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Isles blow lead but beat Phoenix 5-4 in a shootout

by John Kreiser
The Phoenix Coyotes overcame a gaffe by their coaching staff to get a point. The New York Islanders overcame another blown three-goal lead to get two.

The Coyotes scored three times in a 3:44 span of the third period to turn a 4-1 deficit into a 4-4 tie. But Matt Moulson's goal in the sixth round of the shootout gave the Islanders an unusual 5-4 victory.

The Islanders turned a 2-1 lead after one period into a 4-1 advantage with some help from an error by the Coyotes' bench. Ed Jovanovski was given a five-minute major and a game misconduct with 16 seconds left in the opening period -- Kyle Okposo scored during the delayed penalty to put New York ahead.

But the Coyotes never put anyone in the penalty box at the start of the second period, and while Phoenix killed the 4:44 of power-play time, the Coyotes couldn't get a stoppage for another 2:51 -- meaning they had to continue to play shorthanded because they had no one to come out of the penalty box. Isles goaltender Dwayne Roloson played several long clearing passes, negating the icing calls, before Martin Hanzal finally had to take a penalty.

"I saw no one was in the box when the period started and I kept my eye on it as the penalty wound down," said Roloson, now 6-0-1 against Phoenix. "I heard the crowd cheer so I knew the [penalty] was up, but I knew the longer I could keep it going, the more chances we had. It was a chance that they took."

With the exhausted penalty-killers still on the ice, Adrian Aucoin took another penalty, giving the Isles a two-man advantage. Mark Streit scored right off the draw after Aucoin's penalty and Josh Bailey connected 35 seconds later, sending Ilya Bryzgalov to the bench. In all, the Islanders played the first 9:41 of the period with an extra man.

"We made some mistakes, myself included for not putting a guy in the box," Phoenix coach Dave Tippett said. "I've never seen them go eight minutes without a whistle, but that's funny how that goes sometimes, you know?"

But after being outshot 15-2 in the second, the Coyotes regrouped in the third period. Paul Bissonnette stuffed home his own rebound at 5:31, and goals by Taylor Pyatt and Peter Mueller 65 seconds apart during a four-minute power-play tied the game. Phoenix carried the play for the rest of the period, outshooting the Islanders 17-5, but couldn't beat Roloson again.

In the shootout, the Coyotes' Robert Lang and New York's Frans Nielsen scored in the first round, and Lauri Korpikoski and Bailey matched goals in the third. In the sixth round, Roloson foiled Shane Doan before Moulson zipped a forehand past Jason LaBarbera for the win.

"These were two crucial points for us," said Bailey, who has 4 goals and 9 points during a six-game points streak. "If you don't get them, they'll nip you in the butt at the end of the year.

The Islanders have blown a League-high five three-goal leads this season, but have won four of the five games in overtime or shootouts.

The Coyotes got a point to start a key six-game homestand that continues with games against San Jose and New Jersey next week.

"Coming back from three goals makes you feel better," said Doan, who tried to rally his club with a fiery speech during the second intermission. "But we've allowed four goals the last (four) games in a row, and we know as a group we can't do that."

Penguins 4, Maple Leafs 1 | HIGHLIGHTS

Sergei Gonchar's return from a foot injury gave the Penguins a boost, as he scored two goals in a strange three-minute sequence of the second period as Pittsburgh beat the reeling Leafs in Toronto.

With the score tied 1-1, Gonchar took a shot that originally looked as if it hit the crossbar -- then tripped Alex Ponikarovsky on the return rush, earning the Leafs a penalty shot. But video review showed Gonchar's shot went into the net and hit the back bar -- giving the Penguins the lead and negating the penalty shot.

"That was kind of a game-changer for sure with the way things happened," Penguins captain Sidney Crosby said. "We certainly built off that and from there on in, I thought we carried the play."

The clock was reset to 14:44 and the penalty shot became a hooking penalty because two goals can't be scored at the same time.

"That was weird," Crosby said.

Leafs coach Ron Wilson, whose team fell to 3-8-2 in its last 11 games, said he believes the ruling is based on "flawed logic."

"I understand you can't have two goals on one play, but why not?" Wilson said. "Why can't you?"

To make matters worse for the Leafs, Gonchar scored again shortly after stepping out of the penalty box to give Pittsburgh a 3-1 lead. Crosby added a goal 3:49 into the third period and Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 42 shots to help the Penguins win the opener of a five-game trip.

Gonchar was playing his first game since taking a puck off the knee in New Jersey on Dec. 30. He made an immediate impact.

"It was a pretty big effort back there from our blue line and Gonch is a big part of that," Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said. "It's nice to have that confident guy back there, a leader back there."

Capitals 8, Thrashers 2 | HIGHLIGHTS

Washington is turning the Southeast Division into a one-team race. The Caps boosted their lead to 16 points by pummeling the Thrashers in Atlanta behind two goals each by Mike Knuble and Alexander Semin.

Washington has won its last five against Atlanta, which is 1-7-3 in its last 11 games overall.

"They are a highly skilled team with highly skilled players and those players beat us, no way around it," Atlanta defenseman Ron Hainsey said.

They're so skilled that they rolled up eight goals despite getting only a lone assist from Alex Ovechkin.

Knuble, Semin and Nicklas Backstrom scored in the first period, and Knuble connected again in the second before Maxim Afinogenov got Atlanta's only goal at 14:13. But the Caps blew the game wide-open on third-period goals by Semin, Dave Steckel, Tom Poti and Jason Chimera.

"In the first period, they were working hard," Washington defenseman Brian Pothier said. "In the second, they seemed a little discouraged. The world caved in on them a little bit."

Thrashers coach John Anderson said his team "felt sorry for ourselves" in the third period.

"You can't stop playing, no matter what," Anderson said.

Ducks 3, Predators 2 | HIGHLIGHTS

Anaheim came to the Sommet Center for the second Saturday in a row -- but this time, the Ducks brought Teemu Selanne with them. Selanne returned after missing five weeks with a broken hand and scored the game's first goal as the Ducks built a 3-0 lead after 40 minutes and hung on for the win.

Selanne gave the Ducks a 1-0 lead at 12:10 of the first period when Petteri Nokelainen's shot hit the shaft of his stick and deflected past Pekka Rinne's glove.

"[Nokelainen]'s shot -- I had nothing to do with it," Selanne said. "It was total luck when it hit my shaft and went in. It was a good way to start my comeback."

Matt Beleskey and Ryan Getzlaf scored in the second period, and Jonas Hiller made 25 saves

"It's important that we found a way to win, especially on the road," Hiller said. "We shouldn't have let them come back in the third, but we knew they wanted to do something."

Patric Hornqvist scored a power-play goal 45 seconds into the third period for Nashville -- his 11th goal in 13 games -- and Martin Erat beat Hiller at the 17-minute mark to make it a one-goal game.

But one good period wasn't enough for the Preds.

"We were watching more than we were playing in the first two periods," Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. "Anaheim played with patience, they didn't give us much, and they capitalized on the chances they had."

Panthers 3, Senators 0 | HIGHLIGHTS

After losses in Toronto and Montreal, the Panthers finally had something to show for their trip through Eastern Canada after beating the injury-riddled Senators at Scotiabank Place.

Tomas Vokoun made 24 saves for his fourth shutout and Rostislav Olesz scored twice for Florida, which handed the Senators their third loss in a row. Nathan Horton also scored for the Panthers.

"We knew they were missing key people," Vokoun said. "We knew we had to take advantage and I think we did."

The Senators have been without Jason Spezza and Daniel Alfredsson for some time. Milan Michalek didn't play Saturday due to an upper-body injury, and Jesse Winchester (right knee) and defenseman Filip Kuba (upper body) left during the game.

"We can't feel sorry for ourselves, nobody's going to," Senators coach Cory Clouston said. "We've got to keep working hard and I thought our guys battled and obviously we're missing some offense, but we've got to somehow find it. It's not the way you want to go on a long road trip that's for sure."

Horton scored 11:54 into the game, firing a rebound past Brian Elliott. Elliott's giveaway led to Olesz's goal at 13:45 of the second, and he mishandled a wrist shot by the Florida forward at 16:08 for the third goal.

Rangers 3, Bruins 1 | HIGHLIGHTS

Henrik Lundqvist's night off on Thursday must have agreed with him. Lundqvist came back two days later and stopped a first-period penalty shot by Marco Sturm giving the Rangers the boost they needed to beat the battered Bruins in Boston.

New York led 1-0 on a goal by Michael Del Zotto 7:56 into the game when Sturm was awarded the penalty shot. With the sellout crowd of 17,565 at TD Garden roaring, Sturm raced in and tried to beat Lundqvist through the legs. But Lundqvist got a pad on the wrist shot.

"There's no doubt that would have gotten us back in the game, but it didn't happen," Bruins coach Claude Julien said.

Brandon Dubinsky, who assisted on Del Zotto's goal, scored in the second and assisted on Eric Christensen's goal in the third, said the penalty-shot stop turned the game around.

"That was a game-changer right there," Dubinsky said after the Rangers improved to 8-1-2 in their last 12 games. "It always changes the dynamic of the game."

Dennis Wideman scored with 3:44 left, but it was too little, too late for the Bruins, who are without centers Marc Savard and Patrice Bergeron due to injuries.

"When you play with a lineup you have right now, you almost have to play a perfect game," Julien said.

Flyers 4, Lightning 1 | HIGHLIGHTS

Blair Betts is known as one of the NHL's best checkers and faceoff men. But he's also showing some scoring touch for the Flyers. Betts scored two late goals to blow open as close game as the red-hot Flyers won their third in a row.

"He's really valuable because he does a lot of things really well," coach Peter Laviolette said of Betts, an eight-year NHL veteran who was signed as a free agent on Oct. 1.

"He's a faceoff guy," Laviolette added. "He can play all positions. He can skate, he can hit, he can kill penalties."

Claude Giroux had a first-period power-play goal and Scott Hartnell made it 2-0 early in the third for the Flyers, 7-1-1 in their last nine.

Martin St. Louis scored with 6:55 remaining for the Lightning, who have lost two in a row -- sandwiched around a postponement of Friday's game at New Jersey. The Bolts will be back in Newark on Sunday to complete the game, in which they led 3-0 midway through the second period before a bank of lights went out.

"Obviously in the first period the Flyers outplayed us," Lightning coach Rick Tocchet said. "We started making a game of it later."

Red Wings 4, Sharks 1 | HIGHLIGHTS

The Wings are heading back East in a lot better shape than they were when they headed West last week. Pavel Datsyuk turned a stolen pass into the first of three Detroit goals in the second period, and Detroit whipped the Sharks to win for the fourth time in five games.

That spurt includes three of four wins in a swing through Arizona and California. With wins at Phoenix, Los Angeles and San Jose, Detroit is within one point of the Kings for eighth place in the Western Conference.

"We know that the points are so crucial for us right now," captain Nicklas Lidstrom said. "Every point is important. That's one of the reasons we're extra pleased with the way we finished the trip, beating one of the top teams in our conference."

After San Jose's Patrick Marleau put home a rebound 11:02 into the game for his NHL-best 29th goal of the season, the Wings took command in the second period. Datsyuk stole the puck from Ryane Clowe and beat Evgeni Nabokov at 6:57 to tie it, Patrick Eaves put Detroit ahead at 14:53 and Dan Cleary scored for the second time in two games after returning from a shoulder injury when he beat Nabokov at 16:02.

Darren Helm's goal early in the third period added insurance for Jimmy Howard, who made 31 saves.

"It was a good trip," said Cleary, whose team visits the New York Islanders on Tuesday before returning home.

The Sharks have lost two of three following an eight-game winning streak. San Jose allowed 10 goals in the two losses, including six to Los Angeles on Monday.

"They did a lot of simple things to score four goals against us," coach Todd McLellan said. "They were disciplined. For some reason our team thought we had to play fancy and take risks. We haven't learned our lesson."

Blues 4, Kings 3 | HIGHLIGHTS

Blues coach Davis Payne got his first NHL victory and St. Louis ended a seven-game losing streak by getting off to a fast start and holding off the Kings in Los Angeles.

Payne survived a rookie mistake when the Blues iced a starting lineup that was different than the one he had submitted when Brad Winchester scored 14 seconds into the game. Although David Perron started the game instead of listed started Brad Boyes, the goal was allowed to stand because Perron wasn't the one who scored.

"Great stick-to-it-ivness for a team that overcomes its coach screwing up the lineup," said Payne, who had lost his first three games since taking over when Andy Murray was fired last Saturday.

After the Kings' Brandon Segal tied the game 6:09 into the second period with a shot from the right circle past Chris Mason for his first NHL goal, Perron beat Jonathan Quick with 1:06 left in the period to put the Blues ahead. T.J. Oshie and B.J. Crombeen scored in the first 5:21 of the third period for a 4-1 lead.

"I liked the consistency of it," Payne said when asked what he liked about his team's performance. "I thought for three periods we were consistent -- we finished checks, continued to apply pressure. We took the shots that were given to us, we had some second-chance opportunities in the first two periods, and eventually in the third, a couple of them found their way through."

The Kings rallied on goals by Dustin Brown and Anze Kopitar, but it wasn't enough to prevent their second loss in a row to a team chasing them in the standings.

“It doesn’t really matter where they are in the standings," coach Terry Murray said. "I think the conference is so close, so tight, that anybody beats anybody on any given night."

The Kings have lost back-to-back games to start a seven-game homestand -- something that doesn't make Murray happy.

"We go out on the road and play so many games to get to this point," he said. "We’re a very good hockey club. We’ve won a lot of big games, critical games, come-from-behind games on the road, and that’s the kind of effort that we have to bring home to play, right now. We didn’t respond in the first period."

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

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