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Flames outshine injury-riddled Stars 2-1

by John Kreiser
It was a night for role players, not stars -- or the Stars.

Dallas shut down Calgary's big scorers, Jarome Iginla and Olli Jokinen, who was pointless in his home debut as a Flame. But Jamie Lundmark's second-period goal tied the game and Eric Nystrom beat Marty Turco with 8:14 left in regulation to give the Flames a 2-1 win over the banged-up Stars on Wednesday night at Pengrowth Saddledome.

The win moved the Flames five points in front of Vancouver in the suddenly tighter Northwest Division race. The loss kept Dallas 10th in the West, a point out of the last playoff spot.

Jokinen, who scored eight times in six road games after joining the Flames at the trade deadline, had a few good chances but didn't get a point. Neither did Iginla, who was presented with a silver stick before the game to commemorate his becoming the Flames' all-time leading scorer earlier this month.

Instead, the Flames snapped a 1-1 tie thanks to Nystrom, who beat Turco with a 20-foot wrister from the slot after David Moss made a great play to keep the puck in at the blue line following a turnover forced by Warren Peters.

"My eyes were as huge as basketballs there. I had a whole head of steam, I knew if he could get it to me I'd be in pretty much all alone," said Nystrom, who scored his fourth of the season and first in 14 games. "I just tried getting the shot away quick and surprise him, snuck it between his pads and it felt pretty good."

The son of former New York Islanders star Bob Nystrom came in for praise from coach Mike Keenan.

"It's always the unexpected player that comes through in playoff hockey. That's what makes the playoffs so exciting, when you see players that don't play much, have big roles or play important parts in games," Keenan said.

Miikka Kiprusoff had to make only 18 saves for his 200th career win as the Flames tightened up after surrendering eight goals Saturday night in Toronto, the last stop on a seven-game road trip.

"We focused on the good things, got back to basics and that was the key to the game," Nystrom said. "We give up one goal and score one more than the other guys. That's what it comes down to."



The Stars, who've battled injuries all season, were without high-scoring Mike Modano, who was out with a lower-body injury, and checker Steve Begin (upper body). During the game, they lost forward Brian Sutherby, who skated off in the third period with what appeared to be a lower-body injury.

Coach Dave Tippett said the injuries are no excuse for back-to-back losses to the Vancouver Canucks and Flames.

"You're trying to push and scrape and claw and try to find the points you need to get there," he said of the push to make the playoffs. "It's not going to be easy for us. When you're missing as many top players, you've got to find ways to win. There's still no excuse … this just makes it a little harder for us."

Despite all their problems, the Stars grabbed the lead 1:10 into the second period when Brendan Morrison picked up Stephane Robidas' pass in the slot and beat Kiprusoff for his fourth goal in five games against Calgary this season.

But Calgary tied it at 5:39 when Lundmark, a 28-year-old call-up from the Flames' AHL farm team, finished off a 2-on-1 break by tucking a quick shot under the crossbar for his fifth goal in 12 games.

The Stars, who lost 4-2 Tuesday night in Vancouver, wrap up their road trip in San Jose on Saturday night.

"We've got a lot of work to do and that's why it's so disheartening back-to-back nights to not get any points," Turco said. "We've got to throw the hammer down and start winning hockey games, there's no other way to look at it for us."

Ducks 4, Predators 3 (OT) | Video

Teemu Selanne's power-play goal 34 seconds into overtime not only gave Anaheim a much-needed victory, it may have saved the Ducks' season.

Selanne deflected Chris Pronger's hard pass from the right point past rookie netminder Pekka Rinne for his 1,200th career point to give the Ducks 72 points, 12th in the West but just three out of the last playoff spot.

"I just tried to keep my stick on the ice and hoped it would hit my stick," Selanne said of his 574th goal, which moved him past Mike Bossy into 18th place on the all-time list. "I always say you’d rather be lucky than good, and that was one of those goals."

Selanne became the 45th player in NHL history, but just the sixth non-North American, to reach the 1,200-point mark. But with the Ducks playing catch-up in the playoff race and three of their next four on the road, personal achievements were less important than getting the extra point.

"It was great," Selanne said of the milestones, "but more important was that we needed the two points and we got it."

Despite allowing three power-play goals, the Predators got a point, giving them a 2-0-1 mark on their four-game road trip and moving them past Edmonton into seventh place in the West with 76 points, four behind sixth-place Columbus.

"We knew they had a really good power play, and they really executed," Rinne said. "Their power play won the game for them. We played an undisciplined game and took some unnecessary penalties."

The Ducks looked like they might get the two points in regulation when Bobby Ryan picked up a rebound, stepped around some bodies in the slot and buried it with 8:32 left in regulation. It was the Ducks' second power-play goal of the night -- after a 1-for-28 drought -- and Ryan's 24th goal of the season.

But Joel Ward forced the overtime with 2:45 left with his second of the night. He knocked Shea Weber's shot out of the air and past Jean-Sebastien Giguere.

Anaheim opened the scoring 4:19 on a picture-perfect passing play. Ryan fed Ryan Getzlaf between the circles, and Getzlaf reversed direction to elude Weber before dropping a pass to Corey Perry near the top of the crease. Perry faked toward the middle, then moved back the other way before tucking the puck past Pekka Rinne.

Nashville tied the game at 10:19 on a goal that was as ugly as the Ducks' was pretty. J.P. Dumont's shot from the top of the circle hit Ward's jersey as the first-year forward stood in front of the net and eluded Giguere.

Dumont put the Ducks in front for the first time 6:05 into the second when his power-play pass across the crease hit Pronger and came right back to him for an easy dump into an open net. Andrew Ebbett's power-play goal at 11:13 tied the game for a second time.

"It was huge -- not just because of the points, but I think the morale was kind of dropping there a little bit because we were losing games at home," Ryan said of the victory. "We've felt like we've played good enough to win some games."

Hurricanes 4, Devils 2 | Video

On the night after he earned his record-setting 552nd victory, the Devils gave Martin Brodeur the night off -- much to the delight of the Hurricanes, who scored three times on the power play against Kevin Weekes to move into a tie with Montreal for seventh in the East.

Defenseman Anton Babchuk had two of the three power-play goals for Carolina, which ended a three-game losing streak by winning its sixth in a row at the RBC Center. The win pulled the 'Canes even with Montreal; both have 81 points, three more than Florida, but Carolina has played two more games.

In contrast to the Devils, the Hurricanes had three days off to rest after a shootout loss at Washington on Saturday.

"We had three days off and you can begin to worry about how the team is going to respond because we've been playing so much lately, but the guys were prepared. We were ready to go," said Cam Ward, who stopped 41 of 43 shots in his 19th consecutive start.

"We've been working hard and we've said all along we're confident with the guys we have in this locker room, the skill, the character. We're really bringing it together and it's hard to believe we only have 10 games left. If we play the way we played tonight in those last 10 games I like our chances."

The Devils, who remained for points behind Boston in the race for first place in the East, had 17 shots in each of the last two periods, but were denied by Ward and paid the price for their inability to kill penalties.

"Our work ethic was pretty good tonight," New Jersey coach Brent Sutter said. "They got three power-play goals; we had some mental breakdowns on the penalty kill, but that had nothing to do with our 5-on-5 play."

Babchuk opened the scoring at 9:56 of the opening period with a poke at the right post after Weekes was unable to control a pair of rebounds. Eric Staal gave Carolina a 2-0 lead 1:25 into the second period with a sharp-angled slap shot from the bottom of the right circle during another power play.

Zach Parise got his 41st of the season for the Devils during a 5-on-3 power play at 13:22, but Babchuk restored the Hurricanes' two-goal lead six minutes later by beating Weekes through a screen from the top of the slot.

"He's got a huge shot, and when he gets a chance to step into it he's been real good," coach Paul Maurice said of his 6-foot-5 defenseman, who scored his 10th and 11th goals for the first multigoal game of his NHL career. "A lot of that is confidence and he's scored enough this year where he wants to puck. There are not a lot of guys who want to stand in front of his shot."

Sergei Samsonov stepped around Weekes and swept the puck into the net with 7:46 remaining before Brian Gionta scored a power-play goal with 2:17 to play.

It was Brodeur's first night off since he returned on Feb. 24, following a 50-game layoff due to a bicep injury that required surgery. Samsonov, for one, wasn't unhappy that Brodeur was wearing a baseball cap instead of a mask.

"Five hundred fifty-two speaks for itself," Samsonov said, "so we're glad he got that record last night."

Given all the hoopla that has surrounded the Devils' last two games, in which Brodeur tied and then broke the career wins record, Sutter wasn't at all upset with his team's play.

"I told the players, it's been a high emotional week, for all the right reasons," he said. "You always have your guard up in a game like this, after you have what's happened to us in the last week. Five-on-five, we did a lot of good things. I thought their goaltender was very good for them."

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


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