Brian Gionta, Patrik Elias, and Jamie Langenbrunner scored in the shootout to lead the New Jersey Devils to a 12th straight home victory over the Philadelphia Flyers, 5-4, last night in Newark, N.J.
New Jersey snapped a season-high, five-game losing streak (0-4-1) and ended Philadelphia's four-game winning run. Every Devils shooter beat goalie Martin Biron in the tiebreaker.
"You have to look at the real positives here," Devils coach Brent Sutter said. "There were a lot of them. We went into a shootout and were able to score on all three of them. That doesn't happen very often."
Mike Richards, the first Flyers shooter, was stopped by Martin Brodeur and that proved decisive. Jeff Carter and Danny Briere followed with goals, but it wasn't enough to extend Philadelphia's winning streak.
Johnny Oduya had his first two-goal game for the Devils and Jamie Langenbrunner also scored in regulation.
Mike Knuble sent the game into overtime, scoring the equalizer for Philadelphia with 55.2 seconds remaining and Biron on the bench for an extra attacker. The Flyers relentlessly pounded the Devils defense and the pressure paid off.
"That definitely hurt," Langenbrunner said. "There was a lot disappointment on the bench. You could see we were a little deflated. For us to come back was huge. We couldn't afford to drop another one."
The Devils jumped over Ottawa into fourth place in the Eastern Conference playoff race. Philadelphia is in seventh, two points behind the New York Rangers and one ahead of Boston.
Canadiens 4, Sabres 3 - Christopher Higgins scored 3:38 into overtime, capping Montreal's rally from a two-goal deficit as the visiting Canadiens regained the top spot in the Eastern Conference by one point over Pittsburgh.
The Sabres squandered a 3-1 third-period lead for the second straight home game, and had their playoff hopes take another hit entering the final week of the season. Stuck in 10th place, Buffalo is 4 points back of eighth-place Boston in the East.
Hurricanes 7, Thrashers 1 - Tuomo Ruutu and Jeff Hamilton each scored two of Carolina's five power-play goals as the host Hurricanes moved closer to clinching the Southeast Division title.
Sharks 3, Ducks 1 - Brian Boucher made 23 saves, and visiting San Jose wrapped up the Pacific Division title with a win over defending Stanley Cup champion Anaheim.
Blues 4, Red Wings 3 - Brad Boyes's second goal of the game and 40th of the season gave visiting St. Louis an overtime win over NHL-leading Detroit.
Avalanche 5, Oilers 4 - Joe Sakic forced overtime by scoring with 5.9 seconds left in regulation, then added the decisive tally in a shootout as host Colorado strengthened its playoff position. Wojtek Wolski and Milan Hejduk also scored in the shootout for Colorado, which pulled even with Calgary for sixth in the Western Conference playoff race with 90 points.
Wild 4, Canucks 0 - Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Brent Burns scored with the man advantage for Minnesota, sending visiting Vancouver to its fourth straight loss and a tie for eighth place in the Western Conference with Nashville.
Predators 4, Blue Jackets 0 - Dan Ellis shut out Columbus for the second time in four days as visiting Nashville mastered the Blue Jackets again. Nashville is 15-0-1 in its past 16 meetings with Columbus, matching the longest current points streak for one team against another. That's 31 of a possible 32 points head-to-head the past two seasons.