|Craig Anderson's shutout streak snapped, but not his winning streak|
|Written by Admin|
|Friday, 07 March 2008 02:01|
After turning back 106 consecutive shots, Anderson finally allowed a goal Thursday night - two, in fact - but the Panthers' offense made him a winner again.
Anderson made 25 saves, David Booth had a goal and two assists and Florida beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-2.
``Once they scored, it was actually a big weight off my chest,'' Anderson said. ``There was a little bit of pressure there.''
Third-place Florida needs every point it can get to catch first-place Carolina in the Southeast Division standings. The Panthers are seven points behind the Hurricanes, who beat the Wild 3-2.
After carrying Florida to consecutive 1-0 victories and setting a slew of NHL records in the process, Anderson's bid for a third consecutive shutout ended on the second shot he faced from the Penguins.
But Florida was already up 2-0 then. And all that mattered to the goalie was that the Panthers opened a critical seven-game homestand with a victory.
``You want your best games at the end of the year when you're getting that playoff push,'' Anderson said. ``You want to be playing your best hockey. Look at other teams that were playing good at the start of the year. They're kind of fading off right now, but we want to continue to play strong.''
Florida is only six points behind Philadelphia for the eighth playoff spot in the East, but there are three teams in between the Panthers and Flyers. In the division, only Washington stands between them and the Hurricanes.
In other NHL games it was the Rangers 4, the Islanders 1; Toronto 8, Boston 2; Philadelphia 3, Tampa Bay 2; Colorado 1, Anaheim 0; Montreal 4, Phoenix 2; Vancouver 6, Nashville 2; and Los Angeles 2, Ottawa 0.
Ryan Malone scored his 24th goal and Kristopher Letang got his fifth for Pittsburgh, which had won five straight against Florida. Hart Trophy winner Sidney Crosby, in his second game back since he had a high ankle sprain and missed six weeks of action, had an assist for the Penguins.
``We just didn't come out the right way and we definitely paid for it,'' Crosby said. ``This time of year, you can't afford to do that.''
Anderson stopped 93 shots in his previous two outings at the New York Islanders and Boston Bruins, making Florida the first NHL team to win consecutive 1-0 games on the road.
No other goalie in league history - since such stats began being kept in the 1955-56 season - had ever stopped more than 75 shots in consecutive shutouts. And now Panthers coach Jacques Martin will have a dilemma: Does he stay with Anderson, or put the team's No. 1 goalie, Tomas Vokoun, back in the lineup for Saturday night against Atlanta?
``We'll see,'' Martin said.
Rangers 4, Islanders 1
At Uniondale, N.Y., Scott Gomez deflected a shot past Wade Dubielewicz early in the third period, and the Rangers earned a split of the home-and-home series.
The Rangers came out of the two-game series with three points out of four. Sean Avery scored twice and Brendan Shanahan also scored for the Rangers.
Dubielewicz had 24 saves playing instead of Rick DiPietro, who returned to the team after being away for three days because of the death of his grandmother.
Avalanche 1, Ducks 0
At Denver, Jose Theodore stopped 27 shots for his second shutout of the season and Wojtek Wolski scored to help Colorado win its fifth straight.
Theodore has been in net for all five victories, giving him his longest winning streak since March 2004 when he was with Montreal. It was Theodore's 25th career shutout.
The Ducks have been shut out in back-to-back games.
Maple Leafs 8, Bruins 2
At Boston, Bryan McCabe had a goal and an assist during a four-goal second period to lead resurgent Toronto.
Nik Antropov scored twice for the Maple Leafs. Center Mats Sundin played his 1,300th career game and scored his 553rd career goal.
Peter Schaefer and Phil Kessel scored for Boston.
Flyers 3, Lightning 2
Jeff Carter scored his second goal with 1:54 left in the third period and Philadelphia snapped a five-year home losing streak against the Lightning.
Tampa Bay won eight straight in Philadelphia since the Flyers' last win on Jan. 18, 2003.
Jussi Jokinen and Michel Ouellet scored for Tampa Bay.
Hurricanes 3, Wild 2
At Raleigh, N.C., Matt Cullen had a goal and an assist for Carolina.
Erik Cole scored the go-ahead goal on a deflection midway through the second period, Scott Walker also scored and Joe Corvo had two assists for Southeast Division-leading Carolina.
Pavol Demitra and Mikko Koivu scored for the Wild.
Canadiens 4, Coyotes 2
At Glendale, Ariz., Saku Koivu, Andrei Markov and Sergei Kostitsyn scored third-period goals for Montreal.
Alex Kovalev had three assists for the Canadiens and Carey Price had 37 saves.
Shane Doan and Zbynek Michalek scored for Phoenix.
Canucks 6, Predators 2
At Vancouver, British Columbia, Alexandre Burrows sparked a four-goal first period with a short-handed goal 37 seconds into the game.
Alexander Edler, Matt Pettinger and Kevin Bieksa also scored in the opening period and Vancouver moved into a tie with Nashville for the last playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Vernon Fiddler and Greg de Vries scored for the Predators.
Kings 2, Senators 0
At Los Angeles, Erik Ersberg stopped 40 shots in his first NHL shutout and Alexander Frolov scored on a power play in the second period.
Patrick O'Sullivan scored an empty-net goal with 4.3 seconds remaining.
The Senators, who are two points behind Pittsburgh and Montreal for the Eastern Conference lead, have lost six of seven.