|Ottawa's Dany Heatley scored two goals for the second-straight game.
It wasn’t that Sidney Crosby
lacked for opportunities against Ottawa on Thursday night — his nine shots on goal were a career high. He just couldn’t get one to go into the net. That’s a problem Ottawa’s Dany Heatley
and Jason Spezza
aren’t having these days.
While Crosby was held without a point for the third time in five games and was stopped on three breakaways, Heatley and Spezza each scored twice as the Senators won their fourth straight road game with a 4-1 victory in Pittsburgh.
Martin Gerber stopped 26 of 27 shots for the Senators, who have won four in a row after losing seven straight.
''Breakaways, you want to score,'' a frustrated Crosby said. ''A good goal-scorer finds ways to score on breakaways. For me, it was just a long night. He (Gerber) played well — but breakaways, I like my chances.''
Crosby doesn't have a goal in seven games this month, though he does have seven assists.
''I know we gave him a lot of chances to score,'' Ottawa coach John Paddock said. ''He's not going to be denied very often with that many shots on goal.''
No one is denying Heatley and Spezza these days, especially the Penguins, who lost for the second time in three nights after winning seven of eight. Spezza had two assists to go along with his pair of goals, giving him seven points in two nights. He has four of his eight goals this season in two games against Pittsburgh.
''We weren't very good in the first, we didn't seem to have our legs under us and Marty made some big saves on some good chances early on,'' Spezza said. ''After that, we kind of took over the game.''
Heatley also loves playing against the Penguins — he has 13 goals and 20 points in 19 career games against them.
Rookie Tyler Kennedy put the Penguins ahead at 14:29 of the second period ( 700K ), firing Evgeni Malkin’s rebound past Gerber. But Heatley tied it at 16:17 ( 700K ), ripping a one-time from the right circle past Dany Sabourin.
Spezza scored the go-ahead goal on a power play at 5:43 of the third period ( 700K ), Heatley shoved the puck into the net at 12:19 ( 700K ) after Joe Corvo’s shot hit the post, and Spezza hit the empty net with 49 seconds to play ( 700K ).
Gerber, who stopped all 31 shots he faced in relief of Ray Emery in Wednesday’s 6-0 win at Carolina, did the rest.
Crosby second-guessed himself afterward, saying he switched to shooting the puck low on several rushes when he should have kept trying to beat Gerber high.
"He was good, but we played hard to the rebounds and tried to take as much time away from him as possible," Gerber said. "That makes my job easier."
Oilers 4, Red Wings 3, SO | Video
Not even Dominik Hasek could halt Edmonton’s dominance in shootouts. Fellow Czech Ales Hemsky beat Hasek for the only goal as the Oilers won for the ninth time in 10 tries in the post-overtime breakaway competition.
Hemsky beat Hasek with a shot that went in off the goal post, ending the NHL-leading Red Wings' second seven-game winning streak of the season.
''I just came in and shot as hard as I could,'' Hemsky said. ''You never know what to expect from him. He's a pretty smart goalie.''
Both Hemsky and Hasek are from Pardubice, but Hemsky is 24 and Hasek will turn 43 in January and broke into the NHL in 1990-91, when Hemsky was 7. He wasn’t sure how the youngster would approach the shootout chance.
''I didn't know what to expect from him,'' he said.
Despite the age difference, they are familiar with each other.
''We know each other pretty well from the summers,'' Hasek said. ''Played some games together then ... I know him better from the NHL.''
Said Hemsky: ''We practiced a little. It's fun playing against him.''
The Oilers now have nine shootout wins — and just six in regulation.
''I'm at a loss to explain it, really,'' coach Craig MacTavish said of his team’s shootout success. ''When you've had that much success, you're pretty relaxed going into it. I think that helps the shooters, knowing that.''
Hemsky, Joni Pitkanen and Fernando Pisani scored in regulation for the Oilers.
Matt Hartigan had a first-period goal for Detroit ( 700K ), and Detroit’s Henrik Zetterberg tied the score with 2:40 left in the third period ( 700K ) when he beat Dwayne Roloson from the right circle for his second goal of the game and 23rd of the season. But Zetterberg was one of three shooters who couldn’t beat Roloson in the shootout.
''We didn't think we were on it from start to finish,'' Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said of his team’s effort.
Canadiens 4, Flyers 1 | Video
Mark Streit plays defense by necessity and offense by choice. With Montreal’s blue-line corps healthy again, Streit was back in the middle of the attack, scoring twice to lead the Canadiens to a road victory.
''I played defenseman for about 25 games because we had a couple of injuries,'' said Streit, who scored his first goals in 22 games. ''When the coach put me up front, I didn't maybe shoot as much as I wanted to, but finally tonight I scored twice and it's a great feeling for my confidence.”
|Montreal's Carey Price stopped 29 of 30 shots in the Canadiens' 4-1 win over the Flyers.
Christopher Higgins and Andrei Kostitsyn ( 700K ) also scored, and Tomas Plekanec had two assists for the Canadiens, who snapped a two-game losing streak.
Mike Knuble was the only Flyer to beat Carey Price, who made 29 saves to hand the Flyers their sixth loss in seven home games after they started the season 6-0 at the Wachovia Center.
''It's frustrating,'' Philadelphia captain Jason Smith said. ''As a group we talked about it. We just got to get over the hump. We are just making some mental errors and not competing when we need to in order to put wins together.''
Higgins put the Canadiens ahead at 8:17 of the first period ( 700K ) on a power play, flipping the rebound of Andrei Markov’s shot past Antero Niittymaki.
Montreal broke the game open with three goals in the second period, two of them by Streit ( 700K , 700K ), before Knuble scored at 15:52 ( 700K ) when a pass by Mike Richards — who agreed to a 12-year contract extension earlier in the day — deflected off his skate and into the net.
Montreal coach Guy Carbonneau said the Canadiens played 60 minutes of solid hockey — something they didn't do in a 3-2 shootout loss to Tampa Bay on Tuesday.
''We really skated well,'' Carbonneau said. ''We got out of our zone pretty quickly and we were able to make good plays in the neutral zone to put the puck behind their defensemen and take advantage of our speed.''
Devils 3, Bruins 1 | Video
A snowstorm in Boston kept the crowd at TD Banknorth Garden to preseason-game levels, but the Devils came out with two points that were quite real thanks to a pair of goals by Jamie Langenbrunner.
Only about 1,500 people were able to get to the Garden thanks to a snowstorm that’s expected to drop at least 10 inches on the city. Those who made it saw former Boston College star Brian Gionta open the scoring 10:57 into the second period ( 700K ) when he broke in and snapped a wrist shot between Alex Auld’s pads.
Langenbrunner’s one-timer just inside the left post during a two-man advantage made it 2-0 at 14:34 ( 700K ). Marc Savard’s power-play goal 1:31 into the third period made it 2-1 ( 700K ), but the Bruins were unable to beat Martin Brodeur before Langenbrunner stole a pass in the final minute and hit the empty net ( 700K ).
"Tonight's win was a solid team win," Devils coach Brent Sutter said. "Everybody played well, everybody got back to doing the things we need to do to have success."
The Bruins, who had played nine of their last 10 games on the road and flew in after Wednesday’s 5-3 win at Atlanta, were glad to be back home — even if they didn’t win the opener of a five-game homestand.
“Everybody seems to think that ‘oh, it’s going to be nice for you guys to be off the road and come home and you’ve got an easier schedule,’ and I kind of chuckle because I don’t think there is such a thing as an easy schedule," coach Claude Julien said.
Islanders 3, Coyotes 2 | Video
A rare visit to Long Island by the Coyotes was just what Isles’ captain Bill Guerin needed to snap a scoring slump. Guerin scored twice as the Islanders held off Phoenix, which was making its first visit to the Nassau Coliseum since Oct. 29, 2002.
Guerin opened the scoring midway through the second period ( 700K ), putting the puck past Ilya Bryzgalov after a scramble. He banged in a rebound with 8:20 remaining in regulation to make it 3-1 ( 700K ) — a goal that turned out to be the game-winner when Niko Kapanen scored a power-play goal with 3:55 remaining.
The Islanders captain has three goals in his last three games after going without a goal for 16 games.
"We had a little more determination tonight," Guerin said after the Islanders won for only the second time in their last seven games. "Our puck play all game was a lot better. We weren't just throwing the puck and making ‘hope plays’; we made good cycling plays and good stick-to-stick passes. I thought our line had a good game tonight."
Marc-Andre Bergeron’s power-play goal at 5:50 of the third period made it 2-0 ( 700K ), but the Coyotes refused to fold. Nick Boynton scored a shorthanded goal at 8:04 ( 700K ), and after Kapanen’s goal cut the margin to one again ( 700K ), Phoenix had several chances during a late power play but couldn’t beat Rick DiPietro, who finished with 34 saves to give the Isles their first home win against Phoenix since Dec. 6, 1997.
“It got a little close,” Islanders coach Ted Nolan said. “We may have been a little fatigued after playing last night (in Buffalo) — it might have got us a little in the end, but we still found a way to win.”
Phoenix coach Wayne Gretzky wasn’t unhappy with his team’s effort.
''All in all, we played a pretty good hockey game,'' Gretzky said. ''Probably the difference in the game was the power play. We didn't capitalize when we needed to. We did some good things. It was a pretty intense game out there for a December game."
Avalanche 2, Predators 1 | Video
Peter Budaj missed his first shutout of the season by 21 seconds, but was content to settle for a victory as Colorado won a tight-checking game in Nashville.
''It would have been nice to get a shutout, but the most important thing is that Nashville did not score a second goal,'' Budaj said. ''I think they had a big chance right there at the end.''
Alexander Radulov broke up the shutout by beating Budaj to the stick side from the middle of the slot ( 700K ). The Predators had another close play in the closing seconds as J.P Dumont missed Jason Arnott with a pass as he stood in front of the net.
Ryan Smyth broke a scoreless tie at 4:58 of the third period ( 700K ), firing a slap shot from the top of the left circle that went between the legs of Predators goalie Chris Mason. Ian Laperriere scored from the front of the crease at 16:45 for a 2-0 lead ( 700K ).
''I thought it was a very complete game,'' Colorado coach Joel Quenneville said. ''It was a heck of a battle. ... I know there were a lot of scoring chances, but every time the puck was challenged. Every scrum was intense. The first goal was a big one.''
Neither team scored in the first two periods as the Avalanche outshot the Predators 21-16.
''The puck just isn't bouncing our way right now,'' Nashville forward Vernon Fiddler said. ''We have to keep moving forward and keep doing the things we're doing and the puck will start finding the back of the net.''
Panthers 1, Blues 0 | Video
The uniform is different, but the results were the same for Tomas Vokoun, who stopped all 33 shots he faced to beat St. Louis for the seventh consecutive time.
|Florida's Tomas Vokoun was impenetrable in the Panther's 1-0 victory over the Blues.
''I took some beatings in the past the first couple of years we played them,'' said Vokoun, who is in his first season with Florida after eight years with Nashville, where he won his last six decisions against the Blues. ''You go into every game with the same intention of winning. Whatever happened before doesn't really matter. Every game starts 0-0, no matter if you've won 100 games or lost 100 games before.''
The shutout was Vokoun’s third of the season and 24th of his career.
Stephen Weiss scored the lone goal of the game at 1:10 of the second period ( 700K ), beating Manny Legace after Nathan Horton’s shot hit the skate of Blues defenseman Matt Walker.
''I was just buzzing in their zone and it got to Nathan and he just turned and fired toward the net,'' Weiss said. ''I got a nice rebound with pretty much an empty net. I'll take those.''
Legace stopped 24 shots in his return after missing four games with a knee injury.
''We ran into a hot goaltender,'' Legace said. ''We just couldn't buy one tonight.''
The Blues were 0-for-6 with the man advantage, and coach Andy Murray wasn’t happy with his power-play unit.
''We lost a hockey game 1-0,'' Murray said. ''We're not seeing goals on our power play. We're not seeing the work ethic from our power play that our penalty-killers are giving us. We're also paying some guys some pretty good dollars to make our power play work.''
Stars 4, Kings 1 | Video
Dallas coach Dave Tippett put Mike Ribeiro, Antti Miettinen and Brenden Morrow on a line two games ago, and they’re making him look like a genius. Ribeiro had two goals and two assists, Miettinen added a goal and two assists, and Morrow had a goal and an assist as the Stars continued their dominance of the visiting Kings.
Ribeiro, Miettinen and Morrow have combined for 14 points in the two games they've played as a line.
''It was the offensive spark we needed for sure,'' Tippett said of the change. ''That whole line was really feeding off each other. They were excellent in creating. We wanted someone to come in and take charge so we challenged our veteran leadership. They really took it to heart.''
Ribeiro scored the only goal of the first period ( 700K ), and Dallas broke the game open with three goals in the second. Morrow made it 2-0 at 2:40 ( 700K ), 15 seconds into a power play, notching his 11th on a one-timer from the left circle. Miettinen scored at 7:03 ( 700K ) and Ribeiro got his team-high 15th 10 seconds into another power play at 14:56 ( 700K ).
''We scored two in 25 seconds,'' Morrow said of the power-play goals. ''That gave us a bit of a cushion.''
Dallas has won seven straight at home against Los Angeles to tie the club's longest active home winning streak and outscored the Kings 48-26 while going 11-1-1in their last 13 meetings.
Marty Turco, facing the Kings for the first time since giving up five third-period goals in a 6-5 overtime loss in Los Angeles on Nov. 10, stopped 26 shots for the Stars. He lost his shutout bid when Tom Preissing scored 3:29 into the third period ( 700K ).
''I wasn't thinking about that last game in L.A.,'' Turco said. ''I was focusing on tonight. I felt it was a solid all-around effort.''
The Kings were playing their third game in four nights and were coming off a 6-3 loss in Chicago on Wednesday.
''It's frustrating,'' Kings defenseman Jaroslav Modry said. ''Breakdowns cost us the game. We were solid at the start, but we had a breakdown that cost us and we were behind the rest of the night.''
Sharks 5, Canucks 2 | Video
Here’s some bad news for the rest of the Pacific Division: San Jose has finally figured out how to win at the Shark Tank. San Jose got goals from five players and limited road-weary Vancouver to 17 shots to win consecutive games at home for just the second time this season.
“We came out strong and were able to keep it going,” said captain Patrick Marleau, whose first-period goal made it 2-0 and helped the Sharks even their home record at 6-6-2 — they’re 11-3-2 on the road.
“All in all, our focus is improving at home,” Sharks coach Ron Wilson added.
Vancouver, playing without injured goalie Roberto Luongo and top-six forwards Brendan Morrison and Ryan Kesler, lost for the third time in four nights during its swing through California. Their lone win came Wednesday in Anaheim.
“The schedule is what it is,” Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said. “As players and coaches, we have to deal with it.”
Milan Michalek opened the scoring 11:40 into the game ( 700K ) when he raced past defenseman Willie Mitchell and beat Curtis Sanford for a power-play goal. Marleau used his speed to make it 2-0 at 19:34 ( 700K ), beating Sanford on a breakaway for just his second goal in 10 games.
“That was a huge goal, getting one in the last minute,” Wilson said. “You’ve got to take advantage of a team that played last night. We knew they’d be vulnerable in the last 10 minutes of the period,”
Joe Pavelski beat Sanford from the slot midway through the second period for a 3-0 margin ( 700K ).
Henrik Sedin ended Nabokov's shutout bid with 14:51 to play ( 700K ), tapping home a rebound of Lukas Krajicek's shot, and Trevor Linden got credit for his third goal of the season with 9:54 remaining ( 700K ) when Nabokov kicked the puck into the net after making a save.
But Thornton put the Sharks back in command 41 seconds later ( 700K ) when Devin Setoguchi stole a pass and fed him for a breakaway slap shot past replacement goalie Drew MacIntyre with 9:07 to play. One minute later, Steve Bernier converted a turnover by Krajicek into an insurance goal ( 700K ).
“It’s difficult to come back against a team that’s so solid defensively,” Vigneault said. “We got two goals in the third period, then we made two mistakes and the puck ended up in the back of our net.”
The Canucks were without Morrison, who’s sidelined with a wrist injury that will require surgery, and Kesler, who was ill.
Material from wire services and team online and broadcast media was used in this report.