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Hat tricks, overtimes and shootouts, oh my!

by Brian Hunter
The frantic finishes came left and right on a Saturday night in the NHL where all 30 teams were in action.

In the span of less than half an hour, fans were treated to everything from sixth-attacker goals in the final seconds of regulation to overtime and shootout thrillers -- and that was just the 7 p.m. games! As the evening wore on, the down-to-the-wire endings only continued.

During a span of less than three hours, six games were decided by a single goal and four others were decided by two goals thanks to an empty-netter. Three teams celebrated overtime victories and two others won via the shootout.

In case you didn't have half a dozen televisions at your disposal or a quick-enough trigger finger on the remote control to catch it all, here's a recap of all the madness as it unfolded:

9:36 p.m. ET -- Brooks Laich scores 60 seconds into overtime to complete the Washington Capitals' rally from a two-goal deficit to beat the New York Islanders, 3-2, disappointing the Nassau Coliseum crowd. Alex Ovechkin assists on Keith Aucoin's game-tying goal in the third, but doesn't add to his total of nine goals, tied for first in the League.  RECAP | HIGHLIGHTS

9:37 -- Evgeni Nabokov and the San Jose Sharks hang on for a 4-3 win over the Atlanta Thrashers at Phillips Arena. Patrick Marleau scores twice to tie Ovechkin and Ilya Kovalchuk of the Thrashers for the League lead, with his second goal holding up as the game-winner. Nabokov finishes with 24 saves. Kovalchuk leaves early with a foot injury.  RECAP | HIGHLIGHTS

9:38 -- Mason Raymond's goal into an empty net with eight seconds remaining allows the Vancouver Canucks to hold on at G.M. Place for a 3-1 win over the still winless Toronto Maple Leafs, who were pushing frantically for a tie with the goalie pulled in the final minute.  RECAP | HIGHLIGHTS

9:49 -- Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas denies Jason Spezza in the shootout, making a Patrice Bergeron goal hold up in a 4-3 win over the Ottawa Senators at Scotiabank Place. The Bruins score twice in the final two minutes to force the extra period, as Mark Recchi beats Brian Elliott with 1:28 remaining and David Krejci ties it with 22 seconds left. Both goals come with Thomas on the bench in favor of a sixth attacker.  RECAP | HIGHLIGHTS

9:49 -- Mike Cammalleri finishes off his first hat trick for the Montreal Canadiens with an overtime goal for a 5-4 win over the New York Rangers. Cammalleri, who also had the game-tying goal late in the second period, beats Henrik Lundqvist 2:42 into the extra period to whip the Saturday night Bell Centre crowd into a frenzy.  RECAP | HIGHLIGHTS

10:00 -- Drew Stafford scores with 16.1 seconds remaining at the St. Pete Times Forum as the Buffalo Sabres pull Ryan Miller and tie up the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-2 to send this one to overtime. Five minutes of 4-on-4 play doesn't settle anything, so the two teams head into the shootout. 

10:18 -- Rookie defenseman Tyler Myers, the 12th pick in the 2009 Entry Draft, scores in the sixth round of the shootout as the Sabres win 3-2 and go from no points to two points in a matter of less than 20 minutes. Myers already has two goals, five points and a plus-8 rating in his first eight NHL games. Miller, meanwhile, is flawless on six attempts by the Lightning in the penalty-shot tiebreaker.  RECAP | HIGHLIGHTS

10:30 -- More drama at the Xcel Energy Center in Minnesota as the Wild go on the power play late in regulation. Carolina Hurricanes forward Eric Staal gets stopped by Niklas Backstrom on a shorthanded breakaway, then Cam Ward poke-checks a Wild attacker at the other end to prevent a good scoring opportunity and force -- you guessed it -- overtime.

10:36 --
The Hurricanes kill off the remaining seconds of the Wild power play, but Cal Clutterbuck scores a spectacular goal while being knocked to the ice and Minnesota skates off with a 3-2 win at 1:55 of overtime. Clutterbuck is playing in his first game in two weeks after suffering a high-ankle sprain against San Jose. If only the Wild could play all their games at Xcel Energy Center -- they're now 3-0-0 on home ice, but 0-7-0 when they travel out of Minnesota.  RECAP | HIGHLIGHTS

11:26 -- A late goalmouth scramble by the Phoenix Coyotes doesn't produce the tying goal and Dustin Brown scores into an empty net just before the final horn as the Los Angeles Kings hold on at Arena for a 5-3 win that leapfrogs them back over San Jose and into first place in the Pacific Division. Brown's goal comes on the power play, although the Coyotes had pulled their goaltender in order to create a 5-on-5 skating situation that nearly helped them draw even.  RECAP | HIGHLIGHTS

11:26 --
Paul Stastny slides the puck into an empty net and the Colorado Avalanche continue to win -- they beat the Detroit Red Wings for the second time in as many Saturday nights, 3-1, and improve on the best record in the Western Conference. In fact, at 8-1-2, the Avalanche are tied with defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh for the League lead with 18 points. Craig Anderson makes his 11th consecutive start to begin the season and gets everything but the kitchen sink thrown at him, finishing with 48 saves. Colorado has won all four of its games so far at the Pepsi Center.  RECAP | HIGHLIGHTS

12:26 a.m. ET -- Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Fedor Tyutin picks a great time to score his first goal of the season, one Anaheim Ducks goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere would love to have back. Tyutin just gets to a puck that's about to trickle over the blue line and out of the attack zone and tees up a 60-footer that eludes Giguere to give the Jackets a 5-4 lead with 3:22 remaining. Adding injury to insult, Jiggy comes up lame on the play and has to be lifted for Jonas Hiller.

12:33 --
Hiller's time in the crease is short-lived, as the Ducks pull him for a sixth attacker and try to force overtime. Instead, Jackets captain Rick Nash puts the puck into the empty net with 16 seconds left and Columbus escapes the Honda Center with two points and a 6-4 victory. It's our final frantic finish of an all-in night of NHL action.  RECAP | HIGHLIGHTS

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