3-2 win

by John Kreiser
Maybe the New York Rangers should petition for longer games. They're the NHL's best when the score is tied after 60 minutes.

The Rangers won for the League-high 11th time in games decided after regulation by beating the Chicago Blackhawks 3-2 in overtime at the United Center on Friday night. Chris Drury's power-play goal 2:23 into overtime ended a game marked by a plethora of power plays — six for the Rangers and 11, including five-two man advantages, for the Hawks.

"That was a pretty wild game," said Drury. "All of those penalties we had to kill, and the 5-on-3s, then they tied it up late on one, and then we hang in there and win in overtime. It’s a big win for our team."

Seven of the Rangers' last 12 wins have come in overtime or shootouts. New York improved to 11-4 in games lasting longer than 60 minutes and are now 17-8 in one-goal games — a big reason the Rangers are on top in the Atlantic Division. It was their first win at Chicago since Oct. 18, 2000.

Chicago trailed 2-1 on Brandon Dubinsky's goal at 7:58 of the third period when the Hawks finally cashed in on a 5-on-3 chance. While Michal Rozsival was sitting out a double minor for high-sticking at 13:05, Ryan Callahan was called for slashing 94 seconds later, setting up a long two-man advantage. The Hawks tied it at 15:31 when Brent Seabrook teed up a slap shot from the top of the slot and blew it past a screened Henrik Lundqvist.

It was the only power-play goal for the Hawks against the Rangers' second-ranked penalty-killing unit.

"They did a good job tonight, and on our end we didn't execute as well as we wanted to," Barker said.

But Andrew Ladd was called for slashing 2:12 into overtime, and Drury made the Hawks pay when he redirected Wade Redden's shot past Nikolai Khabibulin.

"I kind of saw Dru in front by himself, and it wasn't a real hard shot. But Dru has such good hands that he was able to tip it in," Redden said.

Chicago took the lead 15:28 into the game when Jonathan Toews got a stick on Kris Versteeg's shot and deflected it just past Lundqvist on the glove side.

The Rangers killed a two-minute 5-on-3 advantage late in the first period before capitalizing on one of their own in the second. Drury was wide-open at the left dot and blew a slap shot past Khabibulin at 6:24.

New York spent most of the rest of the period killing penalties. Chicago had 5:45 of continuous power-play time, including stretches of 67, 50 and 18 seconds with a 5-on-3 edge, but didn't even generate a lot of chances against Lundqvist.

"I think our guys did a fantastic job out there," Dubinsky said. "When you get back on your heels, you’re not really effective. Us being on our toes and really pressuring hard — even if it's 5-on-3, they're not expecting the pressure. If you pressure in those situations, it might get us an advantage."

The Rangers didn't let the plethora of power plays get them down.

"Things happen in a fast-paced game, and you have to deal with it," Drury said of the disparity. "Obviously we are thrilled with the two points."

Hawks coach Joel Quenneville lamented the failure to capitalize on all that power-play time, especially the 5-on-3s.

"We haven't really had any 5-on-3s all year," he said. "To have (that many) in one game is unusual. Whether we're uncomfortable or not, we have to do more with them. It's something you practice, but we haven't had any in games — and you could tell."

Devils 2, Blue Jackets 1 | Video

Brendan Shanahan put off his expected return to the Devils for at least another night. As it turned out, New Jersey didn't need him — thanks to John Madden and a bit of good fortune.

Madden stuffed the puck past Steve Mason with 8:41 left in regulation — and just as the net was dislodged — to break a 1-1 tie. The play was called a goal on the ice by referee Don Koharski and upheld after video review, triggering a cascade of boos from the crowd of 17,738 at Nationwide Arena.

"I was," Madden said when he was asked if he was sure his goal would count, "only because the right side of the net, my side of the net, stayed on the mooring until after the puck went into the net. I was absolutely sure they wouldn't overrule it. Once you make a ruling on the ice, it's hard to overturn it."

Blue Jackets coach Ken Hitchcock argued with Koharski and linesmen Andy McElman after the ruling.

"(Koharski) said the call was his and (Toronto) sent it back down to him -- they ruled it inconclusive," Hitchcock said. "He said, 'The call was mine and I called it a goal."'

Asked if he had seen the replay, Hitchcock said he had.

"Yes. The net was off and (Marc) Methot was pushed in by (New Jersey's Jamie) Langenbrunner," he said. "The net was off, but it's the referee's call and he called it a goal. It's a little bit disappointing. We haven't caught a break on one of these yet this year."

Columbus controlled the first two periods and led 1-0 after 40 minutes on Manny
Malhotra's goal, a shot from the left wing that went through Kevin Weekes' pads at 12:46 of the second period.

The Blue Jackets took only one penalty all night, but it came back to bite them. Six seconds after Derek Dorsett was called for tripping, R.J. Umberger whiffed on a clear and put the puck right onto Travis Zajac's stick. Zajac beat Steve Mason with a quick wrist shot at 10:06 to tie the game.

"In the third period, we pushed harder and had some success," Devils coach Brent Sutter said. "You work hard for your breaks. We worked hard in the third period and got a break."

The Devils, playing the fourth game of a six-game trip that continues Saturday night on Long Island, improved their record to 3-1.

"We found a way to win," Sutter said. "We didn't play all that great in the first two periods. We played much better in the third — we played with some assertiveness. We did a lot of good things in the third period. That's why we were able to come back."

Shanahan, who signed with the Devils this week, traveled with the team but did not dress. He could make his Devils return Saturday night against the Islanders.

Thrashers 4, Maple Leafs 3 (OT) | Video

Atlanta, next-to-last in the overall standings, refused to quit after spotting Toronto a 3-0 lead after one period and was rewarded when newcomer Rich Peverley set up Ilya Kovalchuk's tying goal late in the third period, then scored the game-winner with 1:09 left in overtime.

"It's tremendous to be able to contribute," said Peverley, playing his second game with the Thrashers after being obtained on waivers from Nashville on Jan. 10. "To get an overtime winner was great but it was also a great play by Kovalchuk."

Peverley helped start the comeback by setting up a goal by Kovalchuk 1:10 into the second period. After Bryan Little swatted home a loose puck at 15:38, Peverley made a brilliant play on the tying goal, drawing goaltender Vesa Toskala to the right before putting the puck back into the crease, where Kovalchuk had a wide-open net.

Peverley then won it by putting a rebound into a wide-open net after Toskala stopped Kovalchuk's rocket from the left circle, giving Atlanta only its third win in 11 games.

"The rebound kicked out and he shot it," Toskala said. "When you have a three-goal lead, you have to find a way to play the whole game."

The crowd of 15,619 at Philips Arena booed the Thrashers off the ice after the Leafs scored three times late in the first period to take a 3-0 lead to the locker room. Lee Stempniak banged in a power-play rebound at 12:53, Dominic Moore deflected Luke Schenn's shot into the net at 18:44 and Niklas Hagman beat Johan Hedberg with a 10-foot wrister 56 seconds later.

"It wasn't the start we wanted, but after the first period we woke up and I think we played our best two periods," Kovalchuk said.

The Leafs, who won at Carolina on Thursday but have lost five of six on the second half of back-to-back games, were badly outplayed the rest of the way. They were outshot 17-3 in the second period and 30-9 after the opening 20 minutes.

"The second period they took it to us," Toronto coach Ron Wilson said after his team lost for the fifth time in six games overall. "The third we were fine but a couple of missed assignments and the puck is in the net. What are you going to do?"

Flyers 3, Panthers 2 (SO) | Video

Simon Gagne gave the Flyers the bonus point with the only goal in the shootout after Philadelphia blew a 2-0 first-period lead.

"That was a pretty wild game. All of those penalties we had to kill, and the 5-on-3s, then they tied it up late on one, and then we hang in there and win in overtime. It’s a big win for our team." -- Rangers forward Chris Drury
Gagne, whose first-period goal gave Philadelphia its two-goal lead, beat Tomas Vokoun in the second round of the shootout by faking a shot and deking to his backhand. Antero Niittymaki ended the shootout by stopping Nathan Horton's wrist shot after Ville Peltonen and Michael Frolik also failed to score.

"I've been playing too deep in a lot of those shootouts last couple of games," said Niittymaki, who had been 1-2 in shootouts and allowed four goals on 10 shots. "I tried to be more aggressive and I think it worked.

"I haven't really felt good in a shootout this year, especially the last couple of games when I lost in a shootout. But we've been practicing a little bit and I kind of got my timing back."

Gagne came into the game 1-for-4 in shootout attempts this season.

"We practice those shootouts in practice and, I have to say, I'm not very good in practice," Gagne said. "And I tried to find a different move. I think the big key, it's having two options when you go against him. He came pretty high on me and he was not really back, he was pretty forward, and so I tried to fake it and he kind of went down on that."

Jeff Carter and Gagne scored in a 1:56 span of the first period to give the Flyers their early lead. But the Panthers capitalized on a pair of power plays late in the second to tie it. Bryan McCabe's snap shot from the top of the right circle sailed through a screen and past Niittymaki at 14:47.

A lucky bounce helped Jay Bouwmeester tie it at 17:36. Cory Stillman's passout went off the skate of Gagne in the slot; Bouwmeester grabbed the loose puck and fired a quick shot over Niittymaki's left shoulder.

The third period was scoreless, though Florida's David Booth hit the post on a rebound from close range with just over two minutes left.

Florida fell to 2-5 in shootouts, though Panthers coach Peter DeBoer wasn't totally displeased with the outcome.

"We got a point," he said. "Unfortunately, the shootouts are hurting us a little bit, we're dropping some points. But if we play like that, we're going to win a lot more than we re going to lose."

Oilers 3, Avalanche 2
| Video

Colorado's eight-game homestand got off to a bad start when a miscue by goaltender Andrew Raycroft led to Shawn Horcoff's tie-breaking goal 6:35 left in regulation.

Raycroft came out of his net and tried to throw a breakout pass, but defenseman Denis Grebeshkov intercepted and put the puck on net. After a scramble, Horcoff scored from the lower right circle to snap a 2-2 tie.

"I tried to get into position and shoot it quick," Horcoff said of his 11th goal of the season.

"It was unfortunate that a break like that decided the game," Avs defenseman John-Michael Liles said.

Mathieu Garon stopped 37 shots as the Oilers finished a three-game trip with a 2-1 record. They open a six-game homestand Sunday night against Phoenix, when new Hall of Famer Glenn Anderson's No. 9 will be retired.

"It was a good hard-working game. The guys wanted it very badly," Oilers coach Craig MacTavish said. "We ended up getting a good break to win it."

Garon said having a busy night was preferable to facing a handful of great chances.

"For myself, a game like tonight is easier than a game when you get 20 shots and they're all good scoring chances," he said.

The Oilers got first-period goals by defensemen Steve Staios and Tom Gilbert, sandwiched around a deflection by Tyler Arnason, to take a 2-1 lead. T.J. Hensick tied it 12:28 into the second period, beating Garon with a short-side wrist shot from the right wing.

Garon, who's lost the No. 1 goaltending job to Dwayne Roloson, preserved the tie by stopping former Oiler Ryan Smyth on a second-period breakaway.

"Their guy made the saves," Avs coach Tony Granato said.

The winning goal "was a frustrating one because he had a chance to clear," Granato added. "But he's been solid for us. He gave us a chance to stay in the game in the first period."

The Avs don’t leave the Pepsi Center until the second week of February, and Liles knows they have to put up some wins.

"In this conference, you can lose a game and drop three places (in the standings)," he said. "We've got a pretty good stretch at home that we need to take advantage of."

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

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