A 16-day Olympic break wasn't nearly enough to cool off Jonathan Quick
or the Los Angeles Kings
Quick, who spent the Games as the No. 3 goaltender on Team USA, made 31 saves to win his franchise-record 36th game as the Kings rolled over the Stars 5-1 in Dallas to improve to 11-1-1 in their last 13 games.
"You get back to the rink and get into your routine and everything starts to feel natural," said Quick, who didn't see any action for the U.S. Olympic team as one of Ryan Miller's backups. "I caught a couple of lucky breaks and got a lot of support from my team."
Quick is 11-1-0 in his last 12 decisions. His 36th win is one more than Mario Lessard earned in 1980-81.
Alexander Frolov had a goal and a pair of assists for the Kings. Canadian Olympian Drew Doughty had three primary assists.
"I felt good out there. My job was to lead by example. Guys have been off for a while. So I did all I could to get off to a good start," Doughty said.
"Quicker's been a big part of our success. We're sticking to the system, keeping it simple and playing well defensively."
The Stars averted a shutout on Mike Ribeiro's power-play goal 5:19 into the third period, but otherwise looked nothing like the team that had won its last two games before the break.
"We could have done everything much better. We were just flat," said Ribeiro, whose shot between Quick's legs came after Los Angeles built a 4-0 cushion. Jarrett Stoll scored 5:44 into the game for L.A., and goals by Frolov, Brad Richardson and Ryan Smyth put the game away.
Los Angeles has won eight of its last nine road games.
"I liked our start to the game. The first period was what you'd like to see after a two-week break," Kings coach Terry Murray said. "Overall I liked our effort. The effort, the concentration was good."
Rangers 4, Senators 1 | HIGHLIGHTS | PHOTOS
Despite the absence of 35-goal scorer Marian Gaborik, out with a lower-body injury, the Rangers scored four times in the second period to shock the Senators at Scotiabank Place.
Henrik Lundqvist celebrated his 28th birthday by turning aside 24 shots for his 26th victory of the season and New York's third in a row.
"We talked about it before the game, it’s one game at a time in a 20-game season," Rangers head coach John Tortorella said. "We have to get a mindset of grinding, playing defense first. And I thought we did a really good job of that. Our offense came off of that."
Ottawa led 1-0 on a first-period goal by Milan Michalek before things fell apart in the second. But U.S. Olympian Ryan Callahan tied it 22 seconds into the second period when he drove down the left side and slipped past Ottawa defenseman Matt Carkner before beating Brian Elliott for his 16th goal.
"When I jumped out on the ice tonight I was still skating and competing at that (Olympic) level," Callahan said. "I think that’s one of the biggest things I tried to bring back is not to have that sudden letdown or where you don’t keep your speed up, or your game up. I think that’s a big reason why I was successful tonight."
The Rangers then blew the game open with three goals in a 2:02 span late in the period. Brandon Dubinsky put New York ahead at 15:44 and Callahan made it a two-goal lead with his second of the game 1:02 later. Sean Avery, who set up Avery's goal, completed the blitz at 17:46 by firing home Enver Lisin's centering pass to end Elliott's evening after he stopped just 12 of 16 shots.
"In the second and third periods, we were obviously not good enough to win in this league," Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson said.
Gaborik, who played for Slovakia at the Winter Olympics, missed the Rangers' last two pre-Olympic games with a lacerated leg.
Ottawa had won 14 of 16 before the break, but seemed listless after grabbing the early lead. However, coach Cory Clouston said the two-week layoff had nothing to do with his team's poor showing.
"That’s too easy," he said. "They had the same break we did."
Hurricanes 5, Maple Leafs 1 | HIGHLIGHTS | PHOTOS
With trade rumors sweeping through the Air Canada Centre, Carolina did a much better job of focusing on the task at hand -- winning the game. Chad LaRose had a goal and a pair of assists as the 'Canes whacked the Alex Ponikarovsky-less Leafs for their sixth consecutive win.
Ponikarovsky didn't dress for the game and was officially traded to Pittsburgh an hour or so after the final horn for defenseman Martin Skoula and minor-league forward Luca Caputi.
Toronto center John Mitchell, who scored with 4:09 left to spoil rookie Justin Peters' shutout bid, said prior to the deal becoming official that Ponikarovsky's status had no impact on the Leafs' performance.
"I don't think you should look at Pony and where he goes as a distraction," Mitchell said. "We're all professionals here and we have to go out and play. We know what's at stake, especially on a day like this. We shouldn't be distracted by that, but maybe some guys are."
For Leafs coach Ron Wilson, the game was a cruel reminder that he was back in the real world of the NHL -- two days after leading Team USA into OT in the gold-medal game at the Olympics.
"It was like the old Aqua Velva commercial -- the slap across the face and like, 'back to reality," Wilson said.
LaRose scored a shorthanded goal in the first period before the Hurricanes blew the game open in the second with goals by Jussi Jokinen, Brandon Sutter and Tuomo Ruutu.
"Justin made some good saves for us in the first period, and I thought after Brandon scored to make it 3-0, we really settled into our game." Carolina coach Paul Maurice said.
The Hurricanes, 14th in the East, scratched two potential trade targets -- defenseman Aaron Ward and checking forward Stephane Yelle. But the Hurricanes showed no signs of any deadline-eve jitters.
"There's been a lot of rumors and speculation around our club," Maurice said. "But (GM) Jim (Rutherford) addressed that with the team three or four weeks ago, and told them 'this is where we're at and the direction we're going to go. Go out and have fun.'"
Thrashers 4, Panthers 2 | HIGHLIGHTS | PHOTOS
The Thrashers did two things on Tuesday that showed they’re serious about making the playoffs: They signed veteran defenseman Chris Chelios, then went out and beat the reeling Panthers to stay just one point out of the last postseason berth in the East.
"It couldn't have started off any better," coach John Anderson said after Rich Peverley had a goal and an assist and Johan Hedberg stopped 34 shots. Colby Armstrong, Todd White and Pavel Kubina also scored for Atlanta.
"We want to move up (in the standings) as quickly as possible," said White, who also had an assist.
Atlanta has 12 home games in March, including nine of its first 11 after the Olympic break. The Thrashers are 10th in the East with 64 points, one behind eighth-place Boston and two behind seventh-place Montreal. They know they have to capitalize on their schedule.
"We have a lot of home games," said Peverley, who reached 100 career points. "We have to keep going and take advantage of those games."
Atlanta took the lead for good on White's power-play goal off a feed from Peverley 7:33 into the second period. Kubina made it a two-goal lead with 5:13 left in the second period, blasting a shot from the left side past Scott Clemmensen just as another Atlanta power play was expiring.
"When we looked at the schedule, we thought that if we were close (going into March) we had a favorable schedule, in theory," Anderson said. "Now it's what we do with it."
Stephen Weiss scored his 22nd goal for Florida and David Booth, who missed 45 games with a concussion, had his first goal since Oct. 24 and an assist. Clemmensen made his first start time since Dec. 27 and faced 39 shots.
"Obviously, I was rusty," Clemmensen said. "It was a tough start."
Clemmensen was in net instead of Thomas Vokoun, who started 21 consecutive games for Florida before playing for the Czech Republic in the Olympics. The subject of trade rumors, Vokoun is scheduled to start Wednesday night when the Panthers host Philadelphia.
Flyers 7, Lightning 2 | HIGHLIGHTS | PHOTOS
The Flyers showed no rust from the Olympic break, completing a four-game sweep of Tampa Bay by blowing out the Lightning at the St. Pete Times Forum. Mike Richards had a goal and three assists, and the Flyers scored five times in the third period to win their fifth in a row.
"He's an amazing player," Flyers forward Dan Carcillo said of Richards. "He's a superstar in the League."
Simon Gagne scored two power-play goals, and Claude Giroux, Jeff Carter, James van Riemsdyk and Carcillo also scored for the Flyers.
"We got better as the game went on," Philadelphia coach Peter Laviolette said.
Steven Stamkos had both goals and set a Tampa Bay record by extending his points streak to 14 games. He has 12 goals and 13 assists during the stretch.
But it wasn't nearly enough, as the Lightning dropped their fourth in a row. Gagne broke a 2-2 tie with a power-play goal 17 seconds into the third period, then added another at 4:34. Goals by van Riemsdyk, Giroux and Carter turned the game into a blowout.
"You get penalties, stuff like that, you try to stop it," coach Rick Tocchet said. "The momentum just went."
Canucks 4, Blue Jackets 3 (OT) | HIGHLIGHTS | PHOTOS
The Canucks picked up right where they left off before the Olympics -- on the road, playing the rest of their NHL-record 14-game trip. But even with gold medal-winner Roberto Luongo getting the night off, the Canucks found a way to rally and win.
Kyle Wellwood tied the game with 5:19 remaining in regulation, and Christian Ehrhoff beat Steve Mason 1:33 into OT for the win.
"We find a way to get it done in the third in a league that's very tough to come back," Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault said of his club, which is now 8-15-1 when trailing after two periods.
Andrew Murray and Antoine Vermette scored against Andrew Raycroft to give Columbus a 2-0 lead after one period. Alex Burrows and Pavol Demitra tied it for Vancouver in the second before Derek Dorsett put the Jackets back in front at 15:21.
But Wellwood finished off a great pass by Mason Raymond after a bad giveaway by rookie Grant Clintsome to tie it, and Vancouver won it when U.S. Olympic team member Ryan Kessler missed the net wide right but the puck caromed off the end boards to Ehrhoff, who snapped home a shot at the other side of the goal for his 12th.
"I just went with the guys and joined the play," said Ehrhoff, a German Olympian. "It kind of took a good bounce for me, and I just put it on net and the goalie wasn't there."
Both sides felt the long layoff for the Olympics had an effect.
"We looked rusty in some areas," Columbus interim coach Claude Noel said. "It looked like we hadn't played a game in two weeks. I saw it as being a real adjustment period for our players and for theirs, too."
Predators 4, Oilers 3 | HIGHLIGHTS | PHOTOS
Maybe the Oilers should have waited another day before trading defenseman Denis Grebeshkov to the Predators. Grebeshkov had a goal and an assist while making his Predators debut against his former team, and Jason Arnott scored the winning goal as the Preds got a much-needed victory against the NHL's 30th-place team.
Grebeshkov scored his goal at 14:55 of the first period when his slap shot from between the circles beat Jeff Deslauriers on the glove side.
"I was waiting for that line to open up, and as soon as it did, I took my chance," Grebeshkov said. "I'm really glad that our team won tonight and that I helped them."
Arnott broke a 3-3 tie at 5:02 of the third when he threw the puck in front from behind the net and it bounced off the right skate of Oilers defenseman Jason Strudwick into the net.
"We've seen those a lot this year, we're not handling the front of the net," Edmonton coach Pat Quinn said. "We don't get those kinds of goals at the other end. We're too busy with the drop passes and the lateral plays, all that pretty stuff that doesn't end up in the net."
It was the Nashville captain's 15th goal of the season.
"We came out strong, but a little rusty," Arnott said. "The first period, we were getting our legs under us just getting back into the game skating in a game. You can practice all you want, but you need to get out there and play in games."
Blues 5, Coyotes 2 | HIGHLIGHTS | PHOTOS
St. Louis continued the winning streak it started before the break by rolling over Phoenix for its fourth consecutive victory. T.J. Oshie had a goal and an assist, and Andy McDonald reached the 20-goal mark.
U.S. Olympian David Backes, Jay McClement and Brad Boyes also scored for the Blues.
"When you get balanced scoring like that, teams can't feel like they can shut down one unit and shut you down," Backes said.
Paul Kariya, Alex Steen and Carlo Colaiacovo each had two assists. In all, 10 Blues hit the scoresheet.
"It's a nice little bonus in there," interim coach Davis Payne said. "It's not every night that's going to happen, but you take the nights when it does."
Joel Perrault opened the scoring 3:43 into the game for the Coyotes, and Matthew Lombardi had the only goal in the third period.
"I don't have much to say about that game," Phoenix coach Dave Tippett said during a 60-second postgame news conference following his team's third consecutive loss. "It's very disappointing that we come out of the break like that. We have to recognize how hard teams are going to play this stretch. I look at games like this as your top players have to jump out and dictate how your team goes and we weren't even close tonight. We've got to get better tomorrow."
Islanders 5, Blackhawks 3 | HIGHLIGHTS | PHOTOS
Blake Comeau had his first NHL hat trick and Dwayne Roloson made 41 saves as the Islanders stunned the Blackhawks at Nassau Coliseum.
For NHL.com's complete story of the game, click here