For years, the New Jersey Devils
dominated the New York Rangers
. Not anymore.
The Rangers made it five wins in as many games against their suburban rivals on Friday night as Chris Drury scored twice in a 3-1 victory at the Prudential Center.
Henrik Lundqvist continued his personal mastery of the Devils this season. He has won all five games, allowing just five goals in the process.
"It's always fun to beat the New York-area teams," Lundqvist said. "We have three more games against these guys and they have been good games. They are a good team but, so far this year, we have really played our best every time we play them."
Lundqvist has just five wins away from Madison Square Garden this season, but two of them have come against the Devils. He made 33 saves on Friday and preserved the victory when he stopped Zach Parise’s stuff try with 37 seconds remaining.
"He certainly played well," Devils coach Brent Sutter said. "He made some big saves for them. I thought we did a lot of good things here tonight. Obviously, we didn't score enough goals."
The victory at New Jersey came one night after the Rangers shut out the Flyers in Philadelphia and put them solidly in eighth place in the Eastern Conference, four points ahead of the ninth-place Islanders.
"We've been a lot more disciplined lately," Drury said. "It's down to the wire here. We need to get points and we need to get wins. We starting to build some momentum and we're starting to see how we have to play. It's defense first, and we'll go from there."
Drury’s empty-net goal with 3.7 seconds remaining was his 500th career point. Teammate Scott Gomez had reached the 500-point mark earlier in the game when he assisted on Drury’s first goal.
"It's a nice milestone for Scott and me, but we’re a lot happier with the win," said Drury, who now has 15 goals on the season.
The Rangers got the jump on the Devils when rookie Brandon Dubinsky picked up the puck, raced down the left side and beat Martin Brodeur with a slap shot from just past the top of the left circle.
Drury made it 2-0 at 2:06 of the second period during a power play. After Brodeur stopped several good chances, he was victimized when Drury’s attempted cross-crease pass hit the goaltender’s left leg and went into the net.
“I tried to pass to Nigel (Dawes),” Drury said. “I caught a break and it went in.”
Drury’s goal appeared to energize the Devils, who halved the margin at 5:48 when Parise banged his own rebound past Lundqvist during a delayed penalty.
The Devils carried the play for the rest of the period, finishing with 14 shots in the period and 29 through 40 minutes. But in the third period, the Rangers shut down the Devils, limiting them to five shots. New Jersey’s best opportunity came in the final minute, when Parise took a pass that caromed off the boards and found himself in alone, only to be denied by Lundqvist’s pad.
Drury hit the empty net to complete the scoring and reach the milestone.
Red Wings 2, Avalanche 0 | Video
It took nearly 58 minutes, but the Wings finally solved Peter Budaj. Henrik Zetterberg’s goal with 2:20 left in regulation broke a scoreless tie as Detroit finally made its huge shot advantage pay off.
The Wings outshot Colorado 23-4 through two periods and 36-15 overall, but were unable to beat Budaj until Zetterberg’s 30th of the season.
“I thought Homer (Tomas Holmstrom) was in front of the net, so I just went to turn around and put it on net and it hit the goalie's stick and went in,” Zetterberg said. That's just what I was trying to do in that situation: Get the puck in front and get a rebound.''
Kris Draper’s empty-netter with 13 seconds remaining assured the Wings of their sixth consecutive victory.
The Wings outshot Colorado 14-3 in the first period and 9-1 in the second. But the Avs actually put the puck in the net first. However, an apparent goal by Milan Hejduk with eight seconds left in the second period was waved off because of incidental contact with goalie Dominik Hasek.
''I didn't know exactly what happened in front of the net, but I know he was in the crease and interfering with me,'' Hasek said. ''So I knew it was a good call.''
Despite giving up so many shots and scoring chances, the Avalanche didn't give the Red Wings much room.
Colorado is without three of its best offensive players: Joe Sakic (hernia surgery), Ryan Smyth (broken ankle) and Paul Stastny (appendectomy). The Avs have stayed in the Western Conference playoff race by concentrating on defense.
''That was a very tough ending,'' Colorado coach Joel Quenneville said. ''To come that close to getting something and have it get away on a lucky bounce, we spoiled a very special night by our goaltender.''
Budaj said his team put in a lot of effort.
''Even though we only had 15 shots, I thought we worked hard,'' he said. ''I'm disappointed we didn't get into overtime.''
Hasek finished with 15 saves for his 80th career shutout, second to Martin Brodeur among active goaltenders. It was his fourth of the season.
“I never think about the past, I never check my record with the team I play against," said Hasek who had his second consecutive shutout against Colorado. "I only think about who I am facing, their best players, their best goal-scorers, and be ready for them because every game is different."
Thrashers 5, Sabres 4, SO | Video
Eric Perrin had never scored a shootout goal before Friday night. He — and the crowd at Philips Arena — will never forget his first one. Perrin, who makes his living mainly as a checking forward, scored on a highlight-reel move for the only goal of the shootout to give Atlanta the victory.
|Tobias Enstrom forced overtime when he teed up a slap shot from beyond the top of the right circle and blasted it through a screen and past Jocelyn Thibault.
After the first six shooters came up empty, Perrin came in, faked to his right and went back to his left before beating Jocelyn Thibault. Thomas Vanek then shot over the crossbar, giving the Thrashers the victory.
''I tried those moves in the old IHL and it worked once in a while, so I decided to go for it,'' said Perrin, who was 0-for-4 on career shootout attempts in the NHL before the game-winner.
Perrin, in his first season in Atlanta, played for Cleveland, Quebec and Kansas City of the old International Hockey League from 1997 to 2000.
"That was a nice move,” Atlanta coach and GM Don Waddell said. “I said, 'He just moved up on the shootouts.' In my shootout list he just moved into my top three after that move. He is good on breakaways, too."
The Thrashers forced overtime when Tobias Enstrom scored with Atlanta skating 6-on-3 — Buffalo had two men in the box and the Thrashers pulled Johan Hedberg. Enstrom teed up a slap shot from beyond the top of the right circle and blasted it through a screen and past Thibault with 17 seconds left in regulation.
''I saw it at the last second,'' Thibault said of Enstrom's shot. ''I didn't have enough time to stop it. I would have liked to get that extra save for the team.''
Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff said ''stupid penalties cost us the game.''
''We made some mental mistakes that we couldn't afford,'' Ruff said.
Atlanta led 2-0 after one period on goals by Mark Recchi and Bobby Holik against Ryan Miller, who left in the second period with a leg injury. But the Thrashers stopped skating in the second period and Buffalo got goals from Jochen Hecht, Jason Pominville and Daniel Paille.
“We had a great first period, but we let the game get away in the second,” Perrin said. “We started making mental mistakes, and they have so many good offensive players — they capitalize on mistakes.”
Jim Slater tied the game 2:25 into the third period, but Dmitri Kalinin’s power-play goal less than three minutes later put Buffalo back in front.
The Sabres preserved the lead until the final minute, when Clarke MacArthur was called for hooking with 56.4 seconds left, and Tony Lydman drew a delay of game penalty with 22 seconds left.
The Thrashers played without leading scorer Ilya Kovalchuk, who went down with a knee injury on Tuesday. He’s likely to miss Saturday’s game against Philadelphia as well.
Blues 1, Ducks 0, SO | Video
Ex-Duck Andy McDonald came back to haunt his former club, getting the shootout winner as the Blues got the extra point after neither team scored for 65 minutes.
McDonald, traded by the Ducks to St. Louis in mid-December to let Anaheim bring back Scott Niedermayer, beat Jean-Sebastien Giguere high to the stick side after Anaheim’s Ryan Getzlaf shot wide. Manny Legace stopped Todd Bertuzzi before Brad Boyes stuffed a forehand shot past Giguere’s pad.
Entering the game, the Blues had been 1-for-16 on shootout chances this season, the only goal coming on a game-winner by Boyes in a 3-2 victory over Nashville on Nov. 17. Boyes had been shooting first, but told coach Andy Murray that a change might help change the Blues’ shootout fortunes.
“I’ve been going first lately,” he said. “I said I didn’t want to go first, and Mac said he wanted to.”
McDonald had faced Giguere often in practice during their time as teammates.
“He stopped me a lot in practice,” McDonald said. “I wanted to try something he hadn’t seen in practice, and it worked.”
He also said it was a little odd playing his former team.
“It's a little bit weird seeing those guys," McDonald said. "I just concentrated on trying to help the team win. We played a very smart game."
Anaheim, working its way eastward on a nine-game trip, has dropped five in a row, totaling just five goals in that span.
"We played more the type of hockey that's going to be required to have success," coach Randy Carlyle said. "We battled in every area of the rink.
"These shootouts are tough when you lose them and they're great when you win."
The Ducks had the better of play during regulation and overtime, forcing Legace to make 30 saves — including six on a second-period power play — for his fourth shutout of the season. The Blues also had to kill a penalty to get out of regulation after Keith Tkachuk was whistled for tripping Todd Marchant behind the St. Louis net with 1:23 to go. But the Ducks got only one shot in the rest of the regulation, and none in the final 37 seconds of the power play at the start of overtime.
Doug Weight, who went to Anaheim in the deal that brought McDonald to St. Louis, got a warm reception from the sellout crowd. He got a nice round of applause when he was introduced on the Ducks' starting line before winning the opening faceoff, then got a standing ovation during a break in the first period when the video board zeroed in on him on the bench.
He wasn't surprised by Legace's saves, which included two break-ins and a deflection in the first period.
"The only goals that have been beating him have been tip-ins, rebounds, backdoors, flukes," Weight said. "If the puck's there and he sees it he makes the save.
"We had some great opportunities, but that was Manny."
Stars 4, Oilers 1 | Video
Dallas survived Edmonton’s first-period barrage, then took advantage of the Oilers’ penalty troubles to win at Rexall Center and move two points ahead of San Jose in the Pacific Division race.
Edmonton opened the scoring 5:12 into the game on a goal by Zach Stortini — the Oilers’ only goal in a first period that saw them outshoot Dallas 17-5. The 17 shots were four more than they managed in 60 minutes on Tuesday, when they were beaten 3-0 at home by San Jose.
“Sometimes you have to weather the storm,” said Dallas goaltender Marty Turco, who finished with 32 saves. “We had a lackluster beginning, but we came out barely unscathed.”
Brenden Morrow tied the game 7:16 into the second period, one-timing Mike Ribeiro’s pass behind Dwayne Roloson. Ribeiro’s long pass set up Stephane Robidas’ power-play blast past Roloson at 10:46, with the Stars up two men.
Jussi Jokinen’s power-play goal midway through the third period gave the Stars some insurance and Steve Ott’s goal into an empty net with 2:06 left completed the scoring.
“In the third period, we were able to get the lead and expand it a little bit,” Dallas center Mike Modano said. “We got our game together.”
The Oilers, who are sinking in the Western Conference playoff race, knew they let another opportunity get away after thoroughly dominating the first 20 minutes.
“We’ve got to find a way to get results,” defenseman Steve Staios said. “It’s too crucial a point in the season where we can take a loss lightly. We did a lot of things better than we did Tuesday, but we have to take advantage of our opportunities.”
Material from wire services and team online and broadcast media was used in this report.