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Franzen's goal lifts Wings over Panthers

by John Kreiser /
Like most visitors from the North, the Detroit Red Wings had a wonderful time in Florida — especially on the ice.

The Wings made it two wins in as many nights in the Sunshine State by holding off the Florida Panthers 3-2 on Friday. A crowd of 18,637 that included a lot of red-clad fans saw Detroit take an early 2-0 lead, Florida rally to tie the game in the second and Johan Franzen put the Wings ahead to stay with a power-play tip-in of Niklas Kronwall's shot 4:40 into the third.

''I was begging him to shoot it the whole game,'' Franzen said. ''He finally listened.''

The Wings' defense did the rest. Detroit limited Florida to just six shots in the final 20 minutes as the Wings followed up a 4-3 win at Tampa Bay on Thursday with their fourth victory in five games.

''We battled hard against a real good team," said Florida center Stephen Weiss, who scored the Panthers' second goal. "We just couldn't find a goal in the third when we needed one after they got the quick power-play goal."

Ty Conklin made 25 saves to improve to 6-0-0 lifetime against the Panthers. He will leave the team Saturday to be with his wife as she gives birth to the couple's third child, then return for Sunday's game.
''I imagine he'll be a little tired when he comes back the following day,'' said Detroit coach Mike Babcock. ''I was going to give him two days off, but he didn't want it. He wanted to be back.''
Marian Hossa had the first two goals for the Wings, who improved to 8-1-1 away from Joe Louis Arena. The loss ended Florida's two-game winning streak.

Craig Anderson, who stopped 68 of 69 shots in the two wins, didn't last 22 minutes in his third straight start.

Hossa opened the scoring at 17:07 of the first period when he won a race to the puck in the corner and flung it at the net. The puck hit Anderson's stick and he kicked it into the net.

Anderson missed Hossa's ordinary-looking wrist shot to the blocker side 1:37 into the second and was replaced by Tomas Vokoun.

''The reason for the goaltending change wasn't because of the first goal. We needed to shake things up," Panthers coach Peter DeBoer said. "We made the change to give them a spark and wake them up."

It worked, too. The Panthers dominated the rest of the period and needed just over 10 minutes to tie the game.

Richard Zednik banged the rebound of Brian McCabe's shot behind Ty Conklin at 6:02, and Weiss tied it at 11:51 when he took Zednik's backhand pass and snapped it past Conklin's blocker.

But the Wings regained the momentum in the third period and got the go-ahead goal.

"They went in between the second and third periods, got things together and played a real good third period," an admiring DeBoer said. "They threw some speed at us, we turned over some pucks, had to take some penalties, and you saw what they did on the power play."

To DeBoer, the game was a good example of what his team has to do to win.

"The reality is we're a hard-working, average-talent team," he said. "We have to have four lines, six D and a goaltender going every night in order to compete, especially against the good teams in this League."

Thrashers 3, Hurricanes 2 | Video

Don't look now, but the Atlanta Thrashers are among the hottest teams in the NHL. The Thrashers made it five wins in a row behind 27 saves by Johan Hedberg and goals by Marty Reasoner, Eric Perrin and Slava Kozlov.

It was Hedberg's second win over the Hurricanes in six days; before that, the Hurricanes had won five in a row against Atlanta. The Thrashers improved to 7-7-2. The five wins have followed a six-game losing streak.

"They're recognizing things that a month ago I never thought they'd get," first-year coach John Anderson said. "I wish we had October back."

Reasoner, who had two goals in the earlier win over the Hurricanes, opened the scoring at 9:41 of the first period when he finished off a 2-on-1 break by flipping the puck past Cam Ward. Perrin's wrister at 3:32 of the second made it 2-0.

Jarkko Ruutu cut the margin in half at 17:47 when he rifled a high wrist shot past Hedberg during a power play. But Kozlov finished off Bryan Little's pass at 4:12 of the third period for his ninth goal of the season, enabling the Thrashers to survive Rod Brind'Amour's power-play goal with 5:59 left in regulation.

"It's been a very important stretch for us," said Hedberg, who stopped 35 shots at Raleigh on Sunday. "We are right back into it and feeling good about ourselves."

Carolina is going the other way, with three losses in a row after a good start.

"We've got to be better," said center Eric Staal, who broke a five-game pointless streak with an assist on Ruutu's goal. "Everyone is frustrated."

Blue Jackets 6, Sabres 1 | Video

Columbus welcomed back starting goaltender Pascal Leclaire with its biggest offensive night of the season. R.J. Umberger scored twice for the Blue Jackets, who tied a franchise mark for their largest margin of victory, last done in January 2006 in a 6-1 win over Pittsburgh.

Leclaire made 36 saves as the Jackets rebounded two days after being called out by coach Ken Hitchcock for a lack of effort in a 5-2 home loss to Phoenix.

''It was back to the grind with a lot of hard work,'' Umberger said. ''That's what makes us successful.''

Having Leclaire back also helped. He made several brilliant saves throughout the game, including a sensational left toe stop on Derek Roy from in tight in the third period.

''That's the difference in the League right now,'' Hitchcock said. ''The teams that have it, they win. That's how competitive everybody is and that's how close it is. If you've got good goaltending you're going to win games.''

Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff said his team's goaltending wasn't awful — but that Patrick Lalime got little help from his teammates before being pulled after Manny Malhotra's goal 5:13 into the second period made it 4-0. He stopped just four of eight shots.

"We didn't give up a lot of shots, but we gave up a lot of opportunities," he said. "We didn't pull (Lalime) because it was his fault. There were five guys out there."

Michael Peca, rookie Derick Brassard and Rick Nash also scored for the Blue Jackets, who've won four of five to improve to 8-7-2. It was the Jackets' third win in a row against Buffalo; they're 6-2-1 lifetime against the Sabres.

''The win was important for us. It shows a lot of character coming in and beating a good team,'' Leclaire said.

Jason Pominville had the lone goal for Buffalo, which is 9-4-3 but has lost three times at home by three or more goals.

''We're not there as a team yet,'' Ruff said. ''We did some good things, but we did some really dumb things.''

Blues 4, Blackhawks 3, OT | Video

Chicago's Dave Bolland went from hero to goat when Andy McDonald disappointed another sellout crowd at the United Center by scoring a power-play goal 2:15 into overtime as the Blues ended their six-game losing streak.

The Blues led 3-1 after one period, but Bolland scored shorthanded in the second period and tied it on a one-timer from the right circle at 2:41 of the third. However, Bolland was penalized for hooking 1:07 into overtime, and McDonald got his second of the night on a low shot from the right circle that beat Nikolai Khabibulin.

"That was an intense hockey game," Blues coach Andy Murray said. "I'm exhausted. I don't think there's a game in this five-game trip we haven't battled. We were rewarded tonight because we stuck with it."

Hawks coach Joel Quenneville was pleased to get one point, but said the slow start was to blame for the point his team didn't get.

"We got ourselves back into the game," Quenneville said. "We let it get away. We didn't have the start we were looking for."

St. Louis had been 0-5-1 and hadn't won since beating Florida on Oct. 25. There wasn't anyone Blues forward Keith Tkachuk would rather have beaten to end the slump.

"It's exciting — that’s the way the game should be played," Tkachuk said. "That’s the old-school St. Louis-Chicago rivalry. It's been like this for a long time; that's how you build a rivalry."

The Hawks are now 6-0-4 at home and 4-0-2 in their last six games overall.

The Blues got the jump on the sluggish Hawks when McDonald scored a shorthanded goal at 3:49 and David Perron made it 2-0 just 2:30 later by beating Khabibulin between the pads.

Dustin Byfuglien cut the margin in half at 7:09 when he one-timed Andrew Ladd's pass behind Manny Legace to finish a 2-on-1. But rookie Cam Paddock, making his NHL debut, put St. Louis back in front by two when he banged a second rebound behind Khabibulin at 10:24.

"I think we dug ourselves a hole tonight," Chicago captain Jonathan Toews said. "We battled back and gave ourselves a chance to win. We can't blame anybody but ourselves for the slow start and the penalties that we took. It’s pretty simple to see what we didn't do tonight."
Predators 4, Ducks 3, OT | Video

Nashville won at Anaheim for the first time since Feb. 20, 2004, when Dan Hamhuis scored 2:17 into overtime, giving the Predators back-to-back OT wins.

Hamhuis skated in from the point, took Jason Arnott's passout from the left corner and blasted a one-timer from between the top of the circles behind Jean-Sebastien Giguere to give Nashville only its fourth victory in 19 games at the Honda Center.

"He made a fantastic pass to me in the slot," Hamhuis said. "I got the shot off and was happy to see it hit the net."

It was another disappointing night for the Ducks, who fell to 4-5-2 at home.

"We had a few little breakdowns in our end that led to some of their chances," said Ducks captain Scott Niedermayer, who tried to flip the puck out of the corner in the OT, only to see it land on Arnott's stick to set up the winning goal. "When you’re playing a team that plays well like they did tonight, you can't do that.

"I think it was a bit better effort than the last two games, but still not enough to get two points, which is what we set out to do tonight, so it's disappointing."

The Preds played a lot better than they had in their 4-3 overtime win at San Jose on Tuesday — a game they won in OT despite being outshot 57-29.

"The two points in San Jose were nice, but we got dominated by them," Hamhuis said. "We were lucky to come out with the win. I thought we played way better tonight. A lot of guys stepped up."

This time, Dan Ellis only had to make 32 saves as each team had 35 shots. He made several big stops to get the game into overtime after Ryan Getzlaf jabbed in a loose puck at 9:33 of the third period to make it 3-3.

Nashville had taken a 3-2 lead 4:35 into the third. Seconds after Bret Hedican was called for holding, Shea Weber fired a one-timer from the top of the circle that Joel Ward redirected through Giguere.

"The power-play goal gave them the lead and then we had to do everything we could possibly do to get ours at the end," Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said. "It was a see-saw battle and a good compete game. I liked our effort. We lost a point in overtime. We're not going to get down. We’ll correct some mistakes and work on that tomorrow."

Both teams scored twice in a wide-open first period.

Brendan Morrison put the Ducks ahead 1:59 into the game by batting his own rebound past Ellis for his second goal of the season. Nashville got even at 5:54 when Ryan Jones chipped a rebound over Giguere for a power-play goal.

J.P. Dumont gave Nashville a 2-1 lead at 11:26 when he scooped a rebound off the backboards past Giguere. Chris Kunitz tied it with a power-play goal at 15:05, taking Teemu Selanne's half-whiffed shot and whipping the puck behind Ellis.

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

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