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NHL roundup

Penguins outlast Canadiens

Pittsburgh recovers after blowing leads

Associated Press / February 20, 2009
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Dan Bylsma promised the Pittsburgh Penguins were going to be the Penguins again, with an aggressive style of play, plenty of speed, and an up-and-down game that played to their strengths.

He didn't promise it exactly this way, but a team that badly needs every victory was eager to grab one despite blowing three leads.

Sergei Gonchar, playing only his third game of the season, scored on a slap shot after the Penguins quickly squandered a two-goal lead in the third period but still beat the slumping Montreal Canadiens, 5-4, last night in Pittsburgh for Bylsma's first NHL coaching victory. He replaced coach Michel Therrien, who was fired Sunday night.

"Our guys were energized, focused, and ready to go," Bylsma said. "I think they had a real clear understanding of what was at stake and the way we wanted to play. While it wasn't perfect, I think they sent a message loud and clear."

The Penguins had lost three of four before Ruslan Fedotenko fed Gonchar in the high slot, then went down low to screen goalie Carey Price in front to create the fifth goal in the first 7:18 of the third period. Evgeni Malkin and Max Talbot scored in the period's opening three minutes for Pittsburgh, but Andrei Kostitsyn and Tomas Plekanec scored less than four minutes apart to tie it at 4.

"We were playing aggressive and took advantage of some good chances. It was a pretty high tempo, and that's the way we want to play," said Sidney Crosby, whose quick pass across the slot set up Malkin's 26th goal. "We were reacting out there pretty well, but at the same time we still have a few kinks to work out."

The Canadiens lost their second in two nights and 12th in 15 games.

"We need to start tightening things up, and realize from here on out it's not going to get any easier," said Montreal's Josh Gorges, who broke his stick seconds before Gonchar scored. "We need to stop this from here on out. We've waited too long already."

Devils 3, Lightning 2 - Zach Parise scored the tying goal in regulation and had one of two New Jersey goals in the shootout to help the Devils edge host Tampa Bay.

Patrik Elias had the other Devils goal in the shootout, in which New Jersey outscored the Lightning, 2-1.

Brian Rolston also scored in regulation for the Devils, who have won 14 of 17. Tampa Bay got two first-period goals from Ryan Malone.

Parise tied it at 2 on a rebound goal during a power play at 1:13 of the third. The left wing has 35 goals this season.

Malone put the Lightning ahead, 1-0, when he wrapped a shot from the slot around Devils defenseman Mike Mottau and past goalie Kevin Weekes at 4:33 of the first. He made it 2-0 on a wrist shot from the top of the left circle with 7:05 left in the period.

Flyers 6, Sabres 3 - Mike Richards had two goals and three assists for a career-high five points, and Mike Knuble broke a third-period tie to help host Philadelphia extend its winning streak to three games.

Richards scored his NHL-leading sixth shorthanded goal and second in two games, and added an empty-netter.

Jaroslav Spacek had two goals, and Derek Roy also scored for Buffalo.

Hurricanes 6, Islanders 2 - Eric Staal scored two goals, including one in Carolina's big first period, and the visiting Hurricanes beat New York.

Staal hit the 25-goal mark for the fourth time in his five NHL seasons less than a minute after Matt Cullen snapped a 1-1 tie with 3:45 remaining in the first period. Staal added No. 26 in the second to help Carolina win its fourth straight on the road.

Blackhawks 4, Panthers 0 - Cristobal Huet stopped 31 shots for his third shutout of the season, and Ben Eager scored twice as Chicago shut out host Florida.

Blue Jackets 4, Maple Leafs 3 - Rick Nash capped a big night with the shootout winner to lift visiting Columbus over Toronto, giving Blue Jackets coach Ken Hitchcock his 500th career victory.

Canucks 5, Senators 2 - Henrik Sedin had a goal and three assists, and Alex Burrows added a goal and two assists as Vancouver routed host Ottawa.

Stars 4, Oilers 2 - Raymond Sawada scored his first NHL goal on his 24th birthday, and Fabian Brunnstrom had a goal and an assist to lead host Dallas.

Flames 3, Wild 2 - Adrian Aucoin scored with 1:10 left in overtime to lead visiting Calgary past Minnesota. After ringing a shot off the post earlier in overtime, Aucoin put a wrist shot from the point past goalie Niklas Backstrom.

Blues 2, Predators 1 - Keith Tkachuk scored with 2:08 left in overtime to give St. Louis the win in Nashville.

Coyotes 4, Thrashers 3 - Daniel Carcillo scored in the eighth round of the shootout as Phoenix snapped a six-game home losing streak by beating Atlanta.

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