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Ducks sweep four-game trip

by Brian Hunter
After a poor start, the Anaheim Ducks are working their way up the Western Conference standings and it's not tough to see why -- their best players are starting to play their best.

Corey Perry scored midway through the third period to tie the game and Teemu Selanne netted the winner on a power play with 3:55 remaining as the Ducks came back in the third period Monday for their fourth straight victory, 3-2 over the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena.

Perry and Ryan Getzlaf each had a goal and an assist as Anaheim's top forwards have shown signs over the last several games of breaking out of their early-season slump. The Ducks stumbled out of the gate, losing four in a row and five of their first six, but they were flawless on a four-game road trip that concluded in Columbus and are now tied for fourth in the West with 10 points.

"I'm very happy about the road trip," Selanne said. "Obviously when you win four in a row you know you've done something good. This wasn't pretty tonight. We were grinding pretty much the whole game. But I always think the last game of a road trip is always the toughest one because the food is in the plane and you're about ready to go home."

Jiri Novotny and Derick Brassard gave the Blue Jackets a 2-1 lead through two periods, but Perry drew the Ducks even 9:19 into the third by redirecting a point shot by Steve Montador past goalie Fredrik Norrena.

Then, with Jason Chimera in the penalty box for holding, Selanne found himself in the right spot when the rebound of a Francois Beauchemin shot found him to the left of the net and he slipped the puck inside the near post for the go-ahead goal.

"It was just a good bounce," Selanne said. "I tried to first pass to Beauchemin and I got (a) lucky rebound, and it was good to see that go in."

Jean-Sebastien Giguere made 30 saves for the Ducks and had faith the team would turn things around.

"We've got too much talent and character in this dressing room," Giguere said. "Guys fought hard to get their game back together."

Norrena, expected to be the Jackets' man in net for at least the next few games with Pascal Leclaire nursing an injured ankle, finished with 21 saves.

"It's very frustrating, especially with 2-1 up after two," he said. "We need to win this one."

Getzlaf needed all of 1:17 to deflect in a Chris Kunitz shot and give the Ducks an early 1-0 lead. But the Jackets tied it on a shorthanded goal set up by a great effort from Andrew Murray. Giguere stopped Murray's breakaway attempt and Beauchemin controlled the puck behind the net, but Murray stripped it from him and fed Novotny, who was cruising into the slot. Chimera set up Brassard's goal 37 seconds into the middle period.

"For us to win we had to play 60 minutes, full out, of great hockey and we played 50 minutes," Columbus coach Ken Hitchcock said. "It's not good enough -- you've got to win games 2-1."

Rangers 4, Islanders 2 | VIDEO

Off to a fantastic start even without captain Chris Drury scoring a goal, the Rangers got one of their key offensive players untracked Monday night and defeated their New York rivals to equal the best 12-game start in franchise history.

Drury opened the scoring just 56 seconds in and added a power-play goal in the third as the Rangers improved to 9-2-1 and gave Tom Renney his 142nd win as a Rangers coach, moving him past Roger Neilson into fourth on their all-time list. Also, the 19 points tied the 1978-79 and 1989-90 teams for best output over the first dozen games of the season.

While the Rangers sit atop the League standings, the Islanders are all the way down at the bottom -- but when these two teams meet, everyone takes it seriously.

"These are important games because they are within our division, and they are important games because we have a good point total right now and want to add to that," Renney said. "It doesn't matter what people quantify (the Islanders) game as, they are an NHL team and they can beat anyone on any given night."

Ryan Callahan and Scott Gomez each scored his third of the season and Henrik Lundqvist was stellar again in making 28 saves, but perhaps the happiest player on the team was Drury. An eight-time 20-goal scorer, he was able to breathe a sigh of relief by netting a pair against Islanders goalie Joey MacDonald.

"I think just importantly that I get back to playing good hockey and playing smart hockey," Drury said when asked if the goalless drought was wearing on him. "I always think if I do that and get mentally and physically ready to play, the rest will take care of itself."

Kyle Okposo and Mark Streit scored for the Islanders, who were back to MacDonald in goal with Rick DiPietro nursing what the team would describe only as a "lower-body injury." MacDonald started the first four games of the season as DiPietro slowly recovered from offseason surgery. DiPietro started the next three, but pulled after one period of Saturday's 5-4 loss to Carolina after allowing two goals on 12 shots.

Okposo tied the score at 1-1 with eight seconds left in the first period after Richard Park outworked the Rangers for the puck following a faceoff win and fed him with a pass in the slot. But the Blueshirts would score the next three to take control of the game.
Callahan made it 2-1 with 3:44 left in the second, beating Trent Hunter to a loose puck, spinning and putting a shot past MacDonald. Michal Rozsival had primary assists in setting up Gomez and Drury for goals in the third. Streit's shorthanded tally with 1:56 remaining provided the final offense of the evening.

"I don't know exactly what it is, but I do know that we are a very confident team going into the third period," Lundqvist said. "It's like we go out for the first two and just control things, and then in the third we just take it to another level."

MacDonald turned aside 35 of the 39 shots he faced and refused to be discouraged by the outcome.

"They're getting a lot of shots through and a couple of them didn't even get to me," MacDonald said. "(Those shots) went right on their tape and right to the back of the net. It's just bounces. They're not going our way right now, but eventually they will turn."   

Senators 5, Sabres 2 | Video

Badly in need of a victory, Ottawa got it at the expense of a Buffalo squad that entered Monday without a regulation loss this season.

Jason Spezza made sure that changed with a two-goal, three-point effort, and Alex Auld came within six minutes of a shutout while stopping 25 shots. The Senators, last in the Northeast Division, improved to 3-5-1 while dropping the first-place Sabres to 6-1-2 before a disappointed crowd at HSBC Arena.

''We just get up for this team,'' Spezza said as Ottawa won for the eighth time in its last 13 trips to Buffalo. ''We know we have to be ready, so that's why we've had some success here.''

Dany Heatley had a goal and an assist and captain Daniel Alfredsson set up a pair of goals for Ottawa. Christoph Schubert got the scoring started on a power-play with 1:54 left in the first period, Spezza and Heatley combined to make it 4-0 by the end of 40 minutes and Shean Donovan made it a five-goal bulge with a goal early in the third.

"That was a good test for us,'' said Auld, who has started three straight in goal with Martin Gerber injured. ''We feel we definitely played one of our top games of the year. When we play that way, it shows we can do a lot of very good things.''

Clarke MacArthur capitalized on a 5-on-3 advantage with 5:23 left to get Buffalo on the scoreboard and Teppo Numinen scored in the game's final minute to close the gap. The Sabres, the top defensive team in the league after allowing just 1.6 goals per game coming in, were without defensemen Craig Rivet (knee) and Henrik Tallinder (lower leg laceration).

''We're going to dump this one in the trash can and move on,'' Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said.

Schubert got his first of the season by intercepting an attempted clearing pass by the Sabres and driving one over the shoulder of Patrick Lalime, who made 23 saves. Heatley put a wrister past Lalime 19 seconds into the middle period for another power-play goal.

Spezza then got to work, first scoring on a breakaway 4:29 after Heatley's goal, then banging home a bouncing puck in the crease with 1:42 left in the second. Donovan redirected Jesse Winchester's pass 5:50 into the third for a 5-0 Ottawa lead.

''We made a couple of mistakes, and I didn't make the big save,'' Lalime said. ''They have the big scorers, and if you make a couple of mistakes they make you pay.''

Bruins 1, Oilers 0 (OT) | Video

Dennis Wideman scored a power-play goal 3:18 into overtime and Tim Thomas made 27 saves for the shutout, giving Boston its first two-game winning streak of the season.
"I had the lane to shoot. I missed the net three times to the blocker side so I thought I better try the other side of the net. There was a good screen in front and I just tried to get it through and it happened to go in for me." -- Bruins defenseman Dennis Wideman on his goal in overtime
Edmonton's Shawn Horcoff was sent off for hooking at 2:35 of the extra period. Wideman, who missed the top left corner on his first attempt, ended up getting the puck back from center Marc Savard and moved into the middle of the ice, just inside the right circle, before putting a shot over the left shoulder of Dwayne Roloson.

"I had the lane to shoot," Wideman said. "I missed the net three times to the blocker side so I thought I better try the other side of the net. … There was a good screen in front and I just tried to get it through and it happened to go in for me."

While the Bruins appear to be picking their play up, the Oilers now head out on a grueling seven-game road trip as losers of four straight. They had started the season strong by winning their first four.

"It's always hard to take a loss," said Roloson, who made 35 saves in his second start. "It doesn't matter if that goal comes in overtime or on the first shift or the last shift of the game. It's always hard to lose a game. The parameters don't change. It's still frustrating."

Boston coach Claude Julien applauded his team's effort and said the Bruins' ability to roll four lines consistently throughout the game kept everyone fresh heading into the third period and overtime.

"One of the big keys tonight, especially on the road, is that we had all four lines going well, so we were able to use them for most of the game," Julien said. "Edmonton cut down to three in the third period right off the bat. Our fourth line gave us a real big boost here, kept us fresh and helped us to continue to keep the momentum."

Red Wings 4, Kings 3 (SO) | VIDEO

Shootout goals by Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg gave Detroit its second consecutive victory in the penalty-shot tiebreaker and Ken Holland his 500th win as the Red Wings' general manager.

Valtteri Filppula's goal with 1:54 left in regulation forced overtime, which ended scoreless. In the shootout, Datsyuk and Zetterberg both beat Kings goaltender Jason LaBarbera on backhand shots to his glove side after freezing him with a forehand move. Chris Osgood stopped Dustin Brown and Oscar Moller at the other end after making just 16 saves through 65 minutes.

"I tried to deke him and go backhand, and it worked," said Zetterberg, who also opened the scoring at 5:54 of the first. "I was pretty confident it was going to go in when I saw the (open) net."

Moller, Kyle Calder and Alexander Frolov scored for the Kings in a back-and-forth game that saw Los Angeles hold 2-1 and 3-2 leads after initially falling behind. Marian Hossa had the other Detroit goal.

"We were able to generate lots of offense down the stretch, but you have to give them credit, they clogged 'er up and they worked and competed hard," Detroit coach Mike Babcock said. "That was our focus, that we can't continue to give up 30 shots on goal. We said we were going to hold them to 21 and we held them to 19 and I think that's a real positive thing."

Moller answered Zetterberg's early goal with a power-play tally 10:46 into the first period. In the second, it went in reverse -- the Kings grabbed the lead at 1:16 when Calder notched his first of the season, but Hossa struck on a Wings' man-advantage at 9:24 for a 2-2 tie.

Frolov's goal 46 seconds into the third appeared as if it might hold up as the winner, but a turnover by Kings defenseman Denis Gauthier led to an unassisted tally by Filppula. Under pressure by the forechecking Detroit winger, Gauthier put the puck right on his stick and Filppula sent a 15-foot wrist shot past LaBarbera.

"We played solid defense and I think (the Kings) did it, too," Zetterberg said. "It was a tight game, not so many chances. We know it's going to be a tough one, and as long as you get the two points on the road, we're happy."
Material from wire services and team broadcast and online media was used in this report.

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