|Stars, Sharks and Ducks - oh my! - make for tight Pacific Division race|
|Written by Admin|
|Monday, 10 March 2008 00:18|
A few hours after they were leapfrogged by San Jose, the Stars ended a three-game losing streak with a 3-0 victory over the Colorado Avalanche on Sunday night. The Stars have 89 points, one more than the Sharks.
``Obviously, the standings are tight,'' Dallas' Stephane Robidas said. ``We're trying not to look at them and focus on ourselves. But the last three games, we haven't played the kind of hockey we're used to, so tonight was important.''
Marty Turco made 19 saves for his 33rd career shutout and Brad Richards scored his first goal in a Dallas uniform as the Stars halted the Avalanche's season-best six-game winning streak. Robidas and Stu Barnes also scored for Dallas, and Mike Modano added two assists.
``The way we played was relentless,'' Turco said. ``We're going to need more of the same.''
That's for sure, especially with San Jose on a franchise-record nine-game winning streak after edging Minnesota 3-2 in a shootout and briefly assuming first place in the division. Anaheim is also only four points behind Dallas after a 3-1 victory over Montreal.
``There's 12 games left, and they're all important,'' San Jose's Pierre-Marc Bouchard said.
In other NHL games, it was: the New York Rangers 1, Boston 0 in a shootout; Edmonton 6, Chicago 5 in overtime; Pittsburgh 4, Washington 2; Detroit 4, Nashville 3; and Columbus 5, Tampa Bay 3.
At Dallas, Turco improved to 30-16-4 this season, giving him five straight seasons of 30 or more victories.
Richards had five assists in his first game with the Stars after being acquired from Tampa Bay in a five-player trade Feb. 26. But Richards had been without a point in his next two games until a goal and an assist Sunday after coach Dave Tippett moved him from center to right wing on a line centered by Modano.
``It's an adjustment, but it's easier playing with a guy who thinks the game like (Modano),'' Richards said.
Peter Forsberg was out for the Avs with a groin injury sustained in Saturday's 3-1 win over Dallas.
Sharks 3, Wild 2, SO
At St. Paul, Minn., Patrick Marleau saved the game in overtime and scored the winner in the shootout for San Jose.
Marleau knocked Marian Gaborik's last-minute shot out of the air and out of danger to preserve the tie and set up the shootout. Joe Pavelski scored first for the Sharks and Marleau wrapped it up for San Jose after a nifty 360-degree spin move by Pierre-Marc Bouchard gave the Wild a chance.
``Obviously, we're playing well, but it's such a competitive league that you can't get too comfortable,'' Sharks goalie Evgeni Nabokov said. ``If you're going to take time off, you're going to find yourself losing two in a row and fighting for that eighth playoff spot.''
The Sharks were behind all afternoon until Brian Rolston's 26th goal in the final minute of regulation tied it at 2.
``A little bit of confidence, it goes a long way,'' San Jose coach Ron Wilson said. ``We're at a point right now where a little bump isn't going to hurt us.''
Nabokov played in his league-leading 66th game and made 21 saves.
Ducks 3, Canadiens 1
Chris Kunitz scored the go-ahead goal with 7:24 remaining and the Anaheim Ducks tied a franchise record by extending their home winning streak to seven games.
Samuel Pahlsson added a short-handed goal 33 seconds after Kunitz's goal for the Ducks, who were coming off consecutive shutout losses. Todd Marchant also scored and Jean-Sebastien Giguere made 20 saves.
Alex Kovalev scored his 30th goal for the Canadiens.
Rangers 1, Bruins 0, SO
At New York, Nigel Dawes' shootout goal settled a brilliant goaltending duel between Henrik Lundqvist and Boston's Alex Auld.
Dawes scored in the shootout for the third time in four games and pushed the Rangers ahead of Boston by one point for sixth place in the Eastern Conference. Both teams have 13 games remaining.
Through regulation, Auld made 34 saves, while Lundqvist stopped 27 shots.
Oilers 6, Blackhawks 5, OT
At Chicago, rookie Andrew Cogliano redirected Robert Nilsson's cross-ice feed past Patrick Lalime at 3:01 of overtime for his second goal of the game to lift Edmonton.
Chicago's Dustin Byfuglien scored during a goalmouth scramble with 4:35 left in the third period to tie it and set up overtime.
Dustin Penner, Curtis Glencross, Nilsson and Marty Reasoner also scored in regulation for Edmonton, 6-1-0 in its last seven.
Penguins 4, Capitals 2
At Washington, Sidney Crosby scored two goals - one a fluke goal with 28 seconds to play - and Pittsburgh tallied twice in the final 30 seconds to move within one point of first-place New Jersey in the Atlantic Division.
In a crowd in front of the crease and the score tied at 2, Washington's Nicklas Backstrom backhanded a loose puck into his own net. The puck appeared to hit Crosby's skate along the way, giving the reigning league MVP his second goal of the game and 22nd of the season.
Red Wings 4, Predators 3
At Detroit, Johan Franzen scored two power-play goals for the NHL-leading Red Wings.
The Red Wings welcomed back captain Nicklas Lidstrom, who missed six games because of a knee injury. The star defenseman had two assists.
Blue Jackets 5, Tampa Bay 3
Jason Chimera scored a power-play goal with 3:44 remaining, and the Blue Jackets ended a seven-game home winless streak.
Jeff Halpern had a goal and assist for Tampa Bay, losers of five in a row and 10 of 11.