The Pittsburgh Penguins have been simply unbeatable. More so, in fact, than they have been in nearly a decade.
Ty Conklin made 35 saves, Jordan Staal had two goals and an assist, and the Penguins beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-1 Thursday night for their eighth straight victory. It's the Penguins' longest win streak since a 10-game stretch in January and February 1999.
``I think everybody's confident,'' Conklin said. ``It's not one or two guys, it's a team.''
Pittsburgh also stopped a 12-game losing skid against Tampa Bay. beating the Lightning for the first time since Jan. 17, 2003.
``I think all teams have pride, and whether it was guys who were here for it or weren't here for it, you don't want to have to talk about it every time either,'' Pittsburgh All-Star Sidney Crosby said. ``For us, we want to be considered a good team at home and on the road. We don't want to be known for having bad games.''
The Buffalo Sabres and New York Rangers are having a lot of bad games lately.
Dean McAmmond scored on Ottawa's sixth attempt in the shootout and the Senators handed visiting Buffalo its eighth straight loss, 3-2. At New York, Scott Hartnell scored three consecutive goals, Antero Niittymaki won his fourth straight start, and the Philadelphia Flyers rallied for a 6-2 victory to drop the Rangers to 0-4-1 in their last five games.
In other games Thursday night, it was: New Jersey 4, Carolina 1; Florida 3, Atlanta 2 in a shootout; Montreal 5, Boston 2; Minnesota 6, Detroit 5 in a shootout; St. Louis 4, Dallas 2; Edmonton 5, Phoenix 2; San Jose 3, Vancouver 1; Los Angeles 5, Toronto 2.
At Tampa, Fla., Conklin won his ninth straight start while Staal snapped a seven-game goal-scoring drought. Ryan Malone and Evgeni Malkin had third-period goals for Pittsburgh.
Crosby had his nine-game point streak end. He had 13 assists and 16 points over the stretch. Tampa Bay's Vincent Lecavalier, who will also be an All-Star starter, was held without a point.
Conklin stopped 13 shots in the first, including a diving save on Lecavalier's shot from the low right circle. When Tampa Bay had six shots during a 4-minute power play early in the third, Conklin stopped Martin St. Louis' backhander, and got a break when Filip Kuba's shot from the left circle hit the post.
``He's playing outstanding for us,'' Pittsburgh coach Michel Therrien said.
The Sabres, who hadn't lost eight in a row since Jan. 25-Feb. 13, 2003, began their 0-4-4 slide with a 5-3 loss to Ottawa on Dec. 26.
Shean Donovan scored 24 seconds into the second and Daniel Alfredsson scored Ottawa's 10th short-handed goal of the season at 17:08. Clarke MacArthur scored early in the third for Buffalo, and Daniel Paille tied it with 7:08 left.
Martin Gerber, who stopped 22 shots during the game, denied Jochen Hecht on Buffalo's sixth attempt to give Ottawa its third straight win.
With Maxim Afinogenov and Derek Roy already sidelined, Buffalo had to do without center Tim Connolly, who is hampered by a groin injury.
``I mean, that's a pretty good line right there,'' MacArthur said. ``That's a lot of depth we're losing.''
The Rangers, outscored 20-10 during their skid, have dropped into a last-place tie in the Atlantic Division with the New York Islanders, who have played two fewer games.
The Rangers grabbed a 2-0 lead in the first period on a rare pair of goals from hard-hitting forward Ryan Hollweg but that was gone midway through the second.
Mike Knuble got the Flyers on the board 40 seconds into the middle period. Stefan Ruzicka tied it at 8:45, and Hartnell's first goal gave the Flyers the lead for good at 10:42.
``We handed this game over,'' Rangers coach Tom Renney said. ``Tonight we had no chance. ... We allowed them to take over the game.''
Simon Gagne closed the scoring with a power-play goal with 5 minutes left in his first game after missing 30 due to post-concussion symptoms.
Devils 4, Hurricanes 1
Patrik Elias scored the go-ahead goal in the second period, and Martin Brodeur made 20 saves in visiting New Jersey's seventh win in nine games.
Travis Zajac, Brian Gionta and Sergei Brylin also scored for New Jersey. Keith Aucoin scored his first NHL goal for the Hurricanes.
Panthers 3, Thrashers 2, SO
After Ilya Kovalchuk fired wide of the net on the final round of the shootout, Olli Jokinen beat goalie Kari Lehtonen on the stick side to seal the win for visiting Florida.
Kovalchuk scored his NHL-leading 36th goal in regulation. Bobby Holik opened the scoring for Atlanta.
Rotislav Olesz tied the score at 1 early in the third period for the Panthers, and Kamil Kreps tied it at 2 with 7:06 left.
Canadiens 5, Bruins 2
Mathieu Dandenault scored twice, and Alex Kovalev and Tomas Plekanec each had a goal and an assist to help Montreal improve to 5-0-2 over its last seven. The Canadiens beat host Boston for the eighth straight time, and 15th of 18.
Cristobal Huet made 23 saves, and Maxim Lapierre also scored for the Canadiens. Aaron Ward and Milan Lucic scored for the Bruins.
Wild 6, Red Wings 5, SO
Marian Gaborik scored on the final attempt in a shootout for visiting Minnesota.
Dan Cleary gave NHL-leading Detroit its first lead with 1:08 left in regulation, but Eric Belanger tied it for the Wild less than 20 seconds later to force overtime.
In the shootout, Brian Rolston and Gaborik scored while Jiri Hudler was the only Red Wing to get a shot past Josh Harding.
Blues 4, Stars 2
Brad Boyes scored twice, Paul Kariya had a goal and two assists, and host St. Louis won its third straight. Manny Legace stopped 24 shots and Keith Tkachuk had the Blues' other goal.
Mike Ribeiro and Antti Miettinen scored for Dallas.
Oilers 5, Coyotes 2
Robert Nilsson and Kyle Brodziak each had a goal and an assist to help Edmonton improve to 3-0 on its crucial five-game homestand.
Ethan Moreau, Sheldon Souray, and Denis Grebeshkov also scored for the Oilers, winners of four of their last five overall.
Keith Ballard and Nick Boynton scored for Phoenix.
Sharks 3, Canucks 1
Jeremy Roenick and Milan Michalek scored power-play goals, and San Jose won for the sixth time in seven games.
Craig Rivet had a goal and an assist, and Evgeni Nabokov stopped 20 shots as the Sharks got their eighth home win of the season.
Roberto Luongo stopped 28 shots for Vancouver, and Ryan Kesler ended Nabokov's shutout bid with 7:35 to play.
Kings 5, Maple Leafs 2
Dustin Brown scored twice on power plays, Alexander Frolov and Rob Blake each had a goal and an assist for host Los Angeles.
Jason LaBarbera made 24 of his career-high 48 saves in the third period, and Kyle Calder also scored for the Kings.
Nik Antropov and Darcy Tucker scored for the Maple Leafs.

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