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Hossa snaps Red Wings' skid

by Brian Hunter
Marian Hossa was signed by the Detroit Red Wings to fill the nets. In doing his job Monday night, he also snapped the team's season-long five-game losing streak.

Hossa scored a pair of goals during regulation, and when that wasn't enough to get the Wings two points he added the decisive shootout goal in a 4-3 win over the St. Louis Blues at Joe Louis Arena.

"Obviously, he's a superstar, but we knew he was," Red Wings GM Ken Holland said. "What we didn't know was how good of a person he is, letting him fit in real well in our dressing room, or how tough he was defensively, backchecking really hard every night."

Skating in on Chris Mason, who had entered the penalty-shot tiebreaker perfect in relief of starter Manny Legace, Hossa snapped a shot over the goalie's glove hand. Chris Osgood forced David Perron wide on the Blues' final attempt, then stopped his bad-angle attempt to secure the second point for Detroit.

"They played strong game, definitely," Hossa said. "We battled hard as we could, obviously some things didn't work out as we'd like, but the result is there, we got two points. We finally ended the losing streak, and that's huge."

Kirk Maltby also scored off an assist by Kris Draper, playing in his 1,000th NHL game, and the Wings broke out of an 0-4-1 slump that began following a 4-0 win over Los Angeles on Jan. 15.

T.J. Oshie, Patrik Berglund and Barret Jackman all scored on the power play as the Blues rallied from three separate one-goal deficits. Brad Boyes answered Jiri Hudler's goal in the second round of his shootout with one of his own before Hossa got the winner.

"He almost single-handedly won them the game tonight," Mason said.

Jackman had the only goal of the third period, converting with only 23 seconds left on a five-minute major assessed to Andreas Lilja of the Wings for boarding. Lilja was also given a game misconduct for his hit on David Backes, and the Blues made it 3-3 with 8:02 left when Jackman scored from the top of the right circle as Keith Tkachuk set up a screen in front on Osgood.

After a lackluster first period that saw St. Louis outshoot Detroit by a 3-2 margin, the Wings outscored the Blues 3-2 in a back-and-forth second.

Maltby got the game's first goal at 2:34 only to have Oshie answer three minutes later. It took 58 seconds for Hossa to restore the Wings' lead, as Legace misplayed his shot from the right side. Berglund tied it on another Blues power play at 10:25, but this time it took only 56 seconds before Hossa blasted home his 26th of the season.

"The first one I almost kind of surprised myself," Hossa said. "The second one I tried to shoot it from behind the defenseman and it worked out well. The one in the shootout, I know the goalie doesn't go out so far, so I know I'm going to shoot. It worked out and I'm just glad."

Legace was pulled after allowing three goals on eight shots. Mason, coming off a shutout of Philadelphia on Saturday, proceeded to stop all 13 shots he faced through the end of overtime.

"Guys played great and I'm the reason that we lost," Legace said. "I was the worst guy in the NHL tonight."

"I feel bad for Manny," Blues coach Andy Murray said, "because there's been a lot of nights, since I've been coaching the Blues, that he's been the best guy in the NHL."

Ducks 3, Sabres 2 | Video

Chris Kunitz and Corey Perry scored power-play goals in the first 10 minutes of the third period as Anaheim prevailed at Honda Center and strengthened its hold on fifth place in the Western Conference.

Chris Pronger also had a goal and Jonas Hiller stopped 21 shots in his fourth straight start as the Ducks won consecutive games for the first time since early January. They now have 57 points, four more than a handful of teams currently tied for sixth.

"Guys came through at the end for us," Perry said. "Big penalty kill the last two minutes. That's what we needed. We've got to win all these games, especially at home. Points are too crucial for us."

Patrick Kaleta and Craig Rivet had goals for the Sabres, who are seventh in the East. Patrick Lalime made 34 saves and was particularly strong in the second period, when the Ducks began to take control and held a 20-6 advantage in shots.

Anaheim went ahead for the first time 3:34 into the third. With Rivet in the box for slashing, Andrew Ebbett sent a precision pass from behind the Buffalo goal to Kunitz, who was streaking in from the right side. He slipped the puck between Lalime's pads for his 14th of the season.

Perry took advantage of another slashing call to Ales Kotalik to score what proved to be the game-winning goal at the 9:44 mark. Steve Montador's shot was slowed by Lalime, but the puck sat behind him in the crease and Perry was able to tap it in for his 17th goal.

"I thought he actually had it for a second," Perry said. "The crowd kind of got up and started roaring, and I looked behind him and it was just sitting there on the line, so I just poked it in."
"They played strong game, definitely. We battled hard as we could, obviously some things didn't work out as we'd like, but the result is there, we got two points. We finally ended the losing streak, and that's huge." -- Red Wings forward Marian Hossa
Rivet, who last scored while playing for San Jose on Jan. 12, 2008, snapped his 65-game goal drought and brought the Sabres within a goal by capitalizing on a rebound with 6:33 left after Hiller stopped Paul Gaustad. But the Ducks survived, killing off an interference call to Pronger with 1:43 remaining that led to a 6-on-4 advantage for the Sabres after they pulled Lalime.

"Hiller’s making the big stops when we need it," Pronger said. "We’ve had to rely on him. It’s big to have two goalies like that. It doesn’t matter which one you throw in. You know you have a guy back there that can win you a game or hold a lead when you need it. We’re starting to get that confidence in those guys and in ourselves with the way we’re playing defensively. It’s a sign in the right direction. We just hope to continue it."

Kaleta had the lone goal of the first, sweeping a loose puck past Hiller with 6:43 left and giving Buffalo a 1-0 lead. Anaheim owned the second, but it took until 12:43 for Pronger to finally crack Lalime's armor and one-time a puck from just inside the blue line off a Montador feed.

''We have to find ways to win those third periods,'' Gaustad said. ''We kind of sat back on our heels. We passed up a lot of shots, so that is something we have to be better at.''

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

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