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Roundup: Elliott, Senators end Sabres winning streak

by Brian Compton
Goaltender Brian Elliott gave the Ottawa Senators a much-needed lift.

Elliott stopped all 22 shots he faced for his injury-depleted club for his second shutout in four games as the Sens skated away with a 2-0 victory over the Buffalo Sabres on Wednesday night at Scotiabank Place.

Ottawa was forced to play without forwards Jason Spezza and Nick Foligno. Spezza could miss 6-8 weeks because of a torn medial collateral ligament, while Foligno is out indefinitely with a lower-body injury. The injuries forced Ottawa coach Cory Clouston to play defenseman Chris Campoli at forward.

The Sens are also without No. 1 goalie Pascal Leclaire, who is recovering from a broken cheekbone.

"Obviously you go into every game wanting to stop every puck," Elliott said. "I was able to make all the saves I should and maybe a couple I shouldn't."

The loss ended Buffalo's four-game winning streak. Ryan Miller finished with 26 saves.

"Not real impressive on our part," Miller said. "Ottawa played a pretty solid game, but we've got to be better. … I don't think we generated enough on the front end. They put a game plan together and did it a little bit better than us."

Alexandre Picard scored the only goal the Sens would need with 1:37 remaining in the first period. Mike Fisher sealed the deal with his 15th goal of the season in the final two minutes of regulation.

"It doesn't matter how we win as long as we're finding ways and playing good defensively," Fisher said. "A bunch of guys played really well. We just need to stick to our good team game."

Hurricanes 5, Stars 3 | HIGHLIGHTS | PHOTOS

Tuomo Ruutu notched his first NHL hat trick and Cam Ward made 24 saves for his first victory since Oct. 9 as Carolina beat Dallas at the RBC Center.

"It's been a while," Ruutu said. "Obviously, it's not an everyday thing. At the same time, we played a good team game. I hope it's going to keep happening."

Eric Staal had a goal and two assists, and Jussi Jokinen had a goal and an assist for the Hurricanes, who won for only the eighth time this season and have scored the fewest goals in the League.

"I'm very pleased with the way we played," Carolina coach Paul Maurice said. "We've played well over our last six or seven games."

Loui Eriksson, Steve Ott and Brenden Morrow scored for Dallas, which nearly rallied from a three-goal, first-period deficit. The Stars have earned points in five of their last six games, yet only have two wins in their last seven.

"We have no consistency," Morrow said. "We'd love to get a little streak going here. We still have six or seven games in December to turn it around."

Coyotes 6, Maple Leafs 3 | HIGHLIGHTS | PHOTOS

It had been nearly four years since Phoenix paid a visit to the Air Canada Centre, but the Coyotes made it a memorable trip.

Petr Prucha scored twice, and Keith Yandle and Martin Hanzal each had three assists for the Coyotes, who also received goals from Vernon Fiddler, Paul Bissonnette, Scottie Upshall and Radim Vrbata and improved to 7-1-1 in their last nine games.

"We really expected to win," Coyotes captain Shane Doan said.

Prucha scored the game's first two goals. He broke a scoreless tie at 13:33 of the opening period before giving Phoenix a 2-0 lead with his sixth goal of the season just 51 seconds into the second.

Jamal Meyers responded for Toronto at 1:51, but the Coyotes put the game away with three unanswered goals -- Fiddler, Bissonnette and Upshall all beat Vesa Toskala as Phoenix grabbed a 5-1 lead.

"They were kind of swarming everywhere, in our zone and in their zone and they made us look pretty bad," Maple Leafs defenseman Jeff Finger said.

Phil Kessel scored in the final minute of the second and Alexei Ponikarovsky beat Ilya Bryzgalov (27 saves) midway through the third period, but Vrbata slammed the door by hitting the empty net with 12 seconds remaining.

"We wanted to stay aggressive," Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said. "We gave up a couple late, but I thought our guys competed hard."

Panthers 4, Thrashers 3 | HIGHLIGHTS | PHOTOS

Florida surrendered a 3-0 lead but got the win when Michael Frolik scored with 1:21 left, enabling the Panthers to avoid what would have been a disastrous finish with a victory against Atlanta at BankAtlantic Center.

Stephen Weiss, Radek Dvorak and Bryan McCabe also scored for Florida, while Tomas Vokoun made 20 saves for the victory.

"It wasn't textbook or a video that I'm going to do a whole lot of studying of," Panthers coach Pete DeBoer said. "But it was a good two points -- and I think a deserved two points."

Atlanta had completely erased a 3-0 deficit by the early stages of the third period. After Ilya Kovalchuk got the Thrashers on the board with 2:08 remaining in the second, Nik Antropov and Slava Kozlov scored 4:28 apart in the third to make it 3-3.

"For some reason, our third period is the best this year," Kozlov said. "We've come back (in some games) to win in the third. So far we're not in the playoff zone and we're trying to make some points."

But Atlanta was denied a point in the standings when Frolik poked a rebound past Johan Hedberg with just 81 seconds to play for his 10th goal of the season.

"Too little too late, I guess," Thrashers coach John Anderson said. "It was a bit of payback for them."

Material from wire services was used in this report.

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