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Rangers hand Flyers first home loss

by John Kreiser
Backed by Brendan Shanahan's shooting and Henrik Lundqvist's goaltending, the Rangers are becoming dominant in shootouts.
The New York Rangers are never reluctant to get into a shootout — not with Brendan Shanahan shooting and Henrik Lundqvist in goal.

Shanahan scored the only goal in Thursday night’s shootout and Lundqvist stopped all three Philadelphia attempts as the Rangers beat the Flyers 4-3 for their fourth consecutive victory. Shanahan, the second shooter for the Rangers, whipped a wrist shot past Martin Biron to give New York its third shootout win of the season ( 700K ).

It’s the Rangers’ second shootout win in their last three games, and Shanahan has the deciding goal in both.

“It shows that we're doing something right,” he said.

Lundqvist is now 2-1 in shootouts and has stopped eight of nine shots in those games.

“The big key to us in shootouts is Hank,” Shanahan said of Lundqvist. “He puts you in a position where you’re skating up the ice with the puck with a chance to win it as opposed to playing from behind.”

The loss was the first for the Flyers in seven home games this season. They hadn’t opened with seven straight wins since 1986-87.

“It’s an extra point we’d like to have, but it doesn’t take away from anything we did in this game tonight,” said Flyers goaltender Martin Biron, who made 26 saves.

Shanahan, Fedor Tyutin and Petr Prucha scored for the Rangers, who tied the Flyers for first place in the Atlantic Division. Jim Dowd, Danny Briere and Denis Tolpeko scored for the Flyers.

Prucha, who hadn’t scored since opening night, broke a 2-2 tie at 5:17 of the third period ( 700K ) when he beat Biron with a slap shot. Lundqvist held off the Flyers until 10:29, when Tolpeko went to the net and knocked the rebound of Jason Smith’s slap shot into the net for his first NHL goal ( 700K ).

After Dowd caught Lundqvist just off his left post and banked in the game’s first goal at 3:23 of the first period ( 700K ), Tyutin tied the score when he took a pass from Scott Gomez and beat Biron with a wrist shot at 14:21 ( 700K ). Gomez, who now has points in eight straight games, got his second assist early in the second period when he set up Shanahan for an almost-identical goal at 1:47 ( 700K ).

The Rangers dominated play for most of the second period, but the Flyers tied the score at 15:51 when Mike Richards won a faceoff to Briere, who blew a shot past Lundqvist three seconds into a power play ( 700K ).

Briere, signed away from Buffalo as a free agent, liked the emotion of the Rangers-Flyers rivalry.

“I hear about it around town, and those are the games that are exciting to play,” he said. “They’re easy to get motivated for, and tonight was a good, exciting game for the fans to watch.”

Lundqvist got even with Briere by stopping him on the shootout with a poke check, a rare move for the third-year goaltender, who usually stays back in his goal.

“I took a chance and I poke-checked him,” said Lundqvist, who got some advice on stopping Briere from teammate Chris Drury, who played with Briere in Buffalo last season. “I think it surprised him a little bit and he couldn't get it off.”

After a slow start, the Rangers have improved to 10-7-1 and are playing their best hockey of the season.

“We’re all together,” Gomez said. “We all feel more confident. Everyone’s there to back each other up and that's a good sign of a team. We're starting to believe in each other.”

Senators 3, Sabres 2 | Video
Ottawa captain Daniel Alfredsson made his 800th NHL game a night to remember, scoring twice in the first period as the NHL’s hottest team held off Buffalo.

Alfredsson opened the scoring with his 14th goal at 6:32 ( 700K ), then added his second of the night and 15th of the season on a power play at 18:53 ( 700K ) to help the Senators improve to 15-2-0.

“I got a great response from the crowd,” Alfredsson said. “I really appreciated that and obviously it's fun when you can win games when you get to an even number like that.”

Shean Donovan scored at 16:48 of the second period ( 700K ) for the Senators, who improved to 15-2-0. Jochen Hecht ( 700K ) and Derek Roy ( 700K ) scored for Buffalo, which has lost three straight and is 1-5-1 in its last seven.

But it was Alfredsson’s night.

“I’m obviously happy for Alfie, and he's well deserving of the chants at the end, calling his name,” said defenseman Wade Redden, who’s played with Alfredsson since 1996. “He’s been our best player all year, so it's great for him.”

Martin Gerber made 35 saves for Ottawa, while Ryan Miller stopped 31 shots for the Sabres.

“We made some mistakes — obviously, they did also, but I think our mistakes were a lot bigger,” Roy said. “They generated a lot of momentum on the power play and they made some great plays out there. You've got to give them credit and I think you've got to live and learn, and we're going to learn from this.”

Bruins 5, Maple Leafs 2 | Video
When you’re struggling to score, there’s nothing like a visit from the league’s worst defensive team to get your offense going — so the Toronto Maple Leafs’ arrival at TD Banknorth Garden was just what the Boston Bruins needed.

Peter Schaefer scored twice in the third period for Boston and Marc Savard had a goal ( 700K ) and an assist as the Bruins scored more than four goals for the first time since an 8-6

Bruins forward Marco Sturm beats Maple Leafs goalie Andrew Raycroft for a first-period goal.

victory in Los Angeles on Oct. 12. Boston had scored two goals or less in each of its last five games and eight of its last 10.

“We kept working their ‘D,’” Schaefer said. “'They have a great offense and they score a lot of goals, but they give up a lot too.”

Kyle Wellwood had a power-play goal ( 700K ) and Alexei Ponikarovsky also scored for the Maple Leafs, who lost for the fourth time in five games. The Leafs might well have scored more than two, but Tim Thomas turned in another superb effort in goal. Thomas, who made 45 saves in a 2-1 win over Buffalo on Saturday, stopped 34 Toronto shots — including all 19 he faced in the third period ( 700K ).

Boston put pressure on the Leafs’ defense all night — the best evidence coming when Glen Metropolit outhustled two defenders and scored to make it 3-1 at 10:16 of the second ( 700K ).

“We didn't play well, that's for sure. We didn't play a full 60 minutes,” Toronto center Matthew Stajan said. “They scored on their chances. We had a few miscues on their goals, and it just wasn't acceptable. We just weren't good enough. We've got to play better than that, there's no doubt about it.”

Ponikarovsky’s goal with 8:03 left in the second ( 700K ) made it 3-2, but Schaefer broke in down the left wing and beat Andrew Raycroft with a wrist shot 2:11 into the third ( 700K ), then banged in Brandon Bochenski's shot 3:24 later ( 700K ).

“We’ve been a team that's been offensively challenged,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “We've been doing our homework and trying to find a way to find the back of the net.”

Panthers 2, Capitals 1 | Video
Florida finally managed to avoid a late collapse, holding off Washington to end a four-game losing streak.

The Panthers had allowed the game-winning goal with 1:06 remaining ( 700K ) in Monday’s loss to Carolina and saw Atlanta tie the game with three seconds left in regulation in Tuesday’s overtime loss to the Thrashers. The Capitals had five shots on goal in the final three minutes — but this time, the Panthers survived.

“Never a doubt in my mind,” Panthers coach Jacques Martin joked.

Florida goalie Tomas Vokoun stopped 26 shots and survived the Caps’ late barrage.

“We might have been a little tight,” said Kamil Kreps, whose backhander past Olaf Kolzig 4:13 into the second period ( 700K ) gave Florida a 2-0 lead after Richard Zednik scored the only goal of the first period ( 700K ). “It was a big game for us. We were trying not to make a mistake.”

Alexander Ovechkin cut the lead in half at 6:55 of the second ( 700K ) when he put home a loose puck after a shot from the point was blocked.

But the Capitals continue to struggle. Washington has dropped six of seven games and 15 of 18 since starting the season 3-0. The Caps are now 0-10-1 when trailing after two periods.

“It's kind of broken up on us the last couple of weeks,” Ovechkin said. “We had our chances there at the end, but the bottom line is we lost the game.”

The victory was Florida's 13th in the teams' last 17 meetings and their fourth in a row at the BankAtlantic Center. “I don’t know what it is about Florida,” Washington captain Chris Clark said. “We always seem to struggle against them. We need to win these close games, and we're just not getting it done.”

Predators 5, Blackhawks 4, OT | Video
November continues to be kind to Nashville, which improved to 6-0-1 this month when Martin Erat got the game-winner 19 seconds into overtime ( 700K ) after Chicago tied the game in the final minute of regulation.

Nashville Predators center Radek Bonk jumps against the glass after scoring a goal against the Chicago Blackhawks.

Erat was skating through the low slot when he deflected a pass from Radek Bonk. The puck deflected off defenseman Brent Seabrook’s skate and trickled though goalie Nikolai Khabibulin’s pads and into the net.

“When I went on the ice with Radek, we just said that we are going to go for it,” Erat said. “I just drove to the net, and Bonky made a great play. I think it went off my stick, off the defenseman and in the goal.”

Jason Williams got the Blackhawks a point by scoring a 6-on-4 power-play goal with 43 seconds remaining ( 700K ) and Khabibulin on the bench for an extra attacker. The Predators had overcome a 3-1 deficit after two periods on goals by Alexander Radulov ( 700K ), Vernon Fiddler ( 700K ) and Bonk, who put Nashville ahead with 3:18 left in regulation ( 700K ).

“You have to give them credit for the way they came out in the third,” Chicago coach Denis Savard said. “For us, the problem was coverage. We will get that fixed.”

After Nashville’s Jason Arnott scored the only goal of the first period ( 700K ), Chicago got goals from Jonathan Toews ( 700K ), James Wisniewski ( 700K ) and Patrick Sharp ( 700K ) in the second period to take control of the game.

“The first period, we played them pretty straight-up, and then in the second period, we kind of let them dictate the play,” said Nashville goalie Chris Mason, who finished with 28 saves. “In the third, we just came out and pretty much dominated them.”

Nashville’s November surge includes a pair of victories over Chicago. But Savard wasn’t unhappy with his team.

“The effort was there,” Savard said. “The results sometimes won’t be ours. But it wasn’t a lack of effort.

Sharks 6, Coyotes 0 | Video
Happily for the Coyotes, they don’t see San Jose again until Dec. 7. After losing back-to-back games at San Jose, the Coyotes were routed at home by the Sharks as Joe Pavelski had two goals ( 700K | 700K ) and Evgeni Nabokov stopped 15 shots for the easy shutout.

Phoenix fans booed the home team as the Sharks coasted to an easy victory that led to a players-only meeting by the Coyotes after the game. Phoenix was outscored 15-1 in the three losses to San Jose.

“We have to play with more energy,” Phoenix captain Shane Doan said. “Tonight was completely unacceptable.”

The Sharks, who had a shootout win in Dallas on Wednesday night, won their fourth in a row.

“We've won four straight, but we've played really well nine straight games now,'' coach Ron Wilson said. “It's the details and sometimes you need to be a little lucky.”

Nabokov's shutout was his third this season and the 37th of his career. He also shut out the Coyotes in San Jose on Monday.

Phoenix showed little after Jeremy Roenick put the Sharks ahead 4:31 into the game ( 700K ) when he scored on a slap shot from the left circle. Patrick Rissmiller ( 700K ), Devin Setoguchi ( 700K ) and Steve Bernier ( 700K ) also scored for San Jose, which dominated its Pacific Division rival for the third straight time.

''You've got to play pretty strong hockey to compete against a team of that level and we didn't play that way today,'' Coyotes coach Wayne Gretzky said. ''We didn't get a big save when we needed it, we didn't kill a penalty when we needed to and we didn't score on the power play when we needed to. We didn’t make anything happen.”

After some early struggles, the Sharks are playing like the team that was expected to be a Stanley Cup contender.

“It’s nice to put three or four in a row, and we’re building something here," said captain Patrick Marleau, whose assist on Rissmiller’s goal was his 500th career point. “We’ve got to keep going in the right direction, and we’re finally getting some results.”

Wild 4, Oilers 2 | Video
The return of Marian Gaborik and a game against a team they never seem to lose to were just what Minnesota needed to end a slump on the road. Gaborik got the game-tying goal in the second period as the Wild won in Edmonton

Gaborik, out since Nov. 3 with a groin injury, tied the game at 2-2 with a power-play goal at

Minnesota Wild players Nick Schultz, Eric Belanger, Mark Parrish and Brent Burns welcome Marian Gaborik as they celebrate a goal by Parrish against the Edmonton Oilers.

12:43 of the second period ( 700K ), 48 seconds after Edmonton had taken the lead on Jarrett Stoll’s shorthanded goal ( 700K ). Gaborik converted a backhand pass by Eric Belanger, who set up all four Minnesota goals.

“Tonight I was at the right place at the right time,” Belanger said. “Getting Marian Gaborik back helped us.”

Minnesota is now 8-0-1 in its last nine games against Edmonton after its first win in its last six road games.

“For some reason, it seems to happen that you just have a team's number,” said Minnesota forward Mark Parrish, who scored an insurance goal in the third period. “I don't really know why. You get wins that sometimes you don't even really deserve.”

Kurtis Foster’s power-play goal with 48 seconds left in the second period ( 700K ) put Minnesota ahead to stay. Minnesota coach Jacques Lemaire then changed goalies after the second period, lifting Niklas Backstrom in favor of Josh Harding.

“Backstrom was good at the start of the game, and after the first goal he got shaky a little bit,” Lemaire said. “I decided to switch it and it would give the guys a boost.” Parrish made things easier for Harding by ripping a shot past Dwayne Roloson 57 seconds into the final period ( 700K ).

“It seemed like we let up a little bit as the game wore on” said Edmonton forward Geoff Sanderson. “We got off to a pretty decent start, threw a lot of pucks at the net. They're so good at responding, after we scored they came back to get one.”

Martin Skoula put the Wild ahead 4:45 into the game ( 700K ) when his point shot deflected off Edmonton defenseman Allan Rourke and past Dwayne Roloson. Stoll tied it five minutes into the second period ( 700K ), backhanding a rebound past Backstrom.

Oilers coach Craig MacTavish is tired of his team not winning close games.

“We've been close in a lot of games and can take some satisfaction from that I guess, but I'm past that point now,” he said. “We’re creating the opportunities — but we're not putting the puck in the back of the net. That's the way you win hockey games.”

Ducks 6, Kings 3 | Video
Here’s some bad news for the rest of the NHL: Anaheim is starting to play like the team that won the Stanley Cup last spring. The Ducks moved over .500 for the first time this season by completing a two-game sweep of their Southern California rival with a win at Staples Center.

Ryan Getzlaf broke a 2-2 tie by jamming a rebound past Jean-Sebastien Giguere 2:08 into the third period. “I just stood around and the puck popped out to me,” Getzlaf said of his seventh goal.

Brad May, playing his 900th career game, made it 4-2 at 8:31, backhanding a loose puck in the crease past Aubin.

“Winning is the most important thing,” May said of his goal. “It’s fun to score and I played in my 900th game tonight. I scored in my first game as well.”

Samuel Pahlsson’s goal at 10:55 made it 5-2, and after Patrick O’Sullivan scored a late goal for the Kings, Rob Niedermayer hit the empty net as the Ducks improved to 9-8-3.

“The two points is bigger than anything, but the satisfaction of being .500 is there,” Getzlaf said.

The Kings dominated the first period and took the lead when Anze Kopitar scored on a wrist shot from the left circle at 13:08 during a power play ( 700K ). Corey Perry tied it 52 seconds into the second period ( 700K ) when he redirected Chris Kunitz’s pass behind Aubin.

Dustin Brown put the Kings back in front at 12:05 of the second period ( 700K ), whipping a 15-foot wrist shot past Jean-Sebastien Giguere. But Perry came out of the penalty box and tied it again with a breakaway goal at 16:24 ( 700K ) before the Ducks took command in the third period.

“We had a sub-par performance in the first period,” Getzlaf said. “We did a great job of turning it around and getting the win.”

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

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