On a night with weird goals and funny bounces, Rod Brind’Amour’s was the most important.
Brind’Amour’s shootout attempt trickled off Philadelphia goaltender Martin Biron and into the net, giving the Carolina Hurricanes a wild 6-5 victory over the Flyers at the Wachovia Center on Saturday night.
Brind’Amour’s shot hit Biron, popped into the air, hit the crossbar, then rolled off Biron’s shoulder into the net for one of the oddest goals since the NHL began using the shootout in 2005-06.
“Obviously, when I saw the ref point at it when Biron made the save, I thought that it still had a chance to go in," Brind'Amour said. "I got a lucky bounce off his back."
Biron looked up to see where the puck was, but couldn’t move quickly enough to keep it out of the net.
"I could see it and it kind of was coming back toward me," Biron said. "I tried to squeeze the post to not let the puck go in. It kind of hit the crossbar, my head, the post, my pad and then in."
Brind'Amour's goal came after teammates Matt Cullen and Jeffrey Hamilton traded tallies in the tiebreaker with Philadelphia's Mike Richards and Joffrey Lupul.
"It's a good win, period, no matter who you're playing," Brind'Amour said after the Hurricanes ended their three-game losing streak. "We need wins desperately. We'll take them any way we can."
Niclas Wallin, Cullen, Eric Staal ( 700K ) and Trevor Letowski ( 700K ) scored in regulation for the Southeast Division-leading Hurricanes. Lupul had his second three-goal game in five days and Scott Hartnell and Danny Briere ( 700K ) also scored for the Flyers, who are 1-5-2 at home since winning their first six in Philadelphia.
"There were a lot of bizarre goals out there both ways," Carolina coach Peter Laviolette said. "A lot of weird ones. It was not your typical goal-scoring game. There were redirects, double redirects, reviews. Anything you put at the net, it seemed like it had a chance of getting in."
Lupul opened the scoring with a breakaway goal at 9:33 of the opening period ( 700K ), but Carolina got the next three, from Wallin ( 700K ), Walker ( 700K ) and Cullen ( 700K ), to take a 3-1 lead early in the middle period. Hartnall ( 700K ) and Lupul ( 700K ) tied it with goals 56 seconds apart, and the teams alternated goals after that, with Lupul forcing overtime when he completed his hat trick at 11:46 of the third period ( 700K ).
Lupul also had a hat trick in an 8-2 win over Pittsburgh on Tuesday. He is the first Flyer to record two hat tricks in the same week since Eric Lindros did it in back-to-back games against Florida and Montreal on March 18-20, 1995.
"The puck's kind of following me right now," Lupul said. "Pucks just bounce to me and I bank them in."
John Grahame made 36 saves for Carolina. Neither goalie made a save in the shootout — Briere missed on the first attempt before the next five shooters scored.
“We didn’t get flustered when they scored,” Brind’Amour said. “We just kept playing our game. We hung in there and got a break to win the game.”
Sabres 3, Blackhawks 1 | Video
Patrick Kane’s first NHL game in Buffalo was a personal success, but a team disappointment. The NHL’s No. 1 overall draft pick last June, who grew up about six miles from HSBC Arena, delighted the nearly 500 friends and family in the crowd when he scored 2:35 into the game ( 700K ). Kane one-timed Patrick Sharp’s pass behind Ryan Miller for his first goal in eight games.
"It was a tough game," said Kane, whose father and grandfather dropped the ceremonial first puck. "There was a little bit of a distraction. I was probably the only one who could really get up for this game."
Kane’s goal was just about the last thing that went right for the Hawks, who lost for the fifth time in six games. Miller was solid the rest of the way in his fifth straight start and 10th consecutive appearance. He made several big stops, including denying Kane's point-blank shot in the second period to preserve Buffalo's one-goal lead.
Miller also made a superb kick save on Tuomo Ruutu from in close with six minutes left in regulation ( 700K ) and later kicked out Brent Seabrook's slap shot from the top of the right circle.
"He made great saves to keep us in the game," said Buffalo forward Jason Pominville, whose empty-netter with 47 seconds left iced the win ( 700K ). "He's been playing well, and that's what we expect."
The Hawks preserved their 1-0 lead until Thomas Vanek tied it with a power-play goal 2:52 into the second period ( 700K ), beating Nikolai Khabibulin with a quick wrist shot from the slot. Drew Stafford made it 2-1 at 10:19 ( 700K ), wristing a shot from the right circle past Khabibulin.
"It was a game where the neutral zone was clogged pretty good," Chicago coach Denis Savard said. "We didn’t create much, and they didn’t create much. Special teams made the difference. They got one power-play goal and we didn't."
Penguins 3, Islanders 2 | Video
The last thing the offense-challenged Islanders needed to do was give Sidney Crosby a freebie — but they did, and it wound up making the difference as the Penguins won on Long Island.
Rookie Tyler Kennedy had two assists and the tie-breaking goal in the second period. Crosby scored one of the easiest goals he’ll ever get to open the scoring at 2:48 of the opening period ( 700K ). Isles defenseman Marc-Andre Bergeron’s pass hit the side of the net, Bergeron and goalie Rick DiPietro dived after the puck — but put it on Crosby’s stick for an easy shot into an open net.
Ryan Whitney scored 3:47 later on a shot that hit a skate and deflected past DiPietro ( 700K ) as the Isles’ first-period struggles continued. They’ve scored a league-low 12 first-period goals, and three of those came on opening night.
Richard Park ( 700K ) and Josef Vasicek ( 700K ) scored 45 seconds apart for the Isles early in the second period to tie the score. But after Crosby drew a penalty on defenseman Brendan Witt in a scrum, Kennedy stuffed in a rebound at 14:16 after DiPietro couldn’t control Jordan Staal’s shot ( 700K ).
The Islanders had a chance to tie the game in the final minutes when Mike Sillinger went in alone on a shorthanded breakaway, but he shot the puck over the net.
"I got behind the defense because of their line change," Sillinger said. "I made the move I wanted to put it up high, but the puck just rolled on me."
Stars 4, Sharks 2 | Video
Maybe they should call the HP Pavilion the “Star Tank,” rather than the “Shark Tank.” Dallas certainly seems at home in San Jose — Brenden Morrow and Mike Ribeiro each had a goal and an assist as the Stars won their fifth consecutive visit.
With the win, the Stars, took a two-point lead over the Sharks for first place in the Pacific Division. Dallas hasn't lost in San Jose since Dec. 21, 2006.
“I wish I could explain our success here," Stars coach Dave Tippett said. "They've had our number on home ice and we have theirs here."
San Jose took a 1-0 lead on Devin Setoguchi’s power-play goal 7:54 into the game ( 700K ). Morrow tied it on a fluky wraparound 4:52 into the second ( 700K ), but Patrick Rissmiller put the Sharks back in front 45 seconds later ( 700K ). Ribeiro tied it again at 10:44 ( 700K ), beating Evgeni Nabokov with a wrist shot during a 5-on-3 power play, and Antti Miettinen put Dallas ahead to stay for the first time at 16:56 when his screened slapper from the blue line sailed through traffic and into the net ( 700K ).
Steve Ott hit the empty net with 41 seconds left ( 700K ), capping a grind-it-out game that saw only 40 shots on goal — 22 by the Stars, 18 by the Sharks — by two teams that could meet again in the spring.
“It certainly had the atmosphere of a playoff game," San Jose defenseman Craig Rivet said. "You have two teams that are battling for first place in our division. This (Dallas) is a team that has played well (11-4) in their last 15 games. We wanted to come out with some intensity, and I thought we did. We just came up short."
Coyotes 4, Devils 1 | Video
Fredrik Sjostrom left the Prudential Center sore but happy after leading Phoenix to a convincing road win.
Sjostrom scored a pair of goals — one before crashing heavily into the boards behind the Devils’ net in the second period, the other after returning for the third period, when the Coyotes put the game away with three goals.
|Phoenix's Fredrik Sjostrom, left, scored two goals as the Coyotes beat the Devils 4-1.
"I think the butt took most of it," he said after a lengthy postgame stay in the training room. "In that way, I was lucky. I couldn't move for a few seconds. I'll take it any day to get a win like that."
The line of Sjostrom, Martin Hanzal and Radim Vrbata produced all the offense for the Coyotes — Hanzal had a goal and three assists and Vrbata scored once and had two assists.
"Our line played well the whole game." Sjostrom said. "This was huge for us."
The Coyotes also got a big game from goaltender Mikael Tellqvist, who stopped 30 shots in his first start since Nov. 12.
“I felt a little stiff in the beginning," said Tellqvist, who’s been relegated to a backup role with the arrival of Ilya Bryzgalov. "I got a couple of easy saves at the start and I kind of worked myself into the game. The guys came up big for me in the second and third."
Sjostrom scored 3:32 into the second period ( 700K ), beating Martin Brodeur from the left circle, and the Coyotes took command in the third on goals by Vrbata at 5:19 ( 700K ) and Sjostrom at 9:08 ( 700K ).
Zach Parise gave the Devils a glimmer of hope by scoring a shorthanded goal at the 14-minute mark ( 700K ), but Hanzal’s shorthanded breakaway goal with 2:50 remaining ( 700K ) assured the Coyotes of their second win in three games on a six-game trip.
"When the effort is not there, it's a tough one to take," Parise said after the Devils had their five-game home winning streak ended with their third loss in four games. "We played well in the first period, but the rest of the game was frustrating."
Bruins 2, Blue Jackets 0 | Video
Alex Auld’s reward for his first shutout as a Bruin figures to be a spot on the bench. Auld stopped 32 shots to improve to 4-1-0 since coming to Boston from Phoenix, but he’s likely to go back to being a backup because the Bruins reactivated starter Tim Thomas after the game. Thomas has been sidelined for the last two weeks with a groin injury, triggering the trade that brought Auld to Boston.
''It's been great,'' Auld said. ''Coming here was awesome, and having a chance to play a lot has been great. Being able to work through some things after not playing for a while, I think any goaltender will tell you playing a lot will help.''
Jeremy Reich gave Auld all the support he needed just 3:20 into the game ( 700K ), scoring his first NHL goal when he redirected Petteri Nokelainen’s pass behind Fredrik Norrena.
Auld and the Bruins’ defense did the rest until Marco Sturm hit the empty net with 11.9 seconds remaining ( 700K ).
''They play a system that can be frustrating for you,'' Blue Jackets defenseman Adam Foote said. ''They have the five back and they give you the outside and it looks like you have a good opportunity and they take it away. Auld stayed strong on the first shot and we just have to get in on those rebounds.''
The Bruins remained the only team not lose consecutive games in regulation despite getting only 18 shots. They lost 3-1 to New Jersey on Thursday.
''We want to be a team that creates chances,'' Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara said. ''But at the same time we don't want to play the open, up-and-down game. We want to play well defensively.''
Red Wings 5, Panthers 2 | Video
Detroit’s Valtteri Filppula isn’t one to change something that’s working. He scored on one of Detroit’s record-tying two penalty shots by beating Tomas Vokoun with the same move he used to score against Nashville’s Dan Ellis earlier in the week.
Filppula beat Vokoun with a fake and a high backhand shot at 11:17 of the third period to cap Detroit’s three-goal third period ( 700K ).
"I figured I'd go with the same move," Filppula said. "I figured the goalie wouldn't have seen it yet."
It was the first time in team history that Detroit has had two penalty shots in a game, and Filppula's goal was the Red Wings' first successful regular-season attempt at home since Nov. 27, 1992.
"I've never been in a game with two penalty shots, ever," Detroit coach Mike Babcock said.
Filppula was given the penalty shot with 8:43 left when Vokoun threw his stick as Filppula attempted to score. In the second period, Pavel Datsyuk was awarded a penalty shot after being pulled down on a breakaway, but Vokoun stopped him.
Dan Cleary ( 700K ) and Brian Rafalski ( 700K ) scored 64 seconds apart early in the third period to break a 2-2 tie. Datsyuk had a power-play goal in the first period ( 700K ).
"That's a first-place team,” Florida’s Olli Jokinen said. “But it's not too much to ask players to work their butt off on every shift."
Florida got second-period goals from Jokinen ( 700K ) and Radek Dvorak ( 700K ) to take a brief 2-1 lead. Johan Franzen’s power-play goal midway through the period made it 2-2 ( 700K ).
“We stood around and weren't part of the game," said Vokoun, who made 41 saves.
Senators 7, Thrashers 3 | Video
Ottawa is as hot as Atlanta is cold. The Senators won their fifth in a row and handed the Thrashers their fourth straight loss as Dany Heatley scored twice ( 700K ) and Antone Vermette had a goal and two assists.
Nick Foligno, Chris Kelly Joe Corvo and Andrej Meszaros also scored for the Senators, who played their first home game in two weeks after a 4-0-1 road trip. Jason Spezza had two assists.
Foligno ( 700K ) and Kelly ( 700K ) scored in the first 10:15 as the Senators raced to a 2-0 lead and never looked back.
"The start was important for us. I think we took a little bit of their will away and they seemed like they were tired a little bit and we got on them," Spezza said. "We let them in the game a little bit at the end but then we got that big goal from Heater. After that we just sailed in."
Atlanta coach Don Waddell agreed that the Senators’ fast start made the difference.
“They come very good at you offensively and we had to be ready for them," Waddell said. "When we gave up that early goal, we became very fragile. We had opportunities to close the gap, and at 5-3 we had the power play and we couldn't score so that was a killer for us."
Heatley’s second goal came with 7:44 remaining ( 700K ) and put the Senators ahead 6-3.
"It's the point in the game where we were a little bit frustrated after getting called for three or four (penalties) in a row," Heatley said. "I was joking with (Daniel Alfredsson) that if they scored on that 5-on-3 and they end up tying it up, you're a big goat. So it was nice to get a chance to score that goal."
Ilya Kovalchuk scored twice for Atlanta ( 700K, 700K ), giving him five goals in the Thrashers’ two visits to Ottawa — both losses.
Capitals 3, Lightning 2 | Video
Brian Pothier, a healthy scratch for the past two games, came back with a bang. The veteran defenseman broke a 2-2 tie 5:06 into the third period with a power-play goal to give the Caps a road victory against the struggling Lightning ( 700K ).
"I've been struggling for maybe 10 games and ended up costing the team a jersey," Pothier said. "Obviously, when you score and get a couple of points, it's a huge confidence booster."
Interim coach Bruce Boudreau was happy to see Pothier redeem himself.
"He sits out two games — he competed his rear end off," Boudreau said. "For him to get the goal on the power play is great because you need that secondary power play."
Washington has won four of its last five; Tampa Bay has lost four of five.
Tampa Bay’s Paul Ranger opened the scoring at 4:28 ( 700K ), but Tomas Fleischmann tied it 10 minutes later ( 700K ). Pothier set up Dave Steckel’s goal eight seconds into the middle period ( 700K ), a lead that lasted only until Vincent Lecavalier beat Brent Johnson with a wrist shot at 5:50 ( 700K ).
Tampa Bay coach John Tortorella was unhappy with Shane O’Brien’s high-sticking penalty, which led to Pothier’s goal.
“We can't continue to take penalties," Tortorella said. "We're taking too many penalties. (O'Brien) has to be responsible with that stick. He's had a problem with that all year."
Avalanche 3, Predators 1 | Video
Colorado continues to be among the NHL’s elite at home. Paul Stastny and Marek Svatos scored in the second period and Peter Budaj stopped 31 shots as the Avs improved to 13-3-0 at home.
The Avalanche had a season-low 16 shots. Nashville had 17 in the first period alone but was unable to beat Budaj.
"I think we played on our heels a little bit," Stastny said. "They came out hard in the first, and Budaj played well and we weathered that storm."
Stastny opened the scoring 4:06 into the second period ( 700K ), beating Chris Mason with a one-timer from the slot. Svatos knocked his own rebound past Mason at 14:50 ( 700K ).
Martin Gelinas got Nashville on the board at 15:43 ( 700K ), beating Budaj with a backhander. But Jordan Leopold beat Mason with a slap shot from the right circle at 10:53 of the final period during a delayed penalty call ( 700K ).
"That's the third game in a row where we did all the right things, played at a high energy level and walk away with a loss," Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. "We are ringing posts, missing wide-open nets and have nothing to show for it."
Added forward Jordin Tootoo, who was denied on a first-period breakaway: “We're squeezing our sticks too tightly. Sooner or later the goals have to come. Our shots have to start going into the net."
Oilers 2, Canucks 1, SO | Video
Edmonton’s mastery of the shootout continued, as Shawn Horcoff and Fernando Pisani scored to give the Oilers their 10th win in 11 tries in the breakaway competition.
The teams played more than 56 minutes of scoreless hockey until Edmonton’s Shawn Horcoff scored with 3:29 to play ( 700K ). But the Oilers were unable to hang onto the lead, and Mattias Ohlund forced overtime by beating Mathieu Garon with 1:22 remaining ( 700K ), putting the carom of Daniel Sedin’s shot into a vacant net.
After a scoreless overtime, Vancouver took the lead in the shootout when Ryan Kessler snapped a shot past Garon to start the second round. Horcoff beat Curtis Sanford in the third round to extend the shootout, and after Garon stopped Alex Burrows, Pisani scored on a backhander through Sanford’s legs.
“I basically had in mind what I was going to do all the way,” said Pisani, who played only his eighth game of the season after returning from a bout of ulcerative colitis. “I tried to fake the shot, get him to open his five-hole and put it there.”
Edmonton is now 16-16-2, including 8-3-1 in their last 12. They’ve won three in a row, all via shootout. Garon improved to 6-0, and Horcoff scored for the fourth time in as many shootout attempts.
“We’ve got some good shooters,” Pisani said when asked why the Oilers have done so well in shootouts. “The goaltending’s been good for us. We’re doing a good job with that.”
The Canucks finished a four-game trip with a performance that drew plaudits from their coach despite their third shootout loss to the Oilers this season.
“I’m really pleased with the way this group competed,” Alain Vigneault said. “Tonight, we emptied the tank. We had a chance to win in the shootout — we just couldn’t pull it off.
“We’ve lost three times to the top team in shootouts,” Vigneault said. “This team is hot — they’re 10-1 in shootouts. They’ve got our number right now.”
Wild 2, Kings 1 | Video
Minnesota is road-weary, flu-ridden — and 2-for-2 in Southern California, thanks to Josh Harding, who stopped 35 shots as the Wild completed a two-night sweep with a win in Los Angeles.
Harding stopped Michal Handzus on a breakaway midway through the first period, getting his glove on the shot. He was 72 seconds from a shutout before Kings captain Rob Blake scored when Mike Cammalleri’s shot hit his skate and went in ( 700K ).
Harding, who won Friday night in Anaheim, was playing on back-to-back nights because starter Nicklas Backstrom was among those battling the flu.
“I thought the difference in the game was their goaltender,” Kings coach Marc Crawford said. “There was no doubt we outplayed that team and that we were better than that team. I had no problem with our work ethic.”
Marian Gaborik scored 3:48 into the game on Minnesota’s first shot ( 700K ), beating Jean-Sebastien Aubin on a breakaway. Brian Rolston made it 2-0 with a slap shot from the high slot at 6:05 of the second period with the Wild on a 5-on-3 power play ( 700K ).
“We wanted to be ready at the start, because we had played last night and they didn’t,” assistant coach Mike Ramsay said. “I thought we did.”
Material from wire services and team online and broadcast media were used in this report.