Sooner or later, the goals were going to come for Edmonton Oilers forward Ales Hemsky.
On Sunday afternoon in Philadelphia, they did.
After being held without a tally for 18 straight games dating back to last season, Hemsky found the back of the net twice and added an assist as the Oilers earned a 5-4 victory against the Flyers at the Wachovia Center.
These weren't the type of goals that deflect off two players, either. Hemsky broke a 1-1 tie 12:27 into the game when he skated in from center ice and went forehand-to-backhand to beat Martin Biron. Less than five minutes into the second period, he made a similar move from the Philadelphia blue line to give Edmonton a 3-1 lead.
"I wouldn't have minded a couple of garbage goals, but I didn't get mentally down and the goals came," Hemsky said.
Hemsky's performance helped the Oilers win their second straight after losing five in a row. Edmonton will look to continue its winning ways on Wednesday at Columbus.
"He played unreal," Oilers coach Craig MacTavish said of Hemsky. "Those are all-world goals that he scored."
The Flyers certainly got away from the things that made them successful during their streak, as they outscored their opponents 19-7 over the four victories. But they allowed 23 shots through the first two periods and fell behind 5-2 before Jeff Carter's ninth goal of the season at 18:43 of the second and Simon Gagne's eighth tally 20 seconds into the third period.
"We just let them skate," Philadelphia coach John Stevens said. "There were some severe breakdowns. We also have to do a better job of checking."
Sheldon Souray, Erik Cole and Dustin Penner also scored for the Oilers, who managed to win despite allowing three power-play goals. Biron believes defensive breakdowns by the Flyers is what ultimately led to their demise.
"We gave them a lot of room to execute their give-and-goes, their passes, and their three-on-twos," said Biron, who allowed five goals on 28 shots.
Edmonton goalie Dwayne Roloson helped preserve the win for his club when he robbed Scott Hartnell on a breakaway with 9:07 left in regulation. The Oilers' netminder finished with 22 saves.
"The Flyers are a great offensive team," Roloson said. "Their power play was firing pretty good today. They took advantage of some mistakes."
Hurricanes 6, Maple Leafs 4 | Video
Less than 24 hours after their tremendous third-period outburst against the New York Rangers, the Maple Leafs unraveled themselves.
Tuomo Ruutu had a goal and an assist, as Carolina scored three times in less than 4 minutes to squeak past Toronto at RBC Center. The Hurricanes finally got things going on what had been a dreadful power play, as they went 3-for-6 with the man advantage.
The Leafs seemed to have things in control when Mikhail Grabovski scored his second goal of the game at 11:38 of the second period to give Toronto a 3-1 lead. But Ray Whitney got things going with a power-play goal at 16:10 in what turned out to be the first of three Carolina goals in a span of 3:20.
''Once we got (the first goal), it didn't seem like we were going to stop until the game was ours,'' said Hurricanes forward Chad LaRose, who gave Carolina a 5-3 lead 1:15 into the third period.
Ruutu was happy to see his team respond after dropping a 3-1 decision on home ice to the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday. Carolina went 0-for-6 on the power play in that defeat.
''I don't think we were too happy'' falling behind 3-1, said Ruutu, who gave the Hurricanes a 4-3 lead in the final minute of the second period. ''I don't think we were too happy after (Saturday's) game. I think we were way, way too flat, and that's the way we played in the first period as well. Sometimes it's tough. You've got to start the game well, but we were lucky enough to get back into the game.''
Despite the outburst in the second period, Leafs coach Ron Wilson opted to keep Curtis Joseph in the game. Joseph went wire-to-wire and stopped 24 of 29 shots.
''It was the second period that lost us the game, I guess,'' said Joseph, who has yet to win a game in three appearances this season. "We're in every game. We're one shot away or one save away."
Thrashers 5, Panthers 3 | Video
Ilya Kovalchuk knows how to reverse Atlanta's fortunes.
''It seems like when I score, we win,'' Kovalchuk said.
The Russian star scored twice on Sunday and added an assist, as the Thrashers snapped a six-game losing streak with a victory against Florida at Philips Arena.
Both of Kovalchuk's tallies came in the second period and helped the Thrashers build a 4-2 lead after 40 minutes. But the gritty Panthers closed the gap to 4-3 as Nathan Horton scored late in the second before Noah Welch's tally at 3:17 of the third.
Todd White secured Atlanta's first home victory since Oct. 18 with an empty-net goal with 44 seconds remaining. All three of the Thrashers' victories have come in Georgia.
''We still gave up too many opportunities,'' Kovalchuk said. "We need to make sure we play defense first. We gave up two soft goals."
With goalie Kari Lehtonen sidelined, rookie Ondrej Pavelec won his first NHL start. Pavelec, who played the final period of Saturday's 6-1 loss at New Jersey, stopped 18 of 21 shots for the win.
''The guys in front of me played great and did a good job and that's why we won,'' Pavelec said. ''We played more defensive.''
Florida did not look prepared to play from the get-go, as it was out-shot 15-4 in the first period. Sunday marked the second of a five-game road trip for the Panthers, who visit Los Angeles on Thursday night.
''When you don't come ready to play, that's what you get,'' Florida coach Peter DeBoer said. ''I can live playing 1-0 and 2-1 games if that's what we need to win. There is no excuse for not showing up ready to go to work.''
Sharks 5, Avalanche 3 | Video
Milan Michalek and Devin Setoguchi each scored twice, and Evgeni Nabokov made 33 saves as San Jose improved to 4-2 on the road with a win at Colorado.
The victory was the fourth straight for the Sharks, who are now 10-2 under new coach Todd McLellan. Sunday's win didn't come easily, as the Avs battled hard in the third period and out-shot San Jose by an 18-7 margin.
''They came after us pretty good,'' McLellan said. ''They were able to get their defensemen involved and we were a little disorganized. They're going to be a tough team to beat all year and they're going to make a lot of teams feel like we did in the third period tonight.''
San Jose built an early 2-0 lead, as Michalek and Setoguchi scored just two minutes apart before the midway point of the opening period. Michalek beat Peter Budaj on a slap shot at 7:02 before Setoguchi converted Christian Ehrhoff's feed from close range.
''Everyone is putting up points,'' said Setoguchi. ''Every line, when they can contribute like that, it's tough for other teams to match lines. It's pretty effective for our team.''
Jordan Leopold cut the deficit in half before the end of the first, when his shot from the right point found its way past Nabokov at 14:24. But Setoguchi restored San Jose's two-goal lead with 7:17 left in the second, when he took a pass from Joe Thornton and fired a wrist shot past Budaj to make it 3-1.
''We have been on a roller coaster,'' Colorado coach Tony Granato said. ''We've done things well enough at certain times to make us feel optimistic, but when you lose games, you're not doing what you're supposed to be doing.''
After Milan Hejduk scored 90 seconds into the third period, Michalek tallied his second goal of the night at 5:44 when he put his own rebound past Budaj. John-Michael Liles scored with 6:19 remaining to make it a one-goal game for a third time, but Ryan Clowe iced the victory at 18:16.
''This was a disappointing loss," Budaj said. "We battled and competed, but we gave up too many rebound goals.''
Red Wings 3, Canucks 2 | Video
"That's the best power play in the League over there and we can't be giving them 5-on-3s. It's a team game and we're working hard out there, but they've got a bunch of good players over there and we just didn't get the job done." -- Canucks forward Ryan Kesler
Entering Sunday night's action, Vancouver was the only team in the League that had yet to surrender a power-play goal on home ice.
Detroit took care of that in a hurry.
The Red Wings scored on their first shot with the man advantage and scored three power-play goals in all to finish a five-game road trip with a record of 3-1-1. Mikael Samuelsson, Brian Rafalski and Henrik Zetterberg all scored for the Red Wings, who also killed off all seven of Vancouver's power plays. The Canucks outshot Detroit 13-3 in the third, when they received three of those man advantages. The first of the three came in the final seconds of the second period.
"It was an interesting game … those arms go up a lot," Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "You don't know why they're going up, but they go up. I thought that gave them some momentum in the third period. But it just goes to show that if you play well without the puck, you have a chance to win."
Samuelsson gave the Red Wings a 1-0 lead 13:30 into the game. With Kevin Bieksa in the box, Samuelsson one-timed a feed from Zetterberg past Vancouver goalie Roberto Luongo for his second goal of the season. The Canucks were 12-for-12 on the penalty kill at GM Place prior to Samuelsson's tally.
"You've got to go out there and try to score every shift," Samuelsson said. "It's always nice to score. It's tight games every game. We play really good teams, so if you're not on the top of your game, you will lose the game."
Rafalski made it 2-0 at 6:29 of the second. After Alex Burrows was whistled for interference, Rafalski fired a shot from the point that was redirected in front before going past Luongo. It was Rafalski's third goal of the season.
Vancouver finally got things going when Henrik Sedin scored at 10:19 of the second. With the teams at even strength, Sedin took a pass from his brother Daniel and poked it past Chris Osgood (25 saves) to make it 2-1.
Zetterberg regained Detroit's two-goal lead with his team's third power-play goal of the night at 18:52 of the second. After receiving the puck from Samuelsson along the near boards, Zetterberg skated right to the net untouched and backhanded it past Luongo as the Wings converted on a two-man advantage and held a 3-1 edge.
"That's the best power play in the League over there and we can't be giving them 5-on-3s," Canucks forward Ryan Kesler said. "It's a team game and we're working hard out there, but they've got a bunch of good players over there and we just didn't get the job done."
Kyle Wellwood closed the gap to 3-2 at 7:20 of the third, but Osgood stopped the other 12 shots he faced in the final period to secure the victory. Vancouver, which had won its previous two contests, will host the Nashville Predators on Tuesday night in the second of six consecutive home games.
"This team is not about looking at the big picture," Luongo said. We're a one-game-at-a-time team and right now we've got to regroup and get ready for the next one."
Material from wire services and broadcast media was used in this report.