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Roloson leads Oilers past Sharks

by Brian Compton

Edmonton goaltender Dwayne Roloson was spectacular on Sunday night, helping the Oilers snap the Sharks 11-game winning streak with a thrilling 2-1 victory.
Watch highlights from the Oilers shootout win
The San Jose Sharks did everything they possibly could to extend their winning streak to a franchise-record 12 games.
But Dwayne Roloson simply wouldn’t oblige.
Roloson stopped 48 shots through regulation and overtime, and went 3-for-4 in the shootout, as the Edmonton Oilers put a halt to the Sharks’ winning ways with a wild 2-1 victory at HP Pavilion on Sunday night.
Roloson’s efforts helped the Oilers improve to 15-3 in shootouts. While that’s been Mathieu Garon’s domain this season, Roloson certainly didn’t look out of place on Sunday.
''It was no different than any other day,'' said Roloson, who won at Phoenix one night earlier in his first start since Feb. 1. ''I basically try to help my guys win. I can't control what the coaching staff says about who's playing. ... I was able to see most of their shots. Some I didn't see, and I got lucky. I was in position, and that was key.''
Ales Hemsky erased a 1-0 deficit in the second period, while Fernando Pisani scored the decisive goal in the shootout. Robert Nilsson also scored for the Oilers in the breakaway session, while Patrick Marleau was the only Shark to solve Roloson both in regulation and the shootout. The San Jose captain gave his team a 1-0 lead with a power play goal 17:55 into the game.
''We had probably more chances than I can remember, and he made a ton of saves,'' Sharks coach Ron Wilson said. ''Glove saves, stretch saves, split saves. He just had one of those nights. You thought he might be a little tired, but he hasn't played in about a month. We did a lot of things, but he robbed us.''
The Sharks’ 49 shots were a season high. They appeared to have the game won in overtime, when Joe Thornton skated in on a breakaway. But Roloson managed to swat away Thornton’s wrist shot, and then the Oilers’ netminder robbed Brian Campbell’s point-blank chance just moments later.
''I think I've seen him at that level before, but I've never seen him better than he was tonight,'' said Edmonton coach Craig MacTavish, whose club is five points behind eighth-place Vancouver in the Western Conference playoff race. ''I'm really happy for him. I think that save he made on Thornton's overtime breakaway was his best of the night.''
With the loss, the Sharks remained just three points ahead of the Anaheim Ducks and four ahead of the Dallas Stars in the Pacific Division. San Jose meets each of its four division opponents twice in the season's final 10 games, including three games against the Los Angeles Kings.
''We played well, and we created a lot of chances,'' said Sharks forward Jonathan Cheechoo, who had seven shots. ''We just didn't create enough traffic in front of him, and I know I didn't convert a couple of good rebounds. Any goalie that sees the puck is going to stop it.''

Penguins 7, Flyers 1 | Video
Pittsburgh enjoyed scoring seven goals on Wednesday night so much, it decided to do it again on Sunday.
Without the services of injured captain Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Petr Sykora each had two goals and two assists as the Penguins pummeled struggling Philadelphia at Mellon Arena.
Pittsburgh – which beat the Buffalo Sabres by a 7-3 score on Wednesday – moved within one point of the New Jersey Devils, who sit atop both the Atlantic Division and the Eastern Conference. It was the Penguins’ fifth win in six games as they continue to find ways to score without Crosby, who has missed 23 of the last 26 games due to an ankle injury. Pittsburgh is 13-6-4 in those contests.
''That's what you need when your top guy goes out,'' said Penguins forward Ryan Malone, who contributed two assists skating alongside Malkin and Sykora. ''There's no reason when Sid comes back that we can't have the same desperation, the same attitude. He's just going to add to us.''
Malkin’s outburst gives him eight points in his last two games. He has nine goals and 13 assists in 13 career games against the Flyers, who have lost four straight (0-2-2) and six of their last eight (2-3-3).
''He (Malkin) may be the best player in the League right now, and you have to respect that fact,'' Flyers coach John Stevens said.
Marian Hossa and Hal Gill also scored their first goals for the Penguins after being acquired on deadline day from Atlanta and Toronto, respectively. Hossa’s goal gave the Pens a 5-1 lead at 15:25 of the second period. Malkin and Sykora scored less than four minutes apart in the first, before Tyler Kennedy chased Flyers goalie Martin Biron 4:15 into the second in what was a 3-0 game. Biron allowed three goals on eight shots.
''When you get taken out of a game where your playoff life is on the line, you're never happy about it,'' said Biron, who was replaced by Antero Niittymaki.
Philadelphia will look to bounce back on Tuesday night, when the Atlanta Thrashers visit the Wachovia Center.
''It's in our hands right now,'' said Flyers forward Mike Richards, who was minus-3. ''It's better to be in this situation than to be chasing from behind. We control our destiny, but we better start winning games and playing a whole lot better.''

Flames 4, Blackhawks 2 | Video

Goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff made 34 saves as the Calgary Flames doubled up the Chicago Blackhawks, 4-2.

Jarome Iginla, Kristian Huselius and Dion Phaneuf all scored in the second period, and Miikka Kiprusoff made 34 saves as Calgary held off Chicago to move into a three-way tie in the Northwest Division with Minnesota and Colorado.
Despite allowing 17 shots on goal in the third period, the Flames were able to bounce back after suffering two straight road losses where they squandered leads. Kiprusoff made 16 saves in the third.
''We've had trouble at the end of games lately,'' said Calgary forward Alex Tanguay, who had two assists. ''We need to learn to finish games. Today, Kipper was solid at the end.''
Robert Lang and Jonathan Toews scored for the Blackhawks, who lost for the fifth time in six games. Chicago is seven points behind No. 8 Vancouver in the Western Conference with only nine games remaining.
''We had a lot of great chances,'' Toews said after scoring his 20th goal of the season. ''We finally had a couple of power plays. When you have two or three in a row and it doesn't go in, it's hard to stay positive.''
Iginla broke a 1-1 tie when he beat Patrick Lalime on a breakaway 1:13 into the second period. The Flames’ captain intercepted Brent Seabrook’s pass at center ice and cruised in alone for his 45th goal of the season. Huselius made it 3-1 less than four minutes later, and Phaneuf broke the game open at 13:47 of the second.
''We grabbed a little momentum in the second period and went from there,'' Iginla said. ''Until then, the chances were very close.''
It could have been closer if not for the play of Kiprusoff in the third period. His only blemish was Lang’s rebound chance at 4:41.
''I think we played smarter today and kept playing our game plan,'' Kiprusoff said. ''It's crazy in our division. It's so close. We can't look at the other games and just worry about our games.''
Hurricanes 5, Senators 1 | Video
Joe Corvo greeted his former teammates in a way no one at the RBC Center could have possibly expected.
Corvo – who was dealt from Ottawa to Carolina on Feb. 11 – notched his first NHL hat trick on Sunday, as the Hurricanes cruised past the Senators to improve to 11-1-1 in their last 13 games on home ice.
''What can you say?'' Corvo said. ''If I got to write a storybook ending, this would be it.''
Patrick Eaves, who was also sent to the Hurricanes in the same deal, scored his first goal with Carolina, helping his new club bounce back from its worst loss of the season. The Hurricanes dropped a 7-1 decision to the Buffalo Sabres on Friday night.
''Anytime you get traded, your world kind of gets turned upside down,'' Eaves said. ''It's hard for you not to come out and want to play your best.''
Dany Heatley opened the scoring with a power play goal 3:16 into the game, but the Hurricanes reeled off five unanswered tallies. Eaves and Corvo both scored on the power play less than four minutes apart later in the first to give Carolina a 2-1 lead. Corvo’s came during a 4-on-3 situation, as he fired a low shot past Ottawa goalie Martin Gerber.
''We were undisciplined and unfocused,'' Gerber said. ''We've got to blame ourselves.''
After Scott Walker made it a 3-1 game 5:54 into the second, Corvo scored another power play goal at 2:09 of the third. He completed his first hat trick with 2:10 remaining.
''He had lots of opportunities,'' Ottawa coach Bryan Murray said of Corvo. ''We gave them 11 power plays. That's his role. He didn't do that for us, but we probably didn't get that many power plays in a game ever when he was here.''

Blue Jackets 4, Red Wings 3 | Video

Manny Malhotra's career day helped lift the Columbus Blue Jackets to a 4-3 victory over the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday.

With Pascal Leclaire sidelined due to flu-like symptoms, Fredrik Norrena made the most of a rare start.
The backup netminder made 43 saves for Columbus on Sunday, while Manny Malhotra had two goals and an assist as the Blue Jackets upset Detroit at Nationwide Arena.
Norrena found out he was getting the nod only minutes before the drop of the puck. He stopped all 12 shots he faced in the opening period.
''I would prefer to know the day before, but those are the things you have to get used to as a backup goalie,'' said Norrena, who won for the first time since Feb. 7.
Columbus had already built a 3-0 lead before Tomas Kopecky solved Norrena 9:15 into the second period. Nikolai Zherdev quickly restored the three-goal lead for the Blue Jackets, as he chased Dominik Hasek with his 25th goal of the season less than three minutes later.
''It's a game of mistakes, but they capitalized on every opportunity,'' Detroit coach Mike Babcock said. ''We had every opportunity to score a bunch, but they found a way to get some saves.''
Johan Franzen made things interesting with a pair of power play goals. His second tally of the day – which was his 20th of the season – came with just 2:02 remaining in regulation.
"We were our own worst enemy and got away with it,'' Blue Jackets coach Ken Hitchcock said. ''Our goaltender bailed us out.''

Panthers 3, Thrashers 1 | Video
Make it seven in a row for Florida.
Olli Jokinen and Rotislav Olesz scored on the power play, and Tomas Vokoun made 29 saves as the Panthers tied a franchise record with their seventh straight win with Sunday’s victory over Atlanta at the BankAtlantic Center.
“This is the time of year when you want to play this type of hockey and you want to be finding ways to win, and that’s what we’re doing,” said Florida center Brett McLean, who assisted on both power-play goals. “I think it’s real important for us not to get overconfident and to make sure we’re at our best for 60 minutes each night.”
Once again, the Panthers’ power play proved to be too much for the Thrashers. After going 3-for-4 in a 3-2 shootout win over Atlanta on March 8, the Panthers went 2-for-5 on Sunday to move within two points of the Philadelphia Flyers for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
The Panthers, who also won seven in a row in the 1995-96 and 2005-06 seasons, haven’t lost since they were beaten by Minnesota 3-2 on Feb. 29.
“We’re still not there,” Florida coach Jacques Martin said. “We still have some catching up to do. That’s why we can’t afford to lose.”
All-Star forward Ilya Kovalchuk scored the lone goal for the Thrashers, who have dropped nine straight road games and 12 of 14 overall. They outshot Florida 30-25 in the loss, marking the first time in 24 games they’ve held an edge in that department.
“I thought we played pretty hard,” Atlanta forward Eric Boulton said. “They are fighting for their playoff lives and we gave them a good run for their money. We outshot them tonight, and that’s the first time we’ve done that in a while. We’re going right to the end.”

Material from wire services was used in this report.

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