Martin reaches milestone in Panthers' win

by Brian Hunter /
Craig Anderson's 31 saves were enough to give Florida a 2-1 win and Panthers coach Jacques Martin his 500th career victory.

The Florida Panthers made Jacques Martin’s 500th win an extra special one — they came from behind in the third period, on the road, against Martin Brodeur and the New Jersey Devils.

Radek Dvorak ( 700K ) and David Booth ( 700K) scored 1:17 apart early in the third and backup goaltender Craig Anderson made 31 saves as the Panthers walked out of Prudential Center with a 2-1 win that marked a milestone for their coach.

Martin, in his third season with Florida, also coached the Ottawa Senators for nine seasons. He is the 10th NHL coach to reach the 500-win plateau.

“I’ve been very fortunate to work in this league, the best league in the world and to have some good players to coach,” said Martin, who is also Florida's general manager. Anderson picked up his second victory this season and credited everyone who dressed for Florida with assisting.

“I think we had all 20 guys going tonight,” Anderson said. “There weren’t any passengers, there wasn’t one guy who carried the load. It was all 20 guys, whether it was talking on the bench, making a hit, taking a hit to make a play. Guys really put their bodies on the line tonight in order to secure the victory for the team.”

The Panthers trailed 1-0 in the third and Brodeur was more than two-thirds of the way toward the 97th shutout of his career when the game’s momentum suddenly changed.

Dvorak tied the score at 2:28 when he pounced on the rebound of Brett McLean’s shot. Brodeur made a stick save on McLean but was victimized by Dvorak’s shot.

A fortuitous bounce off the boards led to Booth’s game-winner at 3:45. Ruslan Salei fired a shot that missed the net, but the puck caromed off the end boards and right to Booth for the tap-in past a helpless Brodeur.

Anderson secured the win by stopping Brian Gionta from the slot ( 700K ) with 2½ minutes remaining. His other victory was a 38-save effort in a 4-3 overtime victory on Jan. 3 at the New York Islanders.

“It’s good to get in here and get a couple wins up here in the north, play in front of some big crowds and take away two points in somebody else’s building,” said Anderson, who gave All-Star netminder Tomas Vokoun a night off.

Travis Zajac scored his fifth goal in seven games ( 700K), staking the Devils to a 1-0 lead at 1:10 of the second, but New Jersey’s problems on the power play continued. The Devils had four straight man advantages in the second but came up empty. They finished 0-for-5 with the extra man and are 0-for-12 in their last four games.

“Obviously we need to score — when we have that many in a row, the power play has to come up big,” Gionta said. “You have to bury a team. It’s a 1-0 game at that point — we score one or two goals on those five, six chances, we make them pay.”

Hurricanes 7, Oilers 2 | Video

With their opponent from the 2006 Stanley Cup Final back in town, the Hurricanes played like champs again, instead of a team fighting just to make the playoffs.

A big night by Eric Staal helped vault Carolina back into first place in the Southeast Division and send the Oilers to their third straight loss. The teams met in Raleigh for the first time since Carolina won the Cup with a Game 7 victory in June 2006.

Staal had a third-period hat trick, including a successful penalty shot ( 700K), and Rod Brind’Amour extended his points streak to four games with a goal ( 700K) and two assists.

“We needed something to make us feel better,” Staal said.

“It hasn't been good the last little while. We needed a win at home to rejuvenate everyone, get that fire in everyone's belly, and we did that tonight.”

Sergei Samsonov ( 700K ), Chad Larose ( 700K ) and Tim Gleason also scored for Carolina, which broke the game open with five goals in the third and leaped from 10th in the Eastern Conference standings all the way to third by taking the Southeast Division lead.

“It didn't matter what team was rolling in here tonight,” Carolina goalie Cam Ward said. “We knew we had to play a good hockey game, and I think the big thing for us was that we came out, right from the drop of the puck, and kind of dictated the tempo of the game.”

Added Staal: “Everyone just had one of those attitudes where we weren’t going to be stopped.”

Gleason snapped a 1-1 tie and put the Hurricanes in front to stay ( 700K) with 4:17 left in the second period — and the third belonged mostly to Staal.

Staal beat Edmonton goalie Mathieu Garon at 4:13 ( 700K) when he controlled his own rebound, skated around the net and put a wraparound past Garon’s left pad. Awarded a penalty shot after being hooked by Sheldon Souray at 9:48, Staal beat a backpedaling Garon with a wrist shot to his stick side, making it 4-1 and prompting the angry goalie to smack the goal post with his elbow.

“After the fourth goal, it was over, and it didn’t get any better, that’s for sure,” Edmonton coach Craig MacTavish said. “The veterans tonight didn’t pull their weight. We needed more from them at the outset.”

Samsonov and Larose added goals to chase Garon before Staal completed his fourth career hat trick by beating backup Dwayne Roloson on a knuckling one-timer ( 700K) with 19.6 seconds left. Staal has a team-leading 26 goals.

Patrick Thoresen ( 700K) and Andrew Cogliano ( 700K) scored for the Oilers, who put only 18 shots on Ward — the Conn Smythe winner in Carolina’s run to the Cup.

Sabres 10, Thrashers 1 | Video

Losing 10 straight had to be incredibly frustrating for the Sabres, who vented their frustration at the expense of the visiting Thrashers. Drew Stafford ( 700K) and Derek Roy ( 700K) sparked a 10-goal outburst with hat tricks as the Sabres snapped an 0-5-5 slide and won for the first time since a 6-5 shootout victory over the Flyers in Philadelphia on Dec. 22.

“We weren't trying to do anything fancy, we were just trying to outwork them,” Stafford ( 700K) said. “It feels good to finally win.”

Buffalo had scored just 16 goals during the 10 games and suffered six one-goal defeats, including three consecutive shootout losses. With a seven-game road trip about to start, it was good to head out with some positive vibes.

“It doesn't happen often, scoring 10 goals in a game,” Roy ( 700K) said. “I think everybody was anxious to get out there and contribute.”

Thomas Vanek ( 700K), Jochen Hecht ( 700K) and Ales Kotalik ( 700K) each added a goal and an assist, and Daniel Paille started the outburst in the opening two minutes with a slapper that beat Atlanta goalie Johan Hedberg ( 700K).

Hedberg was pulled 12:41 into the first period after giving up four goals. Kari Lehtonen gave up the next three before Hedberg returned for the third period. The 10 goals were the most allowed in Atlanta’s franchise history.

“This feeling is something I don't want to feel again,” Hedberg said.

Colin Stuart’s shorthanded tally ( 700K) was the only bright spot for Atlanta, which dropped out of first in the Southeast Division with Carolina’s 7-2 win over Edmonton.

“It’s our most embarrassing loss in a long, long time,” captain Bobby Holik said. “I don’t think the team needs losses like this to learn from.”

Buffalo had a 49-24 shot advantage and got 23 saves from Ryan Miller.

Ducks 4, Wild 2 | Video

Anaheim celebrated the five-year anniversary of its last regular season win in Minnesota by solving the Wild for the first time this season, extending the Ducks’ recent hot streak.

Todd Bertuzzi's two goals were the bookends in Anaheim's 4-2 victory over Minnesota.

Todd Bertuzzi opened the scoring in the first period and closed it in the third, while Corey Perry and Chris Pronger had goals in between for Anaheim, now 12-2-2 since the return of Scott Niedermayer and a trade for Doug Weight.

The line of Bertuzzi, Perry and Ryan Getzlaf was responsible for nine points in the win.

“Any time you have three big-bodied, skilled people that have been able to provide some form of offense, historically, it's an easy match trying to find the right mix,” Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle said.

The Ducks are also 8-0-1 in their last nine games, but were only 10-11-2 on the road entering Friday. They were also 0-2 against the Wild and goalie Josh Harding, and hadn’t won a regular season game in Minnesota since Jan. 18, 2003.

Anaheim built a 3-0 lead with Ryan Getzlaf factoring in on all three goals. Bertuzzi had the first period’s lone goal, finishing off a 3-on-1 by taking a Getzlaf pass and driving the puck past Harding before his knee collided with Harding’s head and knocked the goalie’s helmet off ( 700K).

Getzlaf extended his points streak to a career-high 13 games. Bertuzzi and Perry, who also assisted on the opening goal, have six-game point streaks.

“I'm having a blast,” Bertuzzi said. “I think it's kind of like being 33 and playing 23, when you're playing with those two. They keep you young. Not only on the ice, but in the room.”

Bertuzzi's drop pass set up Perry's successful slap shot in the second period ( 700K), and the flustered Wild gave up a five-on-three goal to Pronger minutes later ( 700K). Marian Gaborik was mad about an offside call that squelched a short-handed breakaway for him and Pavol Demitra, drawing an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.

“We just came out flat,” the Wild’s Mark Parrish said. He added: “I don’t know whether it’s nerves, or we’re too loose, or what it is.”

Minnesota rallied with a pair of goals 14 seconds apart against the Ducks’ Jonas Hiller, giving Jean-Sebastien Giguere a night off. Nick Schultz converted a Gaborik pass at 10:33 ( 700K) and Mikko Koivu drilled the puck home from just inside the blue line to make it a 3-2 game ().

Bertuzzi worked his way in the slot midway through the third and converted Perry’s feed to give the Ducks some insurance ( 700K).

Flames 6, Kings 1 | Video

Newly-signed backup Curtis Joseph was in uniform for the Calgary Flames, but Miikka Kiprusoff displayed why he’s still the No. 1 goaltender in town. Kiprusoff stopped 37 saves and Daymond Langkow had his third career hat trick as the Flames kept up their red-hot pace on home ice. Calgary has picked up at least a point in 11 of their last 12 at the Pengrowth Saddledome.

The Flames also took over first place in the Northwest Division, leapfrogging over the Minnesota Wild and Vancouver Canucks.

"It felt good, after the way we won the game last night," Langkow said of Calgary's 3-2 shootout win in Minnesota on Thursday. "It was good, coming from a game where you got chance after chance and didn't score."

Craig Conroy, Stephane Yelle and Matthew Lombardi also scored for the Flames, who are due plenty of rest with the All-Star break coming. Their game Tuesday with Minnesota marks their only action in the next 11 days.

Kiprusoff’s goals-against is up and his save percentage is down this season, but his 24 wins are still among the lead leaders. He has started 25 straight games and 48 of 49 this season.

Kiprusoff was at his finest against the last-place Kings. After a sequence of spectacular stops with the Kings on a power play midway through the third period, chants of “Kipper! Kipper!” could be heard from the appreciative crowd, many of whom stood up to applaud the Finnish goaltender.

Langkow's last three-goal game was nearly five years ago, on Jan. 24, 2003 against Edmonton while he played for Phoenix. He has six goals and seven assists in his last 10 games.

After Conroy staked the Flames to a 1-0 lead ( 700K) at 7:27 of the first, Langkow followed just over three minutes later with what proved to be the game-winner ( 700K). He was set up neatly in the slot by Kristian Huselius after Kings defenseman Rob Blake gave the puck away deep in his own end.

Langkow made it 3-0 midway through the second, this time a recipient of a nice feed from Jarome Iginla. Spotting Langkow in the slot as he cruised behind the net, Iginla set him up for a one-timer. Langkow completed the hat trick in the third by deflecting an Adrian Aucoin slap shot past Jean-Sebastien Aubin.

"We made far too many mistakes both in the offensive zone and defensive zone," Kings head coach Marc Crawford said. "They won a lot more puck battles than we did. In the second, we started to play a little bit better, but the bounces didn't go our way and they were so much quicker."

Blackhawks 2, Avalanche 1, SO | Video

Robert Lang has scored 229 goals during a distinguished NHL career, but he had never been successful in a shootout — until Friday night, when he scored to give the Blackhawks a win in Denver

After Patrick Lalime stopped Colorado’s T.J. Hensick in the fourth round of the tiebreaker, Lang skated in on Jose Theodore and beat him with a forehand shot to the goalie’s stick side, just inside the right post, bringing the Blackhawks off the bench in celebration of their third straight win.

''We went through a little skid,'' Lang said of Chicago’s recent eight-game losing streak. ''The last three games people stepped up and filled the gaps for the guys that are missing.''

Patrick Kane scored early in the first period ( 700K) and again in the shootout for Chicago. Andrew Brunette tied the score for the Avalanche ( 700K) less than six minutes after Kane’s goal and Milan Hejduk extended the shootout by beating Lalime in the third round. Theodore then stopped Martin Havlat, but couldn’t come up with Lang’s shot.

“I didn’t expect him to go to my blocker,” Theodore said. “He caught me off guard.”

The Avalanche played without center Paul Stastny, who will miss at least two weeks after undergoing an appendectomy on Thursday. Stastny was selected to represent the Avalanche in the All-Star Game in Atlanta on Jan. 27 but will not play.

Colorado coach Joel Quenneville thought his team responded well to being short-handed.

“There was a lot of energy in the team, guys working hard and doing what they can,” Quenneville said. “How we play without the puck is important. We have to be strong in all areas of the ice.”

Meanwhile, Lalime backstopped the Blackhawks to another win by making 12 of his 22 saves in the opening 20 minutes.

''The difference has been our goaltending,'' Chicago coach Denis Savard said.

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