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Kiprusoff leads Flames to 2-0 win

by John Kreiser and Brian Hunter /
Unfortunately for the Detroit Red Wings, there were no goals available for purchase on Black Friday.

The Wings pumped 40 shots at Miikka Kiprusoff on Friday night, and the Calgary Flames goaltender stopped every one of them in a 3-0 win at Joe Louis Arena. On the heels of a 2-0 home loss to Atlanta on Wednesday, the Wings have now been blanked in consecutive games for the first time since December 2001. They hadn't been shut out two straight at home since March 1977.

Jamie Lundmark scored 28 seconds into the game and Kiprusoff made that goal hold up with his 32nd career shutout as the Flames moved into first place in the Northwest Division.

They managed only 17 shots on Chris Osgood, but two more went in, as Nigel Dawes lit the lamp late in the first period and Olli Jokinen added some insurance 25 seconds into the third.

Detroit coach Mike Babcock was staying positive, praising the overall effort of his players despite a scoreless streak that reached 153 minutes, 22 seconds.

"I thought our team worked from the start to the finish. I thought we had a lot of good players and did a lot of good things," Babcock said. "We've got to stay the course and we'll break through this and we'll be a better team for it."

Lundmark put the game's opening shot past Osgood, one-timing feed from Jokinen. Dawes made it 2-0 on a fluke play, with the Wings' Pavel Datsyuk accidentally poking a loose puck into his own net. Lundmark returned the earlier favor and set up Jokinen for a one-timer from the right circle to cap the scoring.

Brad Stuart thought he had tied the score with 5:27 left in the first, but his apparent power-play goal was disallowed because teammate Dan Cleary was in the crease.

Kiprusoff made 32 of his saves in the first two periods, when the Wings carried the play but had nothing to show for it.

"He definitely kept us in the game," Lundmark said. "He had over 30 shots over the first two periods."

The Wings have lost five of six at Joe Louis, including four straight for the first time in almost two years.

"I thought we had lots of chances," Babcock said. "I thought their goalie was good. I thought we scored a power-play goal. I thought we had some great chances -- I know Ville Leino had an unbelievable shot and Kiprusoff made a great save. I haven't been through the whole game to break it down yet, but I thought we played pretty good."

Thrashers 6, Hurricanes 4 | HIGHLIGHTS

Rich Peverley capped a four-goal rally in a span of less than seven minutes in the third period with the go-ahead score, and Atlanta put five on the board in the final 20 minutes to stun Carolina at the RBC Center.

The Hurricanes carried a seemingly safe 4-1 lead into the third, but the Thrashers tied it with three goals just 2:39 apart by Vyacheslav Kozlov, Ilya Kovalchuk and Maxim Afinogenov.

Peverley then took a Bryan Little pass on a seemingly harmless rush and snapped it over the shoulder of Manny Legace with 6:03 remaining to give the Thrashers a 5-4 lead. Marty Reasoner hit the empty net with 1:03 left to complete the outburst, as Atlanta tied a franchise record for third-period goals.

"I just tried to take my man out, and Bryan Little made a great play -- he heard me screaming all the way down the ice," Peverley said. "It was a great pass by Bryan there."

Carolina was looking for its fourth straight win at home and appeared well on its way after Matt Cullen's shorthanded goal with 1:35 left in the second put the 'Canes up by three. Erik Cole, Stephane Yelle and Sergei Samsonov had also beaten Ondrej Pavelec, with Evander Kane's score midway through the second the only answer from Atlanta.

"This is a tough one -- really tough," Carolina's Tom Kostopoulos said. "I think we kind of thought we had it and already had the two points on the board."

Everything changed when Kozlov took advantage of soft defense by the Hurricanes and converted Little's pass 6:21 into the third. Kovalchuk cut the deficit to one 48 seconds later, wristing a shot past Legace from a sharp angle after taking a nifty Tobias Enstrom pass from the slot.

Kovalchuk then made the key play on Afinogenov's tying goal at the nine-minute mark, drawing the Carolina defense as he held the puck before passing to Afinogenov, who drove to the net and put a backhander between Legace's pads.

"Thank God for third periods," Atlanta coach John Anderson said with a laugh. "I think we get excited and then we start to move. The thing that bothered me in the two periods, it wasn't our lack of effort, it was just a lack of doing what we designed as a coaching staff for them to do. So between the periods we just talked exactly about what we wanted to do, our breakouts, our neutral zone, just got back to the basics and had a little bit of jump in the third."

Not only was the loss tough to take, Hurricanes defenseman Joni Pitkanen sat out the third after suffering an upper-body injury.

"Maybe they felt it was a nice comfortable game," Carolina coach Paul Maurice said of his players. "They were getting lots of chances and then decided the back half of the game wasn't too important to them in the third." 

Wild 5, Avalanche 3 | HIGHLIGHTS

Chuck Kobasew, a 20-goal scorer in his last two seasons with Boston, hadn't done much offensively since being traded to Minnesota last month. Until Friday.

Kobasew had his second career hat trick and Andrew Brunette got the game-winner on a third-period power play as the Wild enjoyed a rare offensive outburst and beat Colorado in the opener of a home-and-home series. Owen Nolan had the Wild's other goal, Mikko Koivu had three assists and Niclas Backstrom made 31 saves.

"It's nice to contribute. You want to be a part of it, especially offensively," said Kobasew, who hit the empty net with 17.9 seconds left to complete his second career hat trick. The other was Jan. 24, 2006, at Colorado.

It was his second game back after missing the previous four with an upper-body injury.

"He had a couple of other opportunities almost from the same area of the ice, in the middle. He just wasn't able to get the shots off. Tonight he was rewarded with two really nice goals," coach Todd Richards said.

With Antti Miettinen missing two games due to illness, Kobasew has stepped in on a line with Koivu and Brunette. Don't expect Richards to break up his new line anytime soon.

"I'm just trying to pick up on their tendencies and get them the puck," Kobasew said. "Those guys are the skill guys and I let them make their plays and just try to find a spot where I can be open and be an option for them."

Kyle Quincey, Paul Stastny and Chris Stewart scored for Colorado, which has dropped four of its last five and is 1-5-4 in its last 10 trips to Minnesota.

"If we take it to them like they took it to us in the third, I think we come out on top," forward Matt Duchene said.

Kobasew twice gave the Wild the lead in the second period, only to have Stastny and Stewart putt the Avs even. Brunette put Minnesota ahead to stay at 11:02 of the third by taking a pass across the crease from Koivu and lifting the puck over a sprawled Craig Anderson for his team-leading ninth goal and sixth on the power play.

Sabres 4, Flyers 2 | HIGHLIGHTS

Tim Connolly must have found his scoring touch over the holiday. Connolly set up Buffalo's first two goals before scoring twice in the third period to give the Sabres their first win since beating the Flyers at the Wachovia Center 13 days ago.

Connolly lifted a wrist shot from the slot high over goaltender Ray Emery at 5:27 of the third period to break a 2-2 tie. He scored again at 10:18 when his shot bounced in off Emery's mask.

"We played desperate just like we did the last time in this building," said Connolly, who hadn't scored since getting a pair against Toronto on Oct. 30. "All of the guys were really into the game and I think we like these physical games."

Drew Stafford and Paul Gaustad also scored as the Sabres ended a four-game losing streak. Stafford started the scoring 8:19 into the game, and Gaustad got Buffalo even at 2-2 with a power-play goal at 6:09 of the second.

Mike Richards and Braydon Coburn scored 30 seconds apart in the final minute of the first period to give the Flyers a 2-1 lead at the first intermission. But those were the only shots to beat Ryan Miller, who finished with 31 saves.

The Flyers were playing their first home game after a five-game trip that ended with a come-from-behind 2-1 win over the Islanders on Wednesday.

"We just feel a little empty right now," Philadelphia's Scott Hartnell said. "We were riding high after that late win on Long Island, but they were fired up to come in here and play."

Lightning 5, Rangers 1 | HIGHLIGHTS

John Tortorella got a warm greeting from the crowd at the St. Pete Times Forum in his first trip back after being fired as coach of the Lightning -- the team he led to the Stanley Cup in 2004. That was about all that went right for him and his current team, as the Lightning blitzed the Rangers behind two goals by Kurtis Foster and three assists by Martin St. Louis.

"We were simply outplayed tonight, from the top line to the goaltender," said Tortorella, who spent seven years behind the Lightning bench. "We were outplayed, and the best thing about tonight is we play tomorrow. We stunk tonight. It was an embarrassing loss. Let's leave it at that."

Steve Stamkos scored 6:54 into the game and Foster got his first on a power-play one-timer at 19:24. Steve Downie and Paul Szczechura made it 4-0 after two, and Foster scored again in the third period Ryan Callahan's late goal spoiled Mike Smith's shutout.

Foster, who came into the game with just one goal, didn't think the team's play had anything to do with Tortorella's presence. Whatever the reason, it was a vast improvement from the effort in a 4-3 loss to Toronto two nights earlier.

"It wasn't much of Tortorella being in the building, but there were a lot of us not happy with the game against Toronto," Foster said. "We wanted to bring our 'A' game tonight so we'd get the win."

Maple Leafs 6, Panthers 4 | HIGHLIGHTS

Don't blame Niklas Hagman if he doesn't want to leave Florida. Hagman followed up a two-goal performance on Wednesday by scoring twice more -- including the go-ahead goal with 7:34 left in regulation -- as the Leafs beat the Panthers to complete a Sunshine State sweep.

"It's nice to have a streak like this," said Hagman, who has 6 goals in his last four games overall. "I've been fortunate when I am getting chances I manage to put it in. You don't want to think about it too much."

Phil Kessel also scored twice for Toronto, including the tying goal 4:20 into the third period -- just 13 seconds after rookie Dmitry Kulikov put the Panthers ahead with a power-play goal.

"For us, four goals has to be enough to win," Panthers coach Pete DeBoer said. "We didn't do enough tonight, keeping the puck out of our own end, as a group, to deserve a win."

Florida led 2-0 just 2:04 into the game on goals by Radek Dvorak and Michael Frolik. But Kessel scored at 12:17, and Hagman pulled the Leafs even by beating Tomas Vokoun at 2:20.

Kulikov scored at 8:11 to put Florida back in front, but Alex Ponikarovsky tied the game again with a power-play goal at 14:33.

"Maybe the worm is finally turning for us," Toronto coach Ron Wilson said. "We've been out-shooting everybody and we've got a couple of really confident guys in Phil and Hagman, who have just found a way to get in the net."

Blues 3, Predators 1 | HIGHLIGHTS

Former Predator Chris Mason snapped his old team's seven-game winning streak with a 37-save performance in Nashville.

"It was emotional," Mason said after beating his old team in his former home arena. "The Predators are known for their work ethic. That's what puts them above other teams. They never quit. If the ref doesn't blow the whistle their players are not going to stop."

Brad Boyes snapped a scoreless tie at 18:35 of the second period, and David Backes made it 2-0 at 6:23 of the third. Dave Scatchard got the Preds within a goal when he scored with 6:35 to go, but Paul Kariya restored the Blues' two-goal lead less than two minutes later.

The Blues held Nashville's power play scoreless in five tries.

"We knew that they were hot on the power play," Mason said. "We knew the power play had been a big part of their recent winning streak. First of all, we wanted to stay out of the box. We took a few penalties, but the penalty kill did a great job."

With his team's winning streak over, Nashville coach Barry Trotz is ready to start the next one.

"Now we are on a one-game losing streak," Trotz said. "The most important game of the season is Saturday night, plain and simple.

"We've got to start another winning streak. You don't want to go backwards at all. We will show our maturity in the way we respond these next couple of nights."

Coyotes 5, Stars 2 | HIGHLIGHTS

Phoenix scored just once while losing both games of an Alberta road trip this week. But the Coyotes broke out of their slump back at Arena, with Lauri Korpikoski scoring his first two goals of the season.

Seeing the red light finally go on was a big confidence boost for Korpikoski, who came over from the Rangers in an off-season deal.

"You lose so much confidence when you're not scoring," said Korpikoski, who failed to earn a point in his first 16 games as a Coyote. "It's a different game when you get the first one, everything slows down for you and you start to make plays with confidence again."

Phoenix also got goals from Robert Lang, Adrian Aucoin and Zbynek Michalek, while Matthew Lombardi and Scottie Upshall each added three assists. The Coyotes have won five in a row over Dallas.

"I thought we used our speed to our advantage and with Lombo up the middle, he was skating great and making plays," Upshall said. "We were tough in those tough areas and we got pucks out and battled around the net and that's where we found our goals."

The Stars trailed 5-0 before third-period goals by Brenden Morrow and Mike Ribeiro made the game look closer.

"They capitalized on the chances they got," Stars coach Mark Crawford said. "Our impatience really showed. They got a couple of opportunities because we turned the puck over because of our impatience."

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