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Rangers top Bruins 3-2 in shootout

by John Kreiser /
Coaches always say hockey is a 60-minute game. In the case of the New York Rangers, that's not always true.

The visiting Boston Bruins dominated the Rangers for the first 50-plus minutes Saturday night, taking a 2-0 lead and looking like the best team in the Eastern Conference. But the Rangers wiped out that lead in the final 6:05 of regulation, then got a shootout goal by Chris Drury for a stunning 3-2 victory.

"It shows a lot of character," said Drury, who won it in the fourth round with a shot between Tim Thomas' pads to snap Boston's four-game winning streak and keep the Bruins from getting within a point of the Rangers for first place in the East. "We talked about it after the second period. One shot cuts it in half."

That "one shot" came from Nigel Dawes, who broke up Thomas' shutout with 6:05 left. Markus Naslund tied it with 52.9 seconds left, ripping a wrist shot past Thomas after the Rangers pulled goaltender Henrik Lundqvist for a sixth attacker.

After Drury's goal, Patrice Bergeron's shot got through Lundqvist's pads and was ruled a goal. But video replay showed the puck went off the post, not into the net.

"I wasn't sure," Lundqvist said. "At first I thought I had it underneath me the entire time and then I saw the review and I saw it hit the post. I was a little surprised."

The sellout crowd at the Garden erupted when the reversal was announced.

It was the second time this season that the Rangers overcame a late 2-0 lead, scored in the final seconds and won a shootout. They beat Pittsburgh 3-2 on Oct. 25 with the same formula.

The Bruins, who got goals by Zdeno Chara and Dennis Wideman, had to be content with getting five of six points in three games against Original Six rivals Chicago, Montreal and the Rangers in a four-night span.

"It wasn't like we blew up a five-goal lead," Chara said. "A two-goal lead is probably the worst lead in hockey. We played pretty well most of the game, and then at the end they we were putting a lot of pressure on us. We could've probably handled it a little bit better."

Added Wideman: "We've got to be happy with [one point]. If you would have told me at the start of this week, we were going to get five out of six against Chicago, New York and Montreal, I think we probably would have taken that."

Penguins 5, Sabres 2 | VIDEO

Like the Rangers, the Penguins saved the best for last, though they didn't need to go to a shootout. Jordan Staal scored twice as Pittsburgh got four goals in the final 8:17 to beat the Sabres and extend their winning streak to six games.

"We don't panic," Penguins coach Michel Therrien said after his team won for the sixth time this season when trailing after two periods. "That's the main thing. We play our game. We didn't want to change anything. ... If we keep playing like this, I'm not going to say we'll win every game, but we'll put ourselves in a good position to win the game."

Staal has seven goals during the Penguins' winning streak, including a hat trick in a win at Detroit, after having none through the first 11 games of the season.

"I knew I had been playing good hockey," Staal said. "I knew it was only a matter of time for me."

Staal also knew the Penguins could come back yet again — after all, the Penguins have had a lot of practice.

"This team seems to never give up," he said, "and when we get the momentum, it's kind of scary."

Buffalo's Jason Pominville had the only goal of the first period, and Thomas Vanek gave the Sabres a 2-1 lead when he beat Marc-Andre Fleury with 46 seconds left in the second.

But Pittsburgh tied it at 2-2 on rookie defenseman Alex Goligoski's power-play goal with 8:17 left in regulation. Staal then beat goalie Ryan Miller with 4:33 left to give the Penguins the lead for good. Ruslan Fedotenko's goal just over a minute later made it 4-2, and Staal finished off the scoring with an empty-netter.

Evgeni Malkin, who had Pittsburgh's first goal, set up three of the Pens' four goals in the third period.

The late collapse, which following a 6-1 home loss to Columbus on Friday, left Sabres coach Lindy Ruff unhappy.

"The work was there," Ruff said. "We were pretty smart all night. We gave it away in basically six minutes. We played 50 strong minutes, maybe 55."

Flyers 2, Canadiens 1 | VIDEO

Philadelphia eliminated Montreal from the playoffs last spring. It took a little longer for the Flyers to figure out how to beat the Canadiens in the regular season.

Scottie Upshall and Jeff Carter scored in the second period as the Flyers snapped a seven-game regular-season losing streak against the Canadiens, including a 5-3 loss at Philadelphia on Oct. 13.

"A lot was made of it last year going into the playoffs, but we knew that we could win in here," Philadelphia coach John Stevens said. "We came in last year in Game 5 and ended up winning the series here. It was just a great atmosphere to be part of a hockey game — this building's electric and I thought it was tonight."

Carter was focused on the team's recent success — a 2-0-1 road trip — rather than ending its regular-season skid against Montreal.

"That's just the media blowing it up — no offense, but we go game-by-game and obviously we want to win every game," Carter said. "They're a tough opponent and we've had some success here lately and hopefully we can keep it going."

Martin Biron made 24 saves, allowing only a goal by Alex Tanguay midway through the third period.

Upshall scored his first goal in 10 games when he redirected Mike Richards' hard pass behind Jaroslav Halak 5:30 into the middle period.

Tanguay's goal came moments after an apparent goal by Guillaume Latendresse was waved off because the net had become dislodged.

Montreal, which played without injured defenseman Mike Komisarek, lost consecutive games for the first time since Feb. 21-23 and is 1-3-1 in its last five games.

"I think we're relying too much on what we did last year, both as a team and as individual players," coach Guy Carbonneau said. "We did some nice things last year, but last year is last year. When you start a new season you don't start with 20 goals or 13 assists or 40 assists, you start at zero. You have to work for those points, and right now we have guys who think they're working, but they're not working."

Islanders 3, Senators 2 | VIDEO

The Islanders completed a home-and-home sweep of the struggling Senators, but not before making the home crowd at the Nassau Coliseum nervous.

New York has had trouble holding onto third-period leads, but appeared to be in good shape with a 3-0 advantage and time running down. But Dany Heatley scored a power-play goal with 6:31 left and Jason Spezza picked up a pinballed puck and slammed it in with 93 seconds remaining.

This time, though, the Islanders held on for their first home win over Ottawa in regulation since Jan. 19, 2004, while handing the Senators their fourth loss in a row.

''We're not the only team in the league that has blown a third-period lead,'' Islanders coach Scott Gordon said. ''It looks like the mind-set is starting to change. Now, it's skate, skate, skate.''

Islanders goaltender Joey MacDonald made 38 saves. He was flawless on Ottawa's 15 first-period shots before New York's offense got rolling. Sean Bergenheim banged in a rebound at 3:54 of the second period and Jon Sim added a power-play goal at 9:54.

Gordon said he stressed getting more pucks on the net in the second period.

"I told the guys it's probably not going to be pretty goals that will win this game," Gordon said. "The more we get the puck to the net, there's more chances for bounces to happen within your favor. The first two goals were not pretty goals by any means, but we created traffic when we got the puck to the net and as a result it was 2-0."

Chris Campoli's screened wrist shot from center point at 3:59 of the third period looked like window dressing but turned out to be the winner.

''We didn't score on our chances, and they did on theirs,'' Ottawa captain Daniel Alfredsson said. ''We have to find a way to score goals.''

It was only the second back-to-back wins for the Isles this season.

''When you win a couple of games in a row, it's good for your confidence,'' MacDonald said.

Wild 3, Blue Jackets 2, SO | VIDEO

Niklas Backstrom can leave the Minnesota Wild as a free agent this summer. Considering the success he's had at the Xcel Energy Center, it's hard to believe he'd want to.

Marek Zidlicky and Antti Miettinen scored in the shootout and Backstrom made two saves to lift the Wild past the Blue Jackets and improve to 5-0-1 at home this season. Since last March, he's 11-0-3 at home with a 1.54 goals against average.

Backstrom is also improving at shootouts: He's won two this season after going 4-10 in his first two seasons.

"He looks better," coach Jacques Lemaire said.

"I think we played very good, solid defense the whole night.  So I'm happy that I could be there when the team needed it, because they played so awesome the whole night." -- Niklas Backstrom
Two nights after shutting out Phoenix, Backstrom stopped 24 of 26 shots, including Kristian Huselius' overtime breakaway.

"I didn't have that much to do before that. I think we played very good, solid defense the whole night," said Backstrom, who gave up goals to Huselius and Rick Nash in regulation. "So I'm happy that I could be there when the team needed it, because they played so awesome the whole night."

Zidlicky beat rookie goalie Steve Mason to the glove side and Miettinen snapped a shot between his legs for the win.

"I was happy," Mason said. "Obviously, I would have liked to cap it off with a win. But overall I was happy with the way I played."

Minnesota's Benoit Pouliot and Huselius scored less than two minutes apart late in the first period. Eric Reitz put Minnesota ahead 1:48 into the third period with his first NHL goal, but Nash's unassisted goal at 7:20 forced the overtime.

Blue Jackets coach Ken Hitchcock was pleased with his team's play, if not the outcome.
"We've had one poor hockey game in the last 12," he said. "It's hard to fault our effort right now. Our players are competing, and guys are really pulling together."

Stars 3, Coyotes 2 | VIDEO

The slumping Stars came to the right place. Loui Eriksson scored twice as Dallas ended a three-game losing streak with its eighth win in its last 10 visits to Phoenix.

Mark Parrish had the Stars' other goal and Marty Turco stopped 25 shots, including a game-saver on Olli Jokinen's point-blank shot with seven seconds to play.

"It was certainly something we needed desperately," center Mike Modano said of Turco's save and the victory. "We made a lot of our chances even though there were not a lot of them. This was something we needed. When you're patient and do your job, it makes everyone's job a lot easier. We had a simple game plan and we didn't try to do too much."

Eriksson's backhander at 17:06 of the opening period gave the Stars the lead. Steven Reinprecht tied it at 2:32 of the second period, but Parrish's power-play tip-in of Sergei Zubov's shot at 8:13 put Dallas ahead to stay.

Eriksson scored off a scramble at 19:05, but Kevin Porter converted Mikkel Boedker's pass 17 seconds later to make it a one-goal game.

"(Martin) Hanzal, Porter and (Mikkel) Boedker were our best line," Phoenix coach Wayne Gretzky. "They played solid throughout the night. They played really well, all three of them. We didn't have enough out of everybody else tonight."

Eriksson now leads the Stars with 8 goals.

"I think he's been our best player (this year)," Ribeiro said. "He's been great and he knows how to play."

Dallas won for the 10th time in 13 visits to Phoenix since the start of the 2005-06 season.

"Those are points that were needed," coach Dave Tippett said. "We played a solid first period and a solid third. We were solid defensively and we cleaned up a lot. We have to continue to limit the mistakes and play as a team to give us a chance to win."

Predators 3, Kings 1 | VIDEO

The second half of Nashville's marathon road trip was a lot more successful than the first half. The Predators lost the first three games of their trip, but completed a three-game California sweep when J.P. Dumont scored a tie-breaking power-play goal with 2:28 remaining.

Dumont scored off a power-play scramble after Kings rookie defenseman Drew Doughty was called for hooking when he took down Martin Erat on a 2-on-1 break. Shea Weber added an empty-netter as the Preds won in overtime at San Jose and Anaheim before completing the sweep at Los Angeles — snapping the Kings' four-game winning streak in the process.

"They were coming hard," Nashville defenseman Ryan Suter said of the Kings, who tried to take advantage of the fact that the Predators were playing their second game in two nights. "We defended well. We had to get pucks down into their end. It's a lot easier to play when you’re in their end.

"You know you're tired coming into the game. But one it starts, you have to block that out and give it your all."

No one gave his all better than Dan Ellis, who stopped 33 shots and was in goal for all three California wins. The only shot to beat him was Michal Handzus' tip of Kyle Quincey's slapper from the left point at 15:06 of the second period.

"He played great.  He's a good goalie. We face a good goaltender almost every night. We just have to find ways to beat the other goalies." -- Erik Ersberg on opposing goaltender Dan Ellis

"We knew they were collapsing, so we tried to get the puck to the net," Handzus said. "I was lucky to get a couple of bounces and it went in."

His goal came 5:20 after Jason Arnott opened the scoring by redirecting Erat's centering pass through Erik Ersberg's legs.

Ellis allowed just seven goals on 124 shots in the three wins.

"He played great," said Ersberg, who was in goal for all four wins. "He's a good goalie. We face a good goaltender almost every night. We just have to find ways to beat the other goalies."

The Predators came to California having lost three in a row. They headed for home with a .500 road trip in the bank.

"We're glad to come out of here with three wins," Suter said. "We would have liked to come out with more, but to split on the road — that's pretty good. We're happy with that going home."

Avalanche 3, Oilers 2, SO | VIDEO

Darcy Tucker spoiled the night for the sellout crowd at Rexall Place, scoring the tying goal with 10.7 seconds left in regulation, then getting the winner in the shootout.

The Oilers led 2-1 when a penalty to Fernando Pisani gave the Avs a power play. With Peter Budaj on the bench for an extra attacker, Shawn Horcoff had a golden chance to put the game away, but his bid for an empty-netter was blocked by Brett Clark.

"Clarkie was standing there on an island, and you're just hoping that he makes the right play and guesses right, and he did," Avs coach Tony Granato said.

Ethan Moreau was called for tripping with 25 seconds left in regulation, giving the Avs a 6-on-3 skating advantage, and Tucker tipped Jordan Leopold's shot behind Dwayne Roloson.

"That happens a lot where guys miss an empty-net chance," Granato said. "Obviously, we got a couple of calls to get the 5-on-3 power play. We hung around, which was good. Most of the reason why we hung around was our goalie made the saves for us."

After Wojtek Wolski and Edmonton's Sam Gagner scored in the shootout, the goaltenders stopped the next three shots before Tucker beat Roloson between the legs. Budaj easily stopped Horcoff's wrist shot for the win.

Horcoff blamed himself for the point the Oilers didn't get.

"Put the loss on my shoulders," he said. "We played hard. If I put the puck into the empty net, we win."

Robert Nilsson gave the Oilers the lead with a power-play goal 6:44 into the game, hooking a loose puck behind Budaj. Ryan Smyth tied it at 11:18 with his first goal against his former team, crashing the net and nudging a rebound behind Roloson while being knocked down.

Rookie Liam Reddox, playing in his second NHL game, put the Oilers ahead at 7:25 of the second period by chipping a shot over Budaj for his first NHL goal.

Budaj kept the Avs in the game by making 13 of his 32 saves in the third period.

Despite the lost point, Oilers coach Craig MacTavish was pleased with the way his team rebounded from a poor effort in a 5-2 loss to Toronto on Thursday.

"We played a better game," he said. "We played a really smart game, a smart third period. I was happy with the way we played for virtually the whole game. We took a couple of penalties and let them back in it at the end. Other than that, we played a good hockey game."

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

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