|Brent Sutter wins; Daniel Briere, Martin Biron fall in homecoming games|
|Written by Admin|
|Saturday, 22 December 2007 01:08|
Sutter won his first game in his home province as an NHL coach, directing New Jersey to a 3-1 victory over Edmonton on Friday night.
The Devils rebounded after a 5-0 loss in Vancouver on Tuesday night.
``We went five periods without scoring a goal and then things happened pretty quickly there,'' said Sutter, a native of nearby Viking who left the Red Deer Rebels - the Western Hockey League team he owns - to take over the Devils in July.
Briere and Biron lost their first game in Buffalo since leaving the Sabres, with Philadelphia falling 3-2 on Jochen Hecht's late goal.
In other NHL games Friday night, Colorado beat the New York Rangers 4-3 in overtime, Dallas edged Calgary 3-2 in another overtime game, the New York Islanders beat Pittsburgh 4-2, and Columbus held off Los Angeles 2-1.
New Jersey's Patrik Elias and Brian Gionta scored in a 35-second span in the third period, and John Madden added an empty-net goal in the Devils' first game in Edmonton since Dec. 30, 2001. New Jersey hasn't lost in Edmonton since Oct. 31, 1995.
Martin Brodeur made 20 saves, allowing only Joni Pitkanen's first-period goal.
``There is a real fine line between winning and losing,'' Madden said. ``We had some good chances in Vancouver and didn't get any breaks.''
It was the first time in six games that the Oilers failed to earn at least a point. They set an NHL record by going to shootouts in their previous four games.
``We just gave that game away. We literally gave it away,'' Oilers coach Craig MacTavish said. ``It was Christmastime and we wrapped it up and gave it to them.''
In Buffalo, Hecht broke a tie with 2:51 left, and Ryan Miller made 20 saves in his seventh consecutive start for the Sabres.
Briere failed to pick up a point and had a minus-2 rating in the first game of the home-and-home series. He left the Sabres during the offseason to sign an eight-year, $52 million contract with the Flyers.
``We didn't focus on those two players, we focused on the team,'' Hecht said.
Hecht beat Biron, traded to Philadelphia in March, with a backhander off a rebound.
``It was a deflection that went off my shoulder,'' Biron said.
Drew Stafford and Ales Kotalik also scored for the Sabres. Buffalo matched a season high with its fifth straight victory and has won 12 of its last 16.
Jeff Carter and Joffrey Lupul scored for the Flyers. Philadelphia has lost five straight, its longest losing streak of the season.
``We're a young team,'' Briere said. ``We're still in the stages of trying to learn how to stay patient and find ways to win.''
There were plenty of ``Welcome Back Danny'' signs, and three young girls held one up that said, ``All I want for Christmas is Briere in a Sabres jersey.'' The good feelings ended when the game began, with the crowd booing Briere every time he touched the puck.
``It was what I expected,'' Briere said.
Avalanche 4, Rangers 3, OT
At Denver, Wojtek Wolski tapped in the winning shot 1:16 into overtime, and Milan Hejduk scored twice in Colorado's seventh straight victory over New York.
Marek Svatos tied it for Colorado midway through the third period. Brendan Shanahan, Michal Rozsival and Marc Staal scored for the Rangers, coming off a 6-3 loss in Minnesota the night before in which Marian Gaborik scored five goals.
Stars 3, Flames 2, OT
At Calgary, Alberta, Mike Ribeiro scored his second goal of the game 57 seconds into overtime for Dallas.
After winning a faceoff, Ribeiro redirected defenseman Sergei Zubov's shot past Miikka Kiprusoff for his 18th goal of the season. Ribeiro has six goals in the past six games and is just two shy of his career high set with Montreal in 2003-04.
After Matthew Lombardi and Alex Tanguay gave the Flames a 2-1 lead in the second period, Dallas' Niklas Hagman tied it early in the third.
Islanders 4, Penguins 2
At Pittsburgh, Blake Comeau scored his first career goal to give New York the lead midway through the third period, and Trent Hunter added a goal 37 seconds later.
Comeau, a rookie playing only his second game this season and the fifth of his career, took former Penguins center Andy Hilbert's pass in the left circle and beat Dany Sabourin to make it 3-2.
Comeau also had his first two-point game, assisting on Hilbert's goal. Miroslav Satan added a goal for New York.
Jordan Staal and Erik Christensen scored for Pittsburgh.
Blue Jackets 2, Kings 1
At Columbus, Ohio, Nikolai Zherdev had a goal and an assist, and Fredrik Norrena made 33 saves to help Columbus hand Los Angeles its their sixth straight loss.
Jiri Novotny also scored for Columbus, coming off consecutive losses.
Norrena allowed only Michael Cammalleri's first-period, power-play goal.