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Rask up to task again for Bruins

by Brian Compton
Glen Murray (left) netted a pair of goals for the Boston Bruins, who won for the fifth time in seven games with a 6-3 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Monday night. 
Think Tuukka Rask is enjoying life in the National Hockey League?
Making just his second career start, the 20-year-old rookie once again played like a seasoned veteran in a 20-save effort as the Boston Bruins won for the fifth time in seven games with an impressive 6-3 win over the Philadelphia Flyers at the Wachovia Center on Monday night.
"The guys played really well today," Rask said. "It's a hard game for a goalie when you don't face that many shots. You just have to stay focused. But the guys played well and it was a nice win."
While Rask did his share, he certainly received plenty of help from his offense. Glen Murray scored twice for the Bruins, while Marc Savard tallied a goal and three assists as Boston rebounded quite nicely from Saturday night’s 2-1 loss to the New York Islanders.
Murray got the Bruins on the board quickly, as he took a pass from Savard and beat Martin Biron with a wrist shot just 4:06 into the game ( 700K ). The tally extended Savard’s point streak to seven games.
"It was a big game for us coming off of that loss in New York," Murray said. "Coming into this building -- it was a big boost for our team."
Savard put Boston up by a pair just over three minutes later, when he fired a slap shot from the right circle that deflected off the stick of Flyers’ defenseman Randy Jones and over Biron’s glove ( 700K ).
Murray notched his second goal of the game at the 1:43 mark of the second period. Sixteen seconds later, Flyers coach John Stevens opted to pull Biron in favor of Antero Niittymaki.
''I don't know if emotionally we are ready to be a consistent hockey team,'' Stevens said. ''We just don't emotionally get revved up every game, it doesn't matter who our opponent is.''
Glen Metropolit gave the Bruins a 4-0 lead before the Flyers finally were able to get things going, as Mike Knuble and Mike Richards cut the deficit in half with goals just 2:25 apart. But the Bruins made it a 5-2 game when Peter Schaeffer beat Niittymaki on a rebound chance at the 13:39 mark of the second.
“I think it obviously falls a little bit on everybody, but I think I have to do a better job myself making sure the guys are ready to play,” Flyers captain Jason Smith said. “We’ve gone through a stretch of games where we’ve been really good one game and not so good the next.  Inconsistency doesn’t get you very far. It doesn’t get you winning a lot of games.”
Scottie Upshall got the Flyers back to within two when his shot from the right circle got past Rask at the 4:02 mark of the third period. Philadelphia wouldn’t get any closer, however, and Chuck Kobasew scored an empty-net goal with six seconds remaining.
"I think we wanted to bounce back from a real poor effort," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "I thought the guys did a great job of that tonight."
Stars 3, Islanders 2, OT | Video
One of these days, the Islanders are going to have to score more than two goals in a game. On Monday, though, it was enough to pick up a point in the standings.
New York scored only two goals for the ninth consecutive game, and Mike Modano scored his second goal of the night 35 seconds into overtime to lead Dallas to its sixth straight win with a victory at Nassau Coliseum.
Modano, who now has 515 career goals, was able to slam home a loose rebound after Rick DiPietro had made an initial save on a shot from Stephane Robidas. It marked the first time the Stars’ first win over the Isles since March 23, 2001 – a span of seven games (1-5-1).
''We couldn't have drawn up the game-winner any better,'' Modano said. ''That's the best overtime we've played in a long time.''
Miroslav Satan erased a 2-1 deficit for the Islanders with a power play goal with just 2:38 remaining in regulation, as New York continues to find a way to get points during this offensive funk. The Islanders (12-8-1) have scored the least amount of goals in the NHL with 51.
Islanders coach Ted Nolan, however, insists that his team is not getting frustrated by its inability to find the back of the net. New York has not scored a first-period goal in its last six games.
“If the chances ain’t there, I think there’s more room for frustration,” Nolan said. “As long as you have the opportunities, eventually they’ll go in.”
Meanwhile, the Stars continue to roll. They’ve outscored their opponents 20-7 during this winning streak and are 6-0-2 in their last eight games.
On Monday, Modano played a huge role, showing the Stars that he still has plenty of gas left in the tank. He erased a 1-0 deficit at the 11:37 mark of the second period, just 2:30 after Richard Park beat Marty Turco to a loose puck near the Stars’ blue line and scored into an empty net.
''We've seen worse,'' Stars captain Brenden Morrow joked. ''That wasn't that strange for this club. ''(The wins) are kind of ugly, they're sloppy, but the goalies are giving us the opportunity to get it back.''
Jeff Halpern gave Dallas its first lead of the night with his fifth goal of the season 6:07 into the third period. The former Princeton University star took a pass from Sergei Zubov and beat DiPietro to make it 2-1.
While DiPietro (28 saves) gives the Islanders a chance to win on most nights, forwards such as Mike Comrie know the Isles need to do a much better job of finding the back of the net.
“It’s really frustrating,” Comrie said. “There’s been so many close chances and goals that you think are in, but they don’t cross the line. When that happens, you’ve got to simplify things and keep getting pucks to the net and try to work through it.”
Oilers 3, Blue Jackets 1 | Video
Oilers' Geoff Sanderson, and Allan Rourke celebrate teammate Kyle Brodziak's goal in Edmonton's 3-1 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Edmonton is suddenly getting both the goaltending and timely goals it needs.
In the process, the Oilers are getting right back in the thick of things in the Western Conference.
Dwayne Roloson made 36 saves, while Andrew Cogliano broke a 1-1 tie with 10:33 to play in regulation as Edmonton defeated Columbus for its second straight win.
With the victory, the Oilers (10-13-1) pulled to within five points of the first-place Minnesota Wild in the Northwest Division. Edmonton also concluded its six-game homestand with a 3-3 record.
In a nice change of pace, the Oilers also only needed 60 minutes to record a victory. Their last three wins – prior to Monday night came via the shootout. Six of Edmonton’s first nine victories came in the breakaway session.
"It was a good feeling to get one in regulation," Oilers coach Craig MacTavish said. "We're not doing anything the easy way. It would have been nice to win a couple games at the beginning of the homestand and gives ourselves a chance to put something together. But it was nice to recover and get to .500 during this stretch."

The Blue Jackets (11-9-4), meanwhile, saw their two-game win streak come to an end as they dropped the opener of a three-game road trip. They also lost goaltender Pascal Leclaire six minutes into the second period due to a hamstring injury. He was replaced by Fredrik Norrena.
"That was tough," Columbus forward Rick Nash said. "He's the backbone of our team. Freddy came in and played well. Hopefully (Pascal) is all right."

Edmonton took a 1-0 lead just 3:38 into the opening period on a goal by Kyle Brodziak. The shot seemed to surprise Leclaire, who was unable to handle Brodziak’s wrist shot as it deflected off Leclaire’s glove and into the net.

Six seconds after Nash failed to convert on a penalty shot, the Blue Jackets tied things up as Ron Hainsey fired a shot from the point that beat Roloson to make it 1-1.

Cogliano regained the Oilers’ lead midway through the third period, as he took a pass from Robert Nilsson and fired it past Norrena for his fifth goal of the season.

Edmonton’s special teams received a huge boost when it was able to kill off a two-man advantage late in the third period. Ales Hemsky sealed the victory with an empty-net goal with 16 seconds remaining.

"That was big, especially with two of your best penalty killers (Jarret Stoll and Steve Staios) in the box," Roloson said. "We did a great job there. It was huge."
Indeed it was, as the Oilers now face a tough test on Wednesday night at Colorado. The Avalanche (12-9-1) are currently just two points ahead of Edmonton in the Northwest.

"It was a solid team effort," Cogliano said. "To get a regulation win and go on the road with two wins under our belt is big for our team. Overall I thought we played pretty well on the homestand. As of now we are pretty confident."
Material from wire services and team websites was used in this report.
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