Wayne Gretzky had a much easier time summing up the resurgent Chicago Blackhawks than devising a plan to stop them.
``They're playing with a great deal of confidence and emotion,'' the Phoenix coach said after Chicago beat the Coyotes 6-1 on Friday night. ``They have much more speed and, obviously, more finesse. Talent goes a long way.''
Dustin Byfuglien led the Blackhawks to their fifth straight home victory, scoring three consecutive goals in the first period for his first multigoal game.
Playing his 47th NHL game, Byfuglien tied the Chicago record for goals in a game by a defenseman set in by Dick Redmond in 1977 and matched by Doug Wilson in 1991. Byfuglien entered the night with three goals and an assist in 12 games this season.
``It was just a good effort all around,'' Byfuglien said. ``Everyone was in good position and moved the puck around. I just got the shots and they all went in. I guess. We've got talented guys to work with. It's great to see us getting on a roll.''
In other NHL games Friday night, it was: New Jersey 4, Montreal 0; Pittsburgh 4, Dallas 1; Edmonton 5, Anaheim 1; San Jose 3, Colorado 2; Minnesota 3, St. Louis 2 in overtime; and Carolina 4, Washington 3.
The Blackhawks, trying to advance to the playoffs for only the second time in 11 years, improved to 14-9-2 and are tied for fourth in the NHL with 30 points. The 6-1 victory followed a 5-1 win over Tampa Bay on Wednesday night.
Tuomo Ruutu added two goals, rookie Jonathan Toews had a goal and two assists, and NHL rookie scoring leader Patrick Kane also had two assists. Nikolai Khabibulin stopped 28 shots, allowing only Peter Mueller's breakaway goal with 7:57 left.
``We have to keep playing the same way, we can't get comfortable,'' Ruutu said. ``This means you work harder, because you don't want to go back to the old days.''
Phoenix goalie Ilya Bryzgalov was pulled at 10:30 of the first period after allowing five goals - capped by Byfuglien's natural hat trick - on seven shots. Mikael Tellqvist replaced him and allowed a goal on 20 shots.
Bryzgalov, claimed off waivers from Anaheim on Nov. 17, made his sixth straight start since joining the Coyotes. In his first five games with Phoenix, he was 4-1-0 with a 1.58 goals-against average, and had allowed eight goals on 137 shots.
``You make your own breaks,'' Gretzky said. ``We didn't answer the bell.''
Devils 4, Canadiens 0
Zach Parise had his first three-goal game, and Martin Brodeur made 27 saves for his 94th shutout to lead host New Jersey to its sixth straight victory.
Parise had a goal in every period and assisted on Brian Gionta's power-play goal in the third to help the Devils beat the Canadiens for the ninth straight time.
Devils ironman Jay Pandolfo missed the game because of a groin injury, ending his streak of consecutive games at 307.
Penguins 4, Stars 1
At Pittsburgh, Sidney Crosby had two goals, and Marc-Andre Fleury made 22 saves in the Penguins' third straight victory.
Tyler Kennedy and Evgeni Malkin added goals for the Penguins. Mike Ribeiro scored for Dallas. The Stars have lost two in row after winning six straight.
Oilers 5, Ducks 1
Shawn Horcoff had a goal and two assists, and Dwayne Roloson made 21 saves to help host Edmonton win for the third time in four games.
Ales Hemsky, Andrew Cogliano, Kyle Brodziak and Steve Staios also scored for the Oilers. Roloson allowed only Ryan Getzlaf's first-period goal.
A night after shutting out Calgary, Ducks goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere was pulled after allowing Cogliano's goal at 1:33 of the third period. Giguere allowed four goals on 23 shots. Anaheim has one win in its last 15 games in Edmonton.
Sharks 3, Avalanche 2
Joe Thornton had two goals and an assist in a dominant two-way performance, and San Jose snapped a three-game winless streak.
Thornton scored two power-play goals in the first 25 minutes and added an assist on Mike Grier's man-advantage score.
Evgeni Nabokov stopped 18 shots in his 25th consecutive start for the Sharks. Milan Hejduk and Andrew Brunette scored for visiting Colorado.
Wild 3, Blues 2, OT
At St. Paul, Minn., Marian Gaborik's wrist shot with 2:39 to play in overtime lifted Minnesota past St. Louis.
Brian Rolston and Brent Burns also scored for Minnesota. The Wild have won three in a row for the first time since starting the season with five straight victories.
Lee Stempniak and Brad Boyes scored for St. Louis.
Hurricanes 4, Capitals 3
Rod Brind'Amour scored twice, Cory Stillman and Matt Cullen added goals, and Cam Ward made 31 saves for host Carolina.
Alexander Ovechkin had two goals and an assist for Washington, and Michael Nylander had a goal and an assist.

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