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Leafs roll to 5-2 win at Edmonton

by John Kreiser / NHL.com
The Toronto Maple Leafs won't be leaving Alberta empty-handed.

Two nights after a 4-3 loss to Calgary, the Leafs rebounded with a solid 5-2 victory over the Oilers in Edmonton. Tomas Kaberle had a goal and two assists, and the Leafs connected three times on the power play to move back over .500 at 7-6-4.

"For us, coming off of Calgary, we wanted to establish something early tonight and in Calgary the last game they handed it to us pretty good," said Matt Stajan, who set up three goals. "Actually, the Oilers took it to us early. We wanted to make sure that we're ready to go and obviously we've got to be physical too.

WHAT FANS ARE SAYING

"Great game and I appreciated the hitting and physical play..."

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"They've got a lot of skill on that team so you've got to make sure you're physical and good players."

Nikolai Kulemin, Nik Antropov, Ian White and Mikhail Grabovski also had goals for the Leafs, who hadn't played in Edmonton since January 2006.

Edmonton coach Craig MacTavish praised the Leafs while criticizing his team's play in their first game home after a seven-game trip.

''I give credit because they are a hard-working group that is structured and we lack that structure in our game right now,'' MacTavish said. ''And that's why we got pounded.''

Sam Gagner's first-period goal gave the Oilers the lead, but Toronto took the lead in the second when Kaberle scored a power-play goal at 2:47 and had his power-play slapper tipped in by Kulemin at 4:32.

Ethan Moreau tied it by beating Vesa Toskala at 7:24, but Antropov scored on a wrist shot from the slot with 1:01 left in the period to put Toronto ahead to stay.

''We spent a lot of time in our zone in the second period and had some penalties to try and kill off and that was the momentum shift,'' Oilers defenseman Steve Staios said.

The Leafs added insurance when Jason Blake stole the puck and fed White for a blast past Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers at 5:05 to make it 4-2. Mikhail Grabovski's power-play goal at 13:22 completed the scoring.

Antropov felt the success of the Leafs' power play was the key.

"The PP was clicking for us, and if the power play is clicking there's more than a 50 per cent chance that you're going to win the game," he said. "That's what happened to us."

Red Wings 4, Lightning 3 | Video

Chris Osgood wasn't flawless against the Lightning, but he's still perfect against them. Osgood stopped just 15 of 18 shots, but that was good enough to improve to 17-0 lifetime against the Bolts, the best active unbeaten mark by a goaltender against any team.

"I think Ozzie would thank his teammates," Detroit coach Mike Babcock said. "Ozzie bails us out some nights, and we bailed him out tonight."

Tampa Bay actually led 2-0 after one period on goals by Jussi Jokinen and Mark Recchi. Pavel Datsyuk cut the deficit to one goal before a parade to the penalty box late in the second turned the game around. The Lightning paid for taking three penalties in an 18-second span during the final half-minute when Henrik Zetterberg and Mikael Samuelsson scored early in the third period to give Detroit a 3-2 lead.

"For about four minutes in the second period we were brain dead," Lightning coach Barry Melrose said after his team's third consecutive loss. "Three terrible penalties. You can't give the best team in the world a two-minute, 5-on-3 and another two-minute, 5-on-4. Detroit doesn't do that. Detroit doesn't beat itself. Tonight we beat ourselves."

Zetterberg tied it at 2-2 during a two-man advantage by beating Olaf Kolzig from in-close at 1:38. Samuelsson's shot from the top of the right circle beat Kolzig at 2:30 to put the Wings ahead to stay.

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"We know we have good players on it, and we had a good start on it," Zetterberg said of the Wings' potent power play. "It gives us confidence to go in and do what we want and make the right plays. When you score goals, the confidence keeps growing."

Johan Franzen extended the lead to 4-2 at 9:21 before Matt Pettinger cut the Lightning's deficit to a goal with 4:18 left.

Kolzig was the only reason the Bolts had a chance. Tampa Bay was outshot 39-18 for the game and 32-12 in the final two periods.

"We were doing fine until we got those [penalties]," Recchi said. "It really just changed the momentum of the game. There's some bright spots and some things we've got to keep working on."

Sharks 6, Flames 1 | Video

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San Jose must have been upset after seeing its perfect home season ended by Nashville on Tuesday. The Sharks came out roaring and blasted the Flames as Joe Pavelski and Milan Michalek each scored twice and San Jose's defense set a team record with nine assists.

After blowing a 2-0 lead and losing 4-3 to the Predators on Tuesday despite getting 57 shots on goal, the Sharks came out and put the game away with four first-period goals, never letting the Flames get into the game.

"One you get a team down a couple, you can't give them any life," said Rob Blake, one of three San Jose defensemen, along with Dan Boyle and Christian Ehrhoff, to be credited with three assists. "We let Nashville hang around and have life, and we saw what happened. Once you get two, you want to get three, you want to get a fourth. We were able to do that tonight."

Pavelski knocked in a rebound at 8:04 and Michalek beat Miikka Kiprusoff after a deke 27 seconds later. Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton added goals off rebounds before the end of the first period for a 4-0 lead.

"When you get down 4-0, it's tough to climb back," Calgary defenseman Mark Giordano said. "You can't give a team like this a four-goal lead."

Michalek got his second against Curtis McElhinney 1:18 into the second period and Pavelski shoveled in a rebound during a 5-on-3 advantage 3:35 into the third. Michael Cammalleri spoiled Brian Boucher's shutout bid with 9:47 left.

"We're trying to learn to win, whether the score is 4-1 or 1-1 — it doesn't matter what the score is," said Pavelski, whose team must be quick learners — they're tops in the NHL with a 14-3-1 record and 29 points. "We want to come out and play the same way every night. We did that at times tonight, but there's room for improvement."

The Sharks, who average more than 38 shots a game, outshot Calgary 46-24.

"They kept coming and put pucks on the net," Giordano said. "It was one of those nights we couldn't get anything going."
 
Islanders 3, Senators 1 | Video

Less than five months after he was drafted at Scotiabank Place, Josh Bailey got his first NHL point there, setting up New York's first goal as the Islanders ended a three-game losing streak with a rare win over the Senators.

The 19-year-old center, chosen No. 9 by the Islanders in the 2008 Entry Draft, made a nice pass into the slot to set up Kyle Okposo's power-play goal at 12:42 of the opening period, tying the game 1-1. Filip Kuba's power-play goal 1:53 into the game had put Ottawa in front.

"I heard him," Bailey said when asked about Okposo yelling for the puck. "He was in the right spot."

Coach Scott Gordon has been impressed with Bailey's first two games.

"I think Josh has done a great job in a very short amount of time," Gordon said. "His puck poise, just the patience he has with the puck, is the biggest thing he has going for him."

 
 


The Senators lost their third straight after a 4-0-1 spurt and fell to 36-11-11-1 lifetime against the Islanders, who won for only the seventh time in 30 visits to Ottawa. The teams meet again Saturday on Long Island. Joey MacDonald made 29 saves, 16 in the third period.

"Five-on-five, we were struggling to create some chances and get quality," center Mike Fisher said. "For whatever reason, it's not happening. It's disappointing, for sure, but we've got to just keep plugging away and sticking to the plan."

Trent Hunter's power-play goal at 17:30 of the second period snapped the 1-1 tie, and Bill Guerin finished off a terrific pass by Doug Weight 2:31 into the third period to give the Islanders some insurance.

It came in handy after Thomas Pock was assessed a five-minute major for elbowing at 15:44 of the third period for elbowing Ryan Shannon. The Islanders killed that off without incident until Richard Park was called for slashing with 45.2 seconds remaining. But the Isles were able to kill off the rest of the time despite skating 3-on-6.

"We certainly didn't make it easy on ourselves," Gordon said. "With the way our penalty kill has been playing, maybe it was a good thing to end with them on the ice."

Wild 4, Coyotes 0 | Video

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A tweak on the power play paid big dividends for the Wild, which scored four goals with the man advantage to beat Phoenix for the ninth consecutive time.

Shortly before the game, the coaching staff adjusted the power play to have the defensemen go wider, a move designed to produce more shots from the point and open things up more. The Wild, 1-for-21 with a man advantage in their previous five games, finished 4-for-7. Marek Zidlicky and Andrew Brunette scored in the second period, and Eric Belanger and Zidlicky beat Ilya Bryzgalov in the third.

"We didn't even practice it. I guess sometimes when the players don't know what they're doing it works," Belanger said. "It's really hard in this league to score goals 5-on-5. The system and everything is really good. It's hard to get some chances close to the net, the goaltenders are so great. Your power play is going to get you a lot of goals. It got us going."

Niklas Backstrom did the rest, making 24 saves to improve to 8-0 lifetime against the Coyotes with a 1.13 goals-against average and three shutouts.

"It was probably one of the best games for us this season for 60 minutes," Backstrom said. "We didn't give them anything. Our PK was really strong today. We took a lot of penalties, but we killed them. I think that's the sign of a good team."

The Coyotes went 0-for-6 on the power play and saw their three-game winning streak ended — emphatically.

"It was a good old fashioned butt-kicking," coach Wayne Gretzky said. "They played as a team. We played as individuals. They deserved to beat us. They outskated us at each end of the ice."

Kings 3, Stars 2 | Video

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The bad blood that was anticipated after the Kings' physical 3-2 win over Dallas in Los Angeles on Tuesday never materialized. Neither did the victory Dallas fans had expected over a team their club had dominated at home.

Michal Handzus and Kyle Quincey scored power-play goals and Erik Ersberg made 24 saves to help the Kings extend their winning streak to four games and won for just the second time in their last nine visits to the American Airlines Center.

"I thought it would be a little more physical," said L.A.'s Dustin Brown, who was involved in a late-game fight with Dallas' Brenden Morrow two nights earlier. "But it's always physical when we play Dallas."

Jarret Stoll scored his sixth goal of the season for the young Kings, who played harder than the veteran Stars.
"We seem to be a flat team, with a lead or when we're down a goal.  We're getting a good shift followed by a bad one. Then we get pressed again and a goal will go in against us. We're a foot short. We're throwing the puck at the net but we're not relentless enough to follow up." -- Brenden Morrow


"Our work ethic wasn't there and until we realize it, we'll keep going down in the standings," defenseman Stephane Robidas said. "They're a young team without a lot of experience, but all their guys work hard. I think we've hit bottom. If you're not willing to put your work boots on, it's going to be hard to win in this league."

Second-period goals by Handzus and Stoll put the Kings ahead 2-0 before Brad Richards fired a slap shot past Erik Ersberg with 22 seconds left in the second period.

Quincey's power-play goal 3:24 into the third period made it a two-goal game again, and all the Stars could manage was a power-play goal by Mike Modano with 5:17 remaining.

"We seem to be a flat team, with a lead or when we're down a goal," Morrow said after the Stars dropped into the Pacific Division cellar. "We're getting a good shift followed by a bad one. Then we get pressed again and a goal will go in against us. We're a foot short. We're throwing the puck at the net but we're not relentless enough to follow up."

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





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