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Montreal tops Ottawa 5-4 in shootout

by John Kreiser
The Montreal Canadiens blew one two-goal lead. They made sure it wouldn't happen again.

The Canadiens couldn't hold a 4-2 lead midway through the third period of Saturday night's game at Ottawa, as goals by Dany Heatley and Mike Fisher got the Senators even — with Fisher's goal at 18:13 sending the game to overtime.

But after a scoreless five minutes, Alex Kovalev and Maxim Lapierre scored in the shootout and Jaroslav Halak stopped Jason Spezza and Daniel Alfredsson to give the Canadiens a 5-4 victory.

The Canadiens were happy with the two points, if not necessarily how they got them.

''It's something that we've talked about. Going into the third period with the lead, we want to be able to shut the door and take pride in playing defensively,'' defenseman Mike Komisarek said. ''More than anything, it was a drop off in our game a little bit and they picked up their game, and it showed.''

Halak, who's filling in for injured starter Carey Price, made 23 saves through 65 minutes, though he allowed three goals, including two by Heatley, in the third period.

''He's making the save when it needs to be done and he's winning games, so that's the most important thing,'' Canadiens coach Guy Carbonneau said.

Montreal improved to 11-2-1 in its last 14 games — and made up two points on Boston in the Northeast Division race after the Bruins lost at Washington.

''The biggest thing is we got the two points, and Boston lost tonight, so that's huge for us,'' Lapierre said. ''We're on a hot streak right now. It doesn't matter how we get the points.''


For most of the night, the Canadiens appeared to be on their way to an easy win. Andrei Kostitsyn scored at 13:32 of the first period to break a 1-1 tie, and Matt D'Agostini's second-period goal gave Montreal a 3-1 lead after 40 minutes.

Heatley made it 3-2 at 5:31 of the final period, but Tom Kostopoulos fired a shot under the arm of goaltender Brian Elliott at the 11-minute mark to restore Montreal's two-goal lead.

Heatley revived the Senators' fans among the sellout crowd at Scotiabank Place by scoring just 33 seconds later, and Fisher blasted a shot from the slot past Halak's glove to force overtime.

Ottawa killed a penalty in overtime but lost quickly in the shootout.

''We showed a lot of resilience to come back and tie the game and get the point,'' center Jason Spezza said. ''It would have been nice to win in the shootout, but we just have to move on.''

Ottawa, which entered with two wins in a row for the fifth time this season, has not won three straight since March 8-13, 2008.

''We're not worried about streaks right now,'' Heatley said.

Stars 3, Kings 2 (SO) | Video

Keeping things simple in the shootout paid off for Dallas' Mike Ribeiro, who eschewed the between-the-legs move he was stopped on Thursday. Ribeiro used a simple wrist shot to score the only goal of the shootout as the Stars got the extra point against Los Angeles.

Ribeiro put the puck between his legs but didn't get close to scoring against Ryan Miller on a backhander in the Stars' loss to Buffalo two days earlier.

"I wanted to make sure to get a shot on net," Ribeiro said. "Goalies don't really know what I'm going to do, and neither do I. I just decided to shoot it."

Ribeiro scored on the first shot of the shootout. Marty Turco stopped all three Kings shooters to give Dallas the win. The Stars rebounded after blowing a 3-0 lead in the loss to Buffalo — and after allowing the Kings to score the tying goal with 16.9 seconds left in regulation. 

"Instead of going the wrong way, we regrouped and played a solid 65 minutes," Stars defenseman Darryl Sydor said. "We had a lot of opportunities and we were able to come up with the extra point in the shootout."

The game was scoreless until the Kings' Dustin Brown beat Turco from the right circle 6:45 into the third period. Jere Lehtinen tied it at 11:29, weaving through the Kings' zone and beating Erik Ersberg from the lower right circle.

It looked like the Stars had won when Darryl Sydor threw the puck at the net and Ribeiro tipped it past Ersberg with 1:12 remaining. However, the Kings were able to pull Ersberg, and Frolov tied the game to earn his team a point.

"There is such a thing as a good point," Los Angeles coach Terry Murray said. "We were playing with a little less confidence. We were more assertive and more aggressive."

The loss was the Kings' fourth in a row.

"It's a better result," Brown said. "But I don't think it was the result we wanted."

Devils 3, Islanders 1 | Video

New Jersey's road warriors had little problem beating an Islander team that can't win at home or away from it. Zach Parise had a goal and an assist as the Devils made it four out of five on their current trip by coasting to victory.

While killing a penalty, Parise took the puck away from goaltender Yann Danis behind the net and shoveled it out front, where Travis Zajac scored an easy shorthanded goal 6:06 into the game.

"Those are types of goals you don't want to give up, especially when you're on a power play early in the game," Danis said. "The puck was spinning and I couldn't stop it, and I realized I didn't have enough time to play it. We tried to battle back, and I made a couple of good saves, but that's obviously not a way you want to start the game."

The Islanders put up little resistance after that on the way to their seventh loss in as many games in 2009. They've scored just one goal in each game while losing the first three of a five-game homestand.

Parise added a power-play goal 57 seconds into the second period and David Clarkson zipped a wrist shot past Danis at 4:58.

"I was pleased with the win," coach Brent Sutter said. "Any time we come on the road like this, we need to move forward like we have been. We're 4-1 on this road trip. I think we played well. Our goaltending has been good; I've said that all along."

The Devils, who won 2-1 at Columbus on Friday, seemed content to spend the rest of the night keeping the Islanders at bay. The only chance to cheer for those in the sellout crowd who hadn’t left came when Blake Comeau broke up Scott Clemmensen's bid for his first shutout of the season by shoveling home a rebound with 9:25 remaining in regulation.

"I almost had it," Clemmensen said of Comeau's rebound goal from the lower left circle. "I think this was as complete a game as we've played in the last two weeks. I think we're building off of our last two wins where we were a little bit up and down. But tonight we were fairly solid throughout most of the game."

That's more than Islanders coach Scott Gordon could say about his team, which was a virtual no-show through two periods.

"I told the guys after two periods we didn't skate," Gordon said. "Third period we came out, we got the puck in places where we can retrieve it. We got the above the puck, got our defensemen as part of the forecheck, and as a result got some opportunities."

The Islanders, who've been plagued by injuries all season, also lost out to a League rule when Columbus claimed goaltender Wade Dubielewicz on waivers to Columbus. They had signed Dubielewicz after he was bought out by his team in Russia, but had to pass him through waivers before he could play — and the Blue Jackets grabbed him to back up rookie sensation Steve Mason.

Sabres 3, Hurricanes 1
| Video

Tim Connolly's grandparents wanted him to score a goal. He wound up getting one for each of them as the weary Sabres held on to hand Carolina its fifth consecutive regulation loss.

Connolly, an oft-injured center playing in only his 11th game of the season, made his grandparents happy by posting his third NHL multi-goal game and first since April 2006.

"I got one for both of them," said Connolly, who told reporters he had received a text message from his father telling him his grandparents wanted him to score.

After Connolly's two goals helped the Sabres to a 3-0 lead, Ryan Miller did the rest. Miller finished with 36 saves and was at his best in the third period, when the Hurricanes outshot Buffalo 19-5. He was flawless after Ray Whitney scored 17 seconds into the final period.

"Miller played great for us," Connolly said. "Whenever he plays like that we're probably going to win the hockey game."

Connolly and defenseman Teppo Numminen scored to give Buffalo a 2-0 lead after one period. Connolly added his second of the night with 3:04 left in the second, giving the Sabres some leeway going into the final period against the struggling 'Canes.
"We're not where we want to be.  We are struggling around both nets, ours and theirs. We'll keep the faith and keep the fight." -- Hurricanes coach Paul Maurice

"We have to keep playing hard and believing in ourselves," Carolina captain Rod Brind'Amour said. "We're not pointing fingers. We're all in it together."

Buffalo came home after a three-game trip that ended in a shootout win at Dallas on Thursday — and begins a six-game trip Monday at Florida. Coach Lindy Ruff said some of his players were gassed in the final minutes.

"At the end of the game, we had some guys who were exhausted," he said.

The regulation losing streak is the longest for the Hurricanes since they dropped the final six games of the 2002-03 season.

"We're not where we want to be," Hurricanes coach Paul Maurice said. "We are struggling around both nets, ours and theirs. We'll keep the faith and keep the fight."

The Sabres have won three straight at home after breaking even there through the first 20 games.

"We're trying to find a game that works at home and on the road," Miller said.

Thrashers 7, Predators 2 | Video

Maybe all the Thrashers needed to start winning was Rich Peverley. The 26-year-old center, claimed on waivers from Nashville, last week, had the overtime winner in Friday's victory over Toronto and followed that with three assists as his new team routed his old one.

"I'm just really happy with the opportunity to not only play with great players, but I get to play penalty kill and power play so it's been good," said Peverley, who has six points in two nights.

Seven players scored as the Thrashers rolled to their biggest offensive night of the season. Atlanta, which scored the last four goals against Toronto after spotting the Leafs a 3-0 lead, got four more in the first period — including three on four shots against Dan Ellis before he was replaced by Pekka Rinne.

Eric Perrin, Colby Armstrong and Ilya Kovalchuk scored in the first 10:48 before Preds coach Barry Trotz changed goaltenders. The switch didn't help; Bryan Little scored on a wraparound at 18:44 and Mathieu Schneider made it 5-0 at 2:06 of the second — dampening the enthusiasm of the Sommet Center crowd.

"It’s embarrassing when you have a sell-out crowd and we put on a performance like that," Nashville captain Jason Arnott said. "I'm surprised they didn’t leave after the first period. We had a talk after the game and we know what has to happen, and now is the time to do it."

Zach Bogosian, the No. 3 pick in last June's Entry Draft, beat Penne with a slap shot 1:51 into the third period. Peverley, who set up the first-period goals by Armstrong and Kovalchuk, added his third assist on Jim Slater's shorthanded goal at 11:46 of the final period.

Thrashers coach John Anderson said he has seen in Peverley what he saw when he was with the Chicago Wolves and Peverley played for the Predators' AHL affiliate in Milwaukee.

"He's got tremendous vision, and he can really pass the puck. ... All the things we hoped he'd be, so far he's been," Anderson said.

Jordin Tootoo scored 4:49 into the second period and Shea Weber added a meaningless goal late in the third as the Predators lost for the third time in four games.

"I think the No. 1 message was that I want to apologize to our fans for that performance," Trotz said. "That was not a good performance. We all take responsibility, myself and the team, and I think that we’re embarrassed. I don't want to take anything away from Atlanta, they came here to win a hockey game and they did that, but our resolve and our poise was not there."

Panthers 4, Lightning 3 | Video

Jay Bouwmeester beat the clock and the Lightning, scoring with less than a second to go to cap a three-goal second period as Florida rallied to win at Tampa Bay and move into eighth place in the Eastern Conference.

"It's been an uphill climb," Panthers coach Peter DeBoer said after his team won for the fifth time in seven games. "It wasn't that long ago we were sitting in 29th, 30th (overall), but there's still a long ways to go."

The Panthers had a long way to go in this game, too. Goals by Vincent Lecavalier and Vaclav Prospal gave the Lightning a quick 2-0 lead. Gregory Campbell cut the margin to 2-1 at 17:55, but Ryan Malone scored 51 seconds later to restore the Bolts' two-goal lead.

''In the first, we were pretty bad. Everybody knew it,'' Bouwmeester said after the Panthers overcame a two-goal deficit to win since last March 8. ''Games like this are huge for us.''

DeBoer hooked Craig Anderson after the first period, and Tomas Vokoun stopped all 22 Lightning shots in the final 40 minutes, giving the Panthers a chance to come back.
"It's been an uphill climb.  It wasn't that long ago we were sitting in 29th, 30th (overall), but there's still a long ways to go." -- Panthers coach Peter DeBoer

It didn't take long. Cory Stillman scored a power-play goal at 6:39 of the second period, and Richard Zednik tied it at 10:56.

Bouwmeester then scored for the fourth consecutive game when he beat Mike Smith from the left circle less than a second before the period ended.

''You just play to the buzzer,'' Bouwmeester said. ''You knew there was not a whole lot of time left, but you're not counting the seconds.''

The Lightning has been playing better after a slow start, but knows they can't afford losses like this if they want to get back into the playoff race.

"I think we started the game great," Prospal said. "We built a lead and let it slip in the second. That can't happen to us. That was a four-point game. We gave them all the momentum."

Blackhawks 2, Blues 1 (OT) | Video

Chicago got a better overtime result in St. Louis than it did at home Friday night against the New York Rangers, beating the Blues when Martin Havlat scored on a wraparound 1:23 into OT.

The Hawks, who lost 3-2 in OT on Friday, were outplayed for much of the night. But Cristobal Huet had several spectacular stops among his 27 saves. The only St. Louis goal was a quick wrist shot by David Backes into the top of the net 1:23 into the final period, a shot Huet had no chance on.

"I usually say you get what you deserve," Blues coach Andy Murray said. "That didn't work tonight necessarily. Their goalie played well. They got the overtime goal."

Hawks coach Joel Quenneville praised his goalie.

"It was a very intense game, it was a goalie win," Quenneville said. "Huey was spectacular, he made some miraculous saves."

St. Louis goalie Manny Legace blamed himself for Havlat's winner.

"It went off my skate and in," Legace said. "I'm on my knees and I've got to get across. Just didn't get there in time. It was my fault."

St. Louis dominated play in the first period holding Chicago without a shot for the first 10 minutes. However, the Blackhawks left the ice after 20 minutes with a 1-0 lead when Troy Brouwer tipped Cam Barker's slap shot past Legace and into the net at 12:56 for a power-play goal.

"Our power play got us a big goal," Huet said. "We battled and we found a way to win in overtime. It was great."

Chicago managed just 19 shots in regulation, its lowest total this season, and finished with 21 -- tying for the team's lowest total since a 4-2 loss at Washington on Oct. 11.

Ducks 3, Wild 0 | Video

Anaheim spoiled the NHL portion of Hockey Day in Minnesota thanks to two goals by Corey Perry and a 30-save performance by Jonas Hiller.

Perry flipped Andrew Ebbett's pass into an open net for a power-play goal 8:13 into the second period, Bobby Ryan poked in a rebound 6:04 into the third and Perry added an empty-netter with 24 seconds remaining as the Ducks rebounded from a 3-1 loss at Pittsburgh on Friday.

"Every two points that are available you have to get," Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle said. "It's like a playoff atmosphere anymore."

The Ducks had lost four of their previous five games, and were slipping back in the pack of teams jostling for the final four playoff berths in the Western Conference.

"We had a much more of a workmanlike attitude from our group," Carlyle said, "and we played for another: like a team."
"We had a much more of a workmanlike attitude from our group, and we played for another: like a team." -- Ducks coach Randy Carlyle

The Wild, coming off a solid 5-1 home win over Edmonton, failed to convert a pair of first-period power plays and were unable to score on two more in the third, wasting a 31-save effort by Niklas Backstrom. Hiller, who is taking more playing time from All-Star starter Jean-Sebastien Giguere, earned his fourth shutout.

"We were playing pretty tight tonight and it showed," Minnesota captain Mikko Koivu said. "It was tough to get anything going."

The Wild also lost forward Andrew Brunette to an apparent right knee injury halfway through the game, putting his streak of 497 consecutive games played -- the longest active streak in the NHL -- in serious jeopardy. Minnesota plays at Chicago on Monday.

"I don't know the outcome of it there, but he didn't look good," coach Jacques Lemaire said. "Didn't look good at all."

Coyotes 4, Flames 3 | Video

Phoenix cooled off one of the NHL's hottest teams, jumping to a 2-0 lead and hanging on in the final minutes to end Calgary's seven-game winning streak at the Pengrowth Saddledome.

Mikkel Boedker's spectacular breakaway goal, in which he fought off defenseman Adrian Aucoin before deking Miikka Kiprusoff and whipping the puck high into the net, gave the Coyotes a 4-2 lead. Michael Cammalleri got his second of the night 73 seconds later to cut the margin back to one, but Calgary was unable to get the equalizer despite dominating play for the last half of the third period.

"We had chances right till the end to tie it up," Flames captain Jarome Iginla said. "Unfortunately, we didn't get the job done. They played a good game. They're playing well -- we knew that. We didn't take them lightly."

The Coyotes won for the second time this season at the Saddledome — handing Calgary two of its five regulation losses at home.

"There were a lot of sacrifices tonight," said Phoenix coach Wayne Gretzky, whose team won both trips to Calgary this season. "It's a very tough building, one of the toughest in hockey. A difficult place to play, let alone win."

The Coyotes have won four of their last five and are tied with Anaheim for fifth in the Western Conference. They haven't made the playoffs since 2001-02.

"Our guys are very young," Gretzky said, "and we play hard every night no matter what happens. It's a fun environment to be around."

David Hale's screened slap shot from the left point 8:17 into the game gave the Coyotes an early lead as the Flames came out with little emotion.

Peter Mueller made it 2-0 at 2:33 of the second period, regaining control after Adam Pardy knocked down his pass on a 2-on-1 break and firing the puck past Kiprusoff.

Cammalleri's first goal made it 2-1 at 14:56, but Olli Jokinen's backhander from the left corner hit Kiprusoff and deflected into the net at 17:52, restoring the Coyotes' two-goal lead.

Matthew Lombardi's slap shot from the top of the slot went through traffic and past Ilya Bryzgalov 3:17 into the third period to cut the margin to 3-2.

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

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

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